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White matter pathologies are critically involved in the etiology of vascular cognitive impairment–dementia (VCID), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases (ADRD), and therefore need to be considered a treatable target (Roseborough A, Hachinski V, Whitehead S. White matter degeneration - a treatable target? Roseborough et al. JAMA Neurol [Internet]. 2020 Apr 27;77(7):793–4, . To help address this often-missed area of research, several workshops have been sponsored by the Leo and Anne Albert Charitable Trust since 2015, resulting in the incorporation of “The Albert Research Institute for White Matter and Cognition” in 2020. The first annual “Institute” meeting was held virtually on March 3–4, 2021. The Institute provides a forum and workspace for communication and support of the advancement of white matter science and research to better understand the evolution and prevention of dementia. It serves as a platform for young investigator development, to introduce new data and debate biology mechanisms and new ideas, and to encourage and support new research collaborations and directions to clarify how white matter changes, with other genetic and health risk factors, contribute to cognitive impairment. Similar to previous Albert Trust–sponsored workshops (Barone et al. in J Transl Med 14:1–14, ; Sorond et al. in GeroScience 42:81–96, ), established expert investigators were identified and invited to present. Opportunities to attend and present were also extended by invitation to talented research fellows and younger scientists. Also, updates on institute-funded research collaborations were provided and discussed. The summary that follows is a synopsis of topics and discussion covered in the workshop.