Over $1,000,000 Invested to Date to Advance Breakthrough Medical Research

The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust (KTCT) is proud to announce that our latest round of investments brings our total support of early-stage research to more than $1,000,000. In less than five years, the Toffler Scholar Program and our other funding initiatives have provided research grants, network support, and more for those whose work is changing the landscape of medical breakthroughs. 

With this newest round of investments, we are able to expand the Trust’s funding to encompass three additional Toffler Scholar universities and several Toffler Grants. We’re also expanding these university partnerships by sponsoring students who are participating in their summer academic research programs. Designed to support high school and undergraduate students in underserved communities, these sponsorships will enable burgeoning talent to gain mentorship, experience, and hands-on training in neuroscience and biomedical research.

The Toffler Scholar Program

The majority of this year’s investment will be distributed through the Toffler Scholar Program, which provides funding and networking opportunities to investigators at nine partner universities. Investigators who are selected to receive funding become Toffler Scholars and join a strong network of past and present Scholars conducting groundbreaking research.

This year, we are expanding the program to include three new partner universities: Columbia University, Harvard University, and Northwestern University. Funding has been renewed for the University of Florida, the University of California at Los Angeles, Boston University, Florida State University, Temple University, and Johns Hopkins University.

The Toffler Scholar Program provides critical financial support to investigators pursuing areas of research where traditional funding is difficult to obtain. By providing financial and network support, investigators can further their work, enabling them to progress to a point where traditional grants and other funding sources are more readily available.

“We are thrilled to expand the Toffler Scholar Program while continuing to support our existing university partners,” said Rebecca Bartoli, executive director of the Karen Toffler Charitable Trust. “This program embodies the innate curiosity and future-focused vision of the Trust’s founders, Alvin and Heidi Toffler. We are honored to support investigators who challenge conventional thinking and strive to change humanity for the better.”

Toffler Grants

Funds will also be distributed through several Toffler Grants furthering groundbreaking research in a number of vital areas:

  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) and the hope to have a proof of concept that neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease are curable.
  • Lyme Disease and the aim to better understand the role of microbes in the development of central nervous system (CNS) disease. 
  • High-risk Alzheimer’s Experiments that could be a keystone in the argument that inflammation is a central component of the neurodegeneration seen in Alzheimer’s. 
  • Alzheimer’s Studies utilizing new technology called spatial transcriptomics, which can analyze brain tissue in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • Phage therapy, which hinges on matching the right phages to each specific bacterial pathogen in time to save a patient’s life. By supporting Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics’ (IPATH) Phage Library, IPATH is able to continue searching for phages to combat superbugs such as MRSA, Pseudomonas, Enterococcus, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Klebsiella, and Stenotrophomonas. It also expands the ability to address key bacterial pathogens, prioritizing the most prevalent and destructive infections. 
  • A Documentary and Educational Outreach Campaign that explores parallels between illnesses like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), Lyme Disease, and the environment. 

Toffler Sponsorships

Advancing medical research requires a strong pipeline of passionate, curious students. With this in mind, we are excited to announce that we will be expanding our university partnerships by sponsoring students who are participating in their summer academic research programs.

This year, the Karen Toffler Charitable Trust will provide funding for one high school student to participate in the  Summer Academic Research Experience (SARE)/Biophysics Research for Baltimore Teens (BRBT) at Johns Hopkins University. This is an eight-week summer academic research experience  that exposes low-income students to a strong, supportive, academic environment. 

At the college level, we will provide funding for two students participating in the Summer Neuroscience Internship Program (SNIP) at University of Florida. This 10-week hands-on scientific and professional development program fosters a passion for research and creates a direct conduit for underrepresented minority, undeserved, or female applicants to a neuroscience Ph.D.

“Funding these programs is an exciting extension of KTCT’s work to advance early-stage medical research and support early-career scientists,” said Toffler Trust board member Tom Johnson. “We hope to continue supporting this program in the coming years, giving more students the opportunity to pursue careers in neuroscience and medical research.”

Focused on the Future 

The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust is excited to continue working with medical researchers, university partners, and others to create solutions to some of humanity’s most intractable challenges. Together, we can bring transformative medical breakthroughs to the world, leading to longer, healthier, happier lives.