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Our workshop preparations continue as planned. It will take place September 14-15, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the workshop will be hosted online. Additional details will be provided soon.

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.


  1. 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.
  2. CREATE FOCUSED WORKGROUPS – Establishing workgroups that will develop strategies to address specific plan across scientific disciplines.
  3. IDENTIFY AND FUND PILOT GRANTS – Committees to identify promising research themes and fund pilot studies.
  4. 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

Institute for the Aging Brain and the Center for Memory Health at Hebrew Senior Life


Peter Rapp, PhD

National Institute on Aging



September 9 – 10, 2019  –  Bethesda, MD, USA

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The 1st workshop had a unique format where researchers from across the field of age-related cognitive studies had the opportunity to contribute to the formation of operational definitions and framework for future research.  The workshop counted an audience of 285 researchers from across the globe.

1st Workshop Deliverables:

  • Consensus driven operational definitions and framework for the concepts.
  • Formation of workgroups that will address key programmatic issues for the research on the lines of the defined concepts.

Day I

Opening remarks (Executive committee) and Panel Discussions on the present heterogeneous definitions followed by peer-supported discussions with the audience.

Breakout groups

Day 2

  • Readouts 
  • Planning for next year


Review introduction, sessions, readouts and conclusion recordings here.


Review slide presentations here.









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