Fondazione Prada

Oct 6-7 2022

The pivotal moment of “Preserving the Brain” is the scientific conference held on 6 and 7 October 2022, at Fondazione Prada’s Cinema in Milan. Giancarlo Comi has conceived this initiative in dialogue with the thirteen research institutes involved in the project.

Each day is divided into four thematic sessions, each one featuring three lectures and an open discussion between the scientists and researchers. The second day end with a round table discussion in which scholars, technology experts, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and patient advocacy associations discuss future challenges in developing new therapies. The speakers explore the subject of neurodegenerative diseases from different perspectives, such as genetic implications and molecular mechanisms, clinical trials and possible drug treatments. The conference is addressed to researchers and universities involved in the project and representatives of prominent institutions in the health sector.

Rewatch the 2 days of the conference in the video published below




8.30 – 9.00 AM

Miuccia Prada (President of Fondazione Prada)
Giancarlo Comi (President of the “Human Brains” scientific board)


Claudio Bassetti (Past President of European Academy of Neurology)

session 1

Neurodegenerative diseases: epidemiology and risk factors

Fabrizio Tagliavini (Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan)

9.00 – 9.20 AM

Kristine Yaffe (UCSF, San Francisco)

Introductory remarks

9.20 – 9.40 AM

Monique Breteler (DZNE, Bonn)

Aging and risks for dementias

9.40 – 10.00 AM

Alberto Ascherio (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston)

Modifiable risks

10.00 – 10.30 AM | Open discussion

Hartmuth Wekerle (Max Planck, Munich)


Sergio Baranzini (UCSF, San Francisco)


session 2

Genetic and Epigenetic

Sergio Baranzini (UCSF, San Francisco)

11.00 – 11.20 AM

John Hardy (UCL, London)


11.20 – 11.40 AM

Alexis Brice (ICM, Paris)

Movement disorders

11.40 AM – 12.00 PM

Jorge Oksenberg (UCSF, San Francisco)

Multiple sclerosis

12.00 – 12.30 PM | Open discussion

Thomas Gasser (DZNE, Bonn)

Parkinson disease

Taiji Tsunemi (Juntendo University, Tokyo)


session 3

Molecular and cellular mechanisms in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases 1

Pierluigi Nicotera (DZNE, Bonn)

2.00 – 2.20 PM

Rick Morimoto (Northwestern University, Evanston)

Proteostasis mechanisms in aging and neurodegenerative diseases

2.20 – 2.40 PM

Nils-Göran Larsson (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm)


2.40 – 3.00 PM

Jens Bruning (Max Planck Institute, Munich)

Brain metabolism

3.00 – 3.30 PM | Open discussion

Monica Di Luca (Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan)

Synaptic dysfunction

Helen Plun Favreau (UCL, London)

Autophagy – Parkinson disease mitophagy

session 4

Molecular mechanisms in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases 2

Fredrik Piehl (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm)

4.00 – 4.20 PM

Michal Schwartz (Weizmann Institute, Tel Aviv)

Immunotherapy to defeat Alzheimer’s disease: A transformative understanding of brain immunity

4.20 – 4.40 PM

Katerina Akassoglou (UCSF, San Francisco)

The immunology of blood: Unlocking drivers of neurodegeneration

4.40 – 5.00 PM

Mathias Jucker (DZNE, Bonn)


5.00 – 5.30 PM | Open discussion

Jack Antel (MCGill University, Canada)

Role of glial cells

Brian Hafler (Yale, New Haven)

The lesson of age-related macular degeneration


5.30 – 6.00 PM

Hans Lassmann (Center for Brain Research at the Medical University, Wien)

Pathology of neurodegenerative disease. The basis for the understanding of disease mechanism

working dinner

7.30 - 10.00 PM

Elena Moro (CHU Grenoble)
Giancarlo Comi (President of the “Human Brains” scientific board)

Preserving the Brain: a global campaign on modifiable risk factors

Alberto Ascherio (Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston)

Burden of neurodegenerative diseases

Carlo Ferrarese (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milan)

Environmental factors

Sergio Baranzini (UCSF, San Francisco), Gonzalo Torres (CUNY School of Medicine, New York)

Microbiome and food

Letizia Leocani (UniSR, Milan)

Physical exercise

Tomas Olsson (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm)


Luigi Ferini Strambi (IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan)


october 7

keynote 2

8.30 – 9.00 AM

Michael Heneka (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine – LCSB)

Neurodegenerative disorders and sterile inflammation.

Session 5

Clinical outcomes in phase II-III Clinical Trials

Giovanni Frisoni (Centre de la mémoire, Geneva University Hospital)

9.00 – 9.20 AM

Jeffrey Cummings (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)


9.20 – 9.40 AM

Anthony Schapira (UCL, London)

Targeting the glucocerebrosidase pathway. A paradigm for slowing Parkinson’s disease

9.40 – 10.00 AM

Xavier Montalban (Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia – Cemcat, Barcelona)

Multiple sclerosis

10.00 – 10.30 AM | General discussion

Vincenzo Silani (Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Nan Zhang (Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin)

Fronto-temporal dementia

session 6

Biomarkers in phase II-III Clinical Trials in neurodegenerative diseases

Philip Scheltens (University Medical Center, Amsterdam)

11.00 – 11.20 AM

Giovanni Frisoni (Centre de la mémoire, Geneva University Hospital)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

11.20 – 11.40 AM

Daniela Perani (UniSR, Milan)

Positron emission tomography (PET)

11.40 AM – 12.00 PM

Henrik Zetterberg (UCL, London)

Body fluids

12.00 – 12.30 PM | General discussion

Hans Peter Hartung (Department of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany / Brain and Mind Center, University of Sydney)

Bodyfluids biomarkers in MS

Fu-Dong Shi (Department of Neurology, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital / Beijing Tiantan Hospital)

Biomarkers in NMOSD and MOGAD

keynote 3

12.30 – 1.00 PM

Randall Bateman (School of Medicine in St. Louis Missouri, Washington)

Clinical trials design to accelerate therapy

session 7

Pharmacological treatment

David Hafler (Yale, New Haven)

2.00 – 2.20 PM

Cath Mummery (UCL, London)

Early phase trials in Alzheimer’s disease: dawn of a new age

2.20 – 2.40 PM

Per Svenningsson (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm)

Parkinson’s disease

2.40 – 3.00 PM

Stephen Hauser (USCF, San Francisco)

Multiple Sclerosis

3.00 – 3.30 PM | General discussion

Adriano Chiò (Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Alexandra Durr (ICM, Paris)

Huntington disease

session 8

Further Topics

Alberto Albanese (Humanitas Research Hospital, Milan)

4.00 – 4.20 PM

Luigi Naldini (San Raffaele Hospital, Milan)

Gene therapy

4.20 – 4.40 PM

Stefano Pluchino (Cambridge Biosciences Campus, UK)

Advanced cellular and acellular therapeutics

4.40 – 5.00 PM

Letizia Leocani (UniSR, Milan)

Rehabilitation – Neuromodulation

5.00 – 5.30 PM | General discussion

Vincenzo di Lazzaro (Università Campus Bio-medico, Rome)

Brain stimulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Hagai Bergman (Institute of Medical Research, Israel)

DBS in Parkinson

Round table

5.30 – 6.45 PM

Giancarlo Comi (President of the “Human Brains” scientific board)
Pierluigi Nicotera (DZNE, Bonn)

Together to accelerate therapy for neurodegenerative diseases

Mario Alberto Battaglia (FISM), Shibeshish Belachew (Biogen), Maria Chiara Carrozza (CNR Italy), Tim Coetzee (National MS Society), Frédéric Destrebecq (European Brain Council), Alessandro di Rocco (Parkinson League New York), Lucia Faccio (Safinnova Partners), Lice Ghilardi (FRESCO Foundation), John Lehr (Parkinson’s Foundation), Chiara Liberati (Axxam), Catherine Lubetzki (Paris Brain Institute, AP-HP Sorbonne University), Niels Plath (Biotech MUNA), Marco Salvetti (Università Sapienza, Rome), Jan Schadrack (Roche), Maximilian Schuier (Janssen), Alan Thompson (UCL, London), Davorka Tomic (Merck), Florian Von Raison (Novartis), George Vradenburg (Founding Chairman of the Board, Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative)

6.45 – 7.00 PM

Concluding remarks and future actions