The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease

The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (CCAD) invests in early-career scientists who have innovative ideas on how to defeat Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Through the generosity of a philanthropist, CCAD has become a select conference where the brightest minds are invited to collaborate. To view our recently published reference book click HERE



Who can attend CCAD?

To participate in CCAD, a researcher must be nominated by a CCAD Alumni or by a leader in the AD field such as AD Center Directors and University Faculty.

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have obtained a PhD and/or MD within the last 12 years from the date the conference is to be held

  • Hold a Post Doc, Fellowship, or Faculty position no higher than Assistant Professor at an institution based in the United States

  • NOT have been or currently be a Principal Investigator (PI) on any NIH-funded R01, Program Project or Center grant by the date the conference is to be held


The Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease is a three-day experience that is typically held in early March, as flowers bloom, in the historical city of Charleston, South Carolina. 

Thursday: Attendees arrive in the afternoon and meet for a reception. It is during this reception that the CCAD awardees from two years prior present their work and discuss how CCAD has affected their research careers.

Friday: Is solely scheduled for attendee presentations. Each of the fifteen attendees has fifteen minutes to present their research followed by ten minutes of questions and answers. During the presentation, the group is encouraged to engage in discussions of their research. In the evening, everyone embarks on a dinner adventure. The experience is different each year but always tied to the history of the Holy City, Charleston.

The Friday night dinners vary from dinner cruises on the Cooper river under the iconic Ravenel bridge to carriage rides among the cobblestone streets of the city to their dinner destination. CCAD creates memorable moments to facilitate bonds and friendships among researchers.

Saturday: This day is reserved for a mock NIH study section, which helps researchers understand how their grants get reviewed at the federal level. During this time, all fifteen proposals are reviewed and scored by a primary and secondary reviewer with members of the CCAD board taking turns chairing the session. Once this mock study section is complete, investigators have a few hours to relax and explore the historic city. Meanwhile the CCAD board meets privately to review the scores and select the winners. The New Vision award scholars are announced at the awards ceremony that takes place at a select restaurant in the city of Charleston.

CCAD usually awards three $50,000 New Vision grants to early-career scientists who demonstrate innovation and who embrace cross-field collaboration. This investment in early-career scientists can have a significant impact on their ability to attain future federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The conference also educates these scientists on the grant review process by staging a mock NIH study section.