BrightFocus Alzheimer's Fast Track 2019

Group photo of the Alzheimer's Fast Track participants holding up a thank you sign

Alzheimer's Fast Track® 2019 was a workshop for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or other early-career scientists focused on Alzheimer’s disease research to take advantage of a unique opportunity to accelerate their knowledge immersion towards becoming an expert in this exciting field.


  • Diane Bovenkamp, PhD

  • Frank LaFerla, PhD

  • Cynthia Lemere, PhD

  • Harry Steinbusch, PhD

October 16-18, 2019 
Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center
3500 Midwest Road
Oak Brook, IL 60532

Alzheimer's Fast Track Co-chairs (left to right) - Harry Steinbusch, PhD, Cynthia Lemere, PhD, Diane Bovenkamp, PhD, and Frank LaFerla, PhD
Alzheimer's Fast Track Co-chairs (left to right) - Harry Steinbusch, PhD, Cynthia Lemere, PhD, Diane Bovenkamp, PhD, and Frank LaFerla, PhD

View a Video of  the Co-chair Roundtable Discussion

View the video transcript.

Co-chairs of the Alzheimer's Fast Track program discuss big challenges that need to be tackled worldwide: Remaining steadfastly committed to funding Alzheimer's disease and related dementias research; Supporting innovative, early-career investigators; Encouraging researchers from under-represented groups who are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s to lead independent research labs; and the future of clinical trials, treatments and finding a cure.

Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or other early-career scientists focusing on Alzheimer’s disease research, took advantage of this unique opportunity to accelerate their knowledge immersion towards becoming an expert in this exciting field by:

  • Connecting with preeminent Alzheimer’s disease experts and fellow early-stage researchers based in the U.S. and around the world
  • Participating in interactive workgroups and breakout sessions
  • Engaging in scientific debates

Organized by BrightFocus Foundation, Alzheimer’s Fast Track® is a satellite event of the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, in Chicago, IL


We  gathered world-renowned experts who discussed the latest trends in Alzheimer's disease research. The following represents a list of speakers and topics:

  • Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, The Gladstone Institute/University of California, San Francisco, USA
    Fibrinogen-induced microglia-mediated spine loss and cognitive decline in Alzheimer's Disease

  • Diane Bovenkamp, PhD, BrightFocus, Clarksburg, MD, USA
    Exploring Work-Life Balance Challenges

  • Elizabeth M. Bradshaw, PhD, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
    From GWAS to Therapeutic Targets in Alzheimer's Disease

  • Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, The University of Arizona Health Sciences, AZ, USA
    Sex Differences in Onset of Prodromal Phase of Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Luc Buée, PhD,  Université de Lille, Lille, France
    Tau protein and Tauopathies: Which Therapeutic Strategy?

  • A Claudio Cuello, OC, MD, DSc, FRSC, FMedSci, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
    Alzheimer’s Research with Human Samples and Experimental Models, the Challenges Ahead

  • William Eimer, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    The Antimicrobial Protection Hypothesis of Alzheimer's Disease

  • Joshua D. Grill, PhD, University of California, Irvine, USA
    Challenges in Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Trial Recruitment

  • Elizabeth Head, PhD, University of California, Irvine, USA
    Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome

  • Frank LaFerla, PhD, University of California, Irvine, USA
    Navigating Around Potential Pitfalls For Early-Career Investigators

  • Bruce T. Lamb, PhD, Indiana University, IN, USA
    Update on MODEL-AD

  • Cynthia A. Lemere, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, USA
    How to Craft a Successful Government/NIH/NASA Grant Application

  • Francesca Mangialasche, MD, PhD, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden
    Multimodal Preventive Trials for Alzheimer's Disease: What Can We Learn from the Finger Study?
  • Bri McWorter, Activate to Captivate, Mission Viejo, CA, USA
    How Make An Impact With Your Speech And Style

  • Cheil Moon, PhD,  Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Daegu, South Korea
    Sensory Systems and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • John C. Morris, MD, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA
    The Need For More Diversity in Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Studies

  • Subhojit Roy, MD, PhD, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
    Neuronal Trafficking Pathways Inform Therapeutic Strategies

  • Julie Schneider, MD, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA
    Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: Clinical Perspectives and Co-Morbidities

  • Craig E. L. Stark, PhD, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
    Neuroimaging in Aging and Alzheimer's Disease

  • Harry W. M. Steinbusch, PhD, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    The Role of Epigenetics in the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease

  • Donna Wilcock, PhD, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
    Vascular Contributions to Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia

  • Robert J. Vassar, PhD, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA
    Beta-secretase (BACE1) in Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Li-Huei Tsai, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
    Using Non-Invasive Sensory Stimulation to Ameliorate Pathology and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Workshop Goals

The Alzheimer’s disease research field continues to grow in size and scope. For people entering such a prolific environment, acquiring an initial understanding of the disease becomes more difficult each year. The goal of this workshop was to offer graduate students and postdocs an immersive opportunity to learn and discuss some of the latest trends in Alzheimer’s disease research through close interaction with established leaders in the field.

Workshop sessions emphasized open discussion between students and lecturers, and immediate application of new knowledge. Students participated in faculty-led exercises such as debate and mock grant proposals.

This was an important and cost-effective opportunity to build knowledge and professional contacts in the Alzheimer’s disease field.

Coordinating Office:

BrightFocus Foundation

  • Stacy Haller, President and CEO
  • Diane Bovenkamp, PhD, Vice President for Scientific Affairs
  • Keith Whitaker, PhD, Director of Scientific Programs, Neuroscience
  • Kara Summers, Scientific Program Grants Manager

Watch this video from BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Fast Track® 2016

View a transcript of the video.

BrightFocus Alzheimer's Disease Fast Track®: San Diego, California (November 2016)

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