The 2nd workshop on Research Definitions for Reserve and Resilience was presented in a virtual format. Each session consisted of live presentations from three awardees, followed by panel discussion and then a discussion including all attendees. The intention was to try to come to consensus on operational definitions for the reserve/resilience concepts.

2nd Workshop registrants have access to the project proposal presentations and analytical plans, as well as the recordings of the four sessions accessible from below or the above menu.

Research indicates that specific life exposures and genetic factors contribute to some people being more resilient than others, with lower rates of cognitive decline with aging and reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). The factors associated with resilience have an important role in the development of interventions and health policies. There are likely several complex and highly interactive mechanisms that lead to these individual differences in vulnerability to decline, probably reliant on both structural and functional brain mechanisms. Investigators in this area have employed many terms encapsulating individual differences including resilience, cognitive reserve, brain reserve, brain maintenance, and compensation. In addition, there are terms commonly used in cognitive neuroscience studies of aging, such as efficiency, capacity, and compensation. However, the definitions of these concepts differ across researchers, and the translation from human to animal research is not well developed. It is important to bring together researchers from basic neuroscience to human studies to develop operational definitions for these concepts.

Along with these definitions, there is a need for translating these concepts so that they can guide research on all levels of epidemiologic, clinical, intervention, imaging and basic animal research. A particular challenge will be to identify corresponding concepts in neurobiology, animal models and models at the level of cells and molecules and approaches bridging those levels of analysis.

The three year, NIA-supported Collaboratory on Research Definitions will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas. The goal of the Collaboratory is to develop operational definitions, research guidelines, and data sharing platforms with consensus and assistance from the research community. To reach its goal the Collaboratory will hold three cross-discipline workshops that bring together investigators to discuss and come to consensus on these concepts, create focused work groups that will examine each of these issues, fund pilot grants designed to further the understanding and research applicability of these concepts, and to develop data sharing and information exchange platforms to help guide research in this area.


The three year, NIA supported Collaboratory on Research Definitions will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas on definitions for the concepts of Reserve and Resilience and related concepts.

The goal of the Collaboratory is to come to a consensus across the research community on operational definitions to further a cohesive research goal encompassing age-related and disease related cognitive decline.


ANNUAL WORKSHOP – A novel approach to workshop where researchers from diverse background will have the opportunity to brainstorm the concept of reserve and resilience with each other and bring about consensus driven operational definitions.

CREATE FOCUSED WORKGROUPS – Establishing workgroups that will develop strategies to address specific plan across scientific disciplines.

IDENTIFY AND FUND PILOT GRANTS – Committees to identify promising research themes and fund pilot studies.

DEVELOP DATA AND INFORMATION SHARING PLATFORMS – Creating database of datasets relevant to the definitions for collaborative analytical research.


Yaakov Stern, PhD, Chair
Columbia University


Marilyn Albert, PhD
Johns Hopkins University


Carol Barnes, PhD
University of Arizona


Roberto Cabeza, PhD
Duke University


Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD
Hebrew Senior Life


Peter Rapp, PhD
National Institute on Aging

COUNTDOWN TO THE 3rd WORKSHOP to be held Oct 31-Nov 1, 2021








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