About the Conference


The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (CCAD) was developed in 2012 by a conference of researchers and philanthropists in response to the growing public health problem of understanding and treating Alzheimer's disease.

The three goals of the conference – to support early career investigators, foster cross-field collaboration, and create a forum for constructive criticism – established a new approach to research in Alzheimer's disease. The first conference took place in March, 2013. Established scientists joined early career investigators who proposed novel research ideas. A select few early career investigators were awarded financial support for their proposals through the New Vision Awards. The New Vision Awards demonstrate CCAD's continued encouragement for young investigators, appreciation for innovative and collaborative approaches to research, and hope to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease research.

In addition to financially supporting early career investigators through the New Vision Awards, CCAD also offered a unique opportunity for investigators of different career levels and fields (genetics, neuroimaging, cell biology, etc.) to network and collaborate.

The first CCAD was a hit! The research proposals awarded financial support contributed to a better understanding of Alzheimer's disease, and collaboration between investigators that began at the conference continues today.

"What a wonderful experience! I really enjoyed and benefited from the other participants – I learned more at this conference than I have at any other conference. The small group and diverse topics were great and will help me be more creative and innovative in the future."

Our Board

Karen Duff, Ph.D., President & Co-Founder

Columbia University Medical Center

Professor, Departments of Pathology and Cell Biology, Taub Institute for Alzheimer's

Dr. Duff is a Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University and is known for her research on Alzheimer’s disease using innovative methods in developing transgenic mouse models for age-related disorders. These models have facilitated pathogenesis studies of how AD propagates through the brain, imaging studies to examine structural and functional changes in the brain in living animals and the identification of druggable pathways and testing of drugs. Currently, Dr. Duff’s research focuses on the propagation of AD through the brain, the impact of ApoE4 on disease risk, the impact and restoration of functional clearance mechanisms and the basis and manipulation of memory deficits using optogenetic and brain stimulation techniques.

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Alison Goate, D.Phil.

Washington University School of Medicine

Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, Genetics and Neurology
Director, Hope Center for Neurological Disorders

Dr. Goate’s research focuses on the molecular genetics of Alzheimer’s disease and substance dependence using gene sequence strategies. Over the course of her career, Dr. Goate and her colleagues have identified mutations for the amyloid precursor protein along with four other gene mutations involved in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Currently, her research focuses on understanding the molecular genetics of neuropsychiatric diseases using genetic and genomic strategies to identify rare and common alleles that predispose these disorders.

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Joseph A. Helpern, Ph.D.

Medical University of South Carolina

Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience
Director of Center for Biomedical Imaging

Dr. Helpern is a Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Helpern has made numerous, significant contributions to the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His current research interests focus on using diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI), a refinement of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) developed by him and long-time colleague Jen Jensen, Ph.D., to identify changes in the brain microarchitecture that could be predictive of the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Additional areas of involvement include stroke and brain tissue patterns in children with ADHD. Dr. Helpern is the CCAD chair.

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Ralph A. Nixon, Ph.D., M.D.

NYU Langone Medical Center

Director of Research and The Center for Dementia Research, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
Director of Silberstein Institute and Center for Excellence on Brain Aging, NYU Langone Medical Center
Professor of Psychiatry and Cell Biology, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Nixon’s research centers on understanding the neurobiology that determines the fate of normal and pathogenic proteins and has identified dysfunction of the endosomal-lysosomal system as the earliest known pathological response of neurons in AD. Additionally, Dr. Nixon’s work focuses on uncovering the molecular determinants of cytoskeletal protein transport and assembly in neurons.

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Past Board

George Bartzokis, M.D.

University of California, Los Angeles

Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Semel Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Bartzokis is a Professor of Neurology at the UCLA School of Medicine and is the director of the UCLA Memory Disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease Clinic and the Clinical Core Director at the Alzheimer Disease Research Center. After earning his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Bartzokis completed a Schizophrenia Research Fellowship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital. Clinically, Dr. Bartzokis’s medical interests focus on Alzheimer’s Disease and memory disorders.

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Peter Davies, Ph.D.

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Scientific Director, Litwin-Zucker Center for the Study of Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders

Dr. Davies’s research focuses on the biochemical mechanisms important for the development of Alzheimer’s disease using primarily human brain tissues. Since 2005, Dr. Davies has been the Head and Director of the Litwin-Zucker Research Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders, associated with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Dr. Davies served on the CCAD Scientific Board in 2013.

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Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D.

Boston University School of Medicine

Professor, Departments of Pharmacology and Neurology

Dr. Wolozin is a Professor at Boston University School of Medicine Alzheimer’s Diseae Center. Dr. Wolozin’s research focuses on the role of cholesterol in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, stemming from his discovery in 2000 that subjects taking statins have a lower incidence of AD. Dr. Wolozin’s current work uses a wide range of molecular, cellular and epidemiological techniques to study neurodegenerative diseases.

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