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Today, I'm privileged to participate in the NIH Alzheimer's disease and Related Dementias Summit. The opportunity to share scientific goals with the public is a critical component of scientific communication and it was very insightful to hear from the public and advocacy groups on how we might shift our scientific priorities to meet the patients and public where they are in dealing with disease. For VCID, the priorities are clear and fit extremely well with the ongoing work in the lab. Specifically, experimental models of VCID including lacunar stroke, co-morbid dietary interventions, and co-morbid neurodegenerative features. So exciting to see that our research programs align well with the field. Most interesting was the highlight of a priority focused on understanding the impact of cerebrovascular disease on myelination. This aligns very well with Dr. Fon't work in the lab looking at vascular signals that regulate post-stroke myelination. Also related is Veronica Lubera's work as an undergraduate on coaxing axon-oligodendrocyte interactions after white matter stroke. After Eric Hayden's prior work on modeling lacunar stroke in 5XFAD-ApoE mice, we moved on to modeling white matter stroke in tau-overexpressing mice. Abhinav Vempati's undergraduate work on this topic will be groundbreaking while Manu Vohra is working on Mark4 inhibitors that is a tractable therapeutic target for VCID.

On the clinical side, there is a critical need for biomarkers that help define subpopulations of patients with significant VCID contributions. This was highlighted throughout the ADRD Summit for all types of neurodegenerative diseases and a push from the public to get these into clinical testing. This biomarker priority also aligns extremely well with the ongoing work in the lab including our involvement in DISCOVERY, DIVERSE VCID, and MarkVCID. Davis Chong and Dr. Katherine Mun are leading these biomarker efforts. I'm hoping that we can use this valuable data on inflammatory and angiogenic pathways to reverse translate into animal models.

It is an exciting time for brain research and with the President eyeing funding for the APRA-H initiative and the local support of philanthropic donors and patients willing to participate in cutting edge research, I'm certain that we will deliver a meaningful treatment for VCID within 5-10 years.

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