The symposium included talks about dyslexia, early intervention, language, and cognition by experts across fields at UC Irvine, University of Conneticticut, UC Merced, UCLA, UCSF, and UC Davis. Our distinguished presenters were Dr. Carol Connor (UCI), Dr. Roeland Hancock (UConn), Dr. Jeff Gilger (UCM), Dr. Jennie Grammar (UCLA), Dr. Fumiko Hoeft (UCSF), Dr Jamal Abedi (UCD), and Dr. Melina Uncapher (UCSF). Topics ranged from “Dynamic Nonverbal Thinking in People with Dyslexia” to “Using Assessments and Technology to Personalize Instruction.”
We are delighted that Professor Margaret Snowling visited UCSF and gave a talk on 4/4/2018. The talk presented findings from a longitudinal study of children at high-risk of dyslexia either because of preschool speech and language difficulties or because of a first degree affected relative, followed from age three to eight years will follow. Evidence suggests that there are shared risk factors between familial dyslexia and language impairment but the developmental picture is more complex. It will be argued, in line with the critical age hypothesis, that children who enter school with a persistent speech or language impairment are most at risk of reading problems.
See full recording of talk here.
We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Fumiko Hoeft will be co-director for the new Implementing Global Neuroscience Initiatives in Training and Education (IGNITE) Center of Haskins Laboratories, a Yale and University of Connecticut-affiliated research institute. IGNITE intends to expand research for improving language and literacy outcomes for children at risk for reading difficulties.
See full article here.
The Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation recently announced Readvolution. Readvolution is a new dyslexia assessment initiative with a goal of providing each child access to high-quality education. The effort will leverage the UCSF Dyslexia Center and Dr. Fumiko Hoeft’s expertise in producing the first scientifically validated technology for scalable universal screening of dyslexia for free.
See full press release here.
The PrecL team attended SPEDDR conference and presented a poster on preliminary App validation results. It is a conference that provides information on the topics related to special education, disabilities, and developmental risk across the University of California universities. SPEDDR conference also brings together faculty expertise to focus on the educational needs of children within the contexts of special education.
Stephanie Haft represented UCSF brainLENS at Eye to Eye National’s Young Leaders Organizing Institute. The Young Leaders Organizing Institute is a four-day celebration that helps Eye to Eye Chapter Leaders build leadership and empowerment skills through workshops, lectures, activities, and community fun. Stephanie spoke about UCSF’s partnership with Eye to Eye, funded by the Oak Foundation.
LENS director Dr. Fumiko Hoeft and LENS postdoc Dr. Roeland Hancock, along with Dr. Jason Zevin (USC) organized a one-day symposium on “Biological and Environmental Factors that Impact Multilingualism.” The symposium discussed endogeous and exogeneous sources of variability relevant to cross-linguistic and cross-cultural studies of language and literacy. An exciting array of keynotes took place at the conference, including talks on cognitive models, linguistic background, music and language, and environment.
Rebecca Marks presented a poster of pilot results from the UCSF Bilingual Project at the International Mind Brain and Education Society conference, which took place in Toronto Canada. The poster was entitled “Brain Basis of Language Proficiency in Bilingual Children.”
The UCSF Bilingual Project team attended several San Francisco Unified School District “back to school nights” for parents to learn more about our project. Pictured is Ashley, a Cantonese-speaking team member offering more information about the Bilingual study and UCSF brainLENS. Interested families can go to http://brainlens.ucsf.edu/bilingual to learn more about participating in this project.
In September 2016, Dr. Fumiko Hoeft was elected to the Professional Advisory Board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD). The mission of NCLD is to improve the lives of the 1 in 5 children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues—by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. NCLD’s Professional Advisory Board (PAB) includes leading educators, psychologists, researchers, physicians, and advocates. The PAB helps to guide NCLD program activity and advises the staff and Board of Directors on educational needs, program opportunities, public policy development, and strategic planning.
The Center for Childhood Creativity (CCC), located at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
in Sausalito, CA, aims to boost creativity in children by translating and synthesizingcutting-edge research accessible for a wide audience. CCC and brainLENS formed a partnership in early 2013 to collaborate on solutions for the growing deficit in creativity. Together, the CCC and brainLENS advocate for developing creative thinking in early childhood. Pictured are LENS team members conducting pilot research at the Bay Area Discovery Museum as part of this collaboration.
Dr. Fumiko Hoeft visited the AIM Academy, a “research-to-practice” school that seeks to pioneer technology and techniques proven to benefit children with language-based learning differences. Her talk and professional development addressed the importance of an integrated approach in understanding all children but in particular, those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia: from genetics and brain networks to behavior, from reading to socio-emotional skills, and from risk to protective factors. She discuss the latest advances in the neuroscience of dyslexia, with an emphasis on cognitive and socio-emotional resilience.
Dr. Lachmann is the Cognitive and Psychology Head of Center for Cognitive Science, as well as the Director of the Graduate School of Cognitive Science at the Kaiserslautern University of Technology in Kaiserslautern, Germany. His talk to the brainLENS lab focused on introducing a framework explaining reading acquisition and dyslexia. It focused on visual experiments investigating analytic processing in letter recognition: symmetry, flanker, orientation invariance. Dr. Lachmann has done important work pertaining to reading and dyslexia using various approaches (For a list of his publications: https://www.sowi.uni-kl.de/psychologie-ii/staff/lachmann/).
The aim of the IWORDD workshop was to promote exchange of ideas between world-class dyslexia experts through talks and round tables, and facilitate transfer of knowledge between practitioners and scientists.The ultimate goal was to understand the causes of dyslexia and improve detection protocols and remediation techniques. Dr. Hoeft gave a keynote address to this end, entitled “Intergenerational Imaging of Reading Networks.”
Linda Siegel PhD., Professor Emeritus in Special Education at the University of British Columbia, visited UCSF to offer consultation on LENS’s Bilingual Project. She also gave a talk entitled “Early Identification and Intervention to Prevent Reading Difficulties.” In this presentation, she described an eight-year longitudinal study of early screening of and intervention for reading problems. This study was conducted in a school district in Vancouver Canada and the participants were both English Language Learners (ELL) and children whose first language was English (L1).
The UConn Language Fest is a University-wide research conference, and just experienced its sixth year, which showcased the many facets of research on language in the UConn community. Each year, the Language Fest draws participation across many departments and programs, including Psychology, Education, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Linguistics, Literatures, Cultures and Languages, and Haskins Laboratories. Dr. Hoeft is a research scientist at Haskins Laboratories affiliated with Yale and UConn, and gave a talk at the program entitled “Intergenerational Imaging of Reading Networks.”
The Robert J. Schwartz Memorial Lecture is given annually at the Windward School in White Plains, NY. This year, Dr. Hoeft delivered a lecture entitled “The New Neuroscience of Dyslexia.” In this lecture, she discussed the latest advances in the neuroscience of dyslexia with a particular emphasis on research that has important practical and policy implications. Strategies that may promote cognitive and socio-emotional resilience in dyslexic children were also discussed.
A law passed in October in CA requires the state to develop and complete program guidelines for dyslexia to assist regular education teachers, special education teachers, and parents to identify and assess pupils with dyslexia, and to plan, provide, evaluate, and improve educational services to these pupils. Accordingly, the California Department of Education has assembled a work group of teachers, school administrations, educational and medical professionals to develop these guidelines – Dr. Hoeft was selected to be on this workgroup, and will be traveling to Sacramento to offer her knowledge and expertise.
LENS graduate student Priscilla Duong recently received a blue ribbon award for her presentation, “Long-term Memory Associated with Sentence Repetition as a Predictor for Reading Comprehension.” The APA Division of Clinical Neuropsychology annually gives blue ribbon awards to students demonstrating exceptional presentations at their annual convention.
LENS currently partners with Eye to Eye, a national mentoring program for students with learning disabilities or ADHD. One of our projects is to evaluate the impact of this mentoring program on various socio-emotional constructs in the mentees. The Oak Foundation will be funding this effort, which will be important in highlighting the role of mentoring for those with learning differences, and identifying various profiles of response.
Dr. Black is an Educational Neuroscientist and Professor at the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW). She worked with Dr. Fumiko Hoeft at the Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research Program, and has co-authored numerous papers with Hoeft. Dr. Black’s research integrates the use of neuroimaging (functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging), standard neuropsychological behavioral testing and environmental measures, such as the home supports, to predict outcome in children with risk for school failure. Within this population, Dr. Black focuses primarily on children with diagnosis of or risk for learning disabilities and children learning in non-native linguistic settings.
Dr. Fumiko Hoeft attended Chartwell School to share the latest neurobiological research behind dyslexia with parents, teachers, and staff. Chartwell School is designed for students with language-based learning differences such as dyslexia, and consists of students K-12. BrainLENS is currently partnering with Chartwell School to advance our socio-emotional research projects.
The theme of the annual NAIS conference was “What’s Your Story? The Power of Trailblazers, Catalysts, and Calamities.” LENS PI Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD contributed to this theme with her talk “Bridging the Synaptic Gap: A School/Neuroscience Partnership for Innovation in Education,” presented alongside Jim Eagen from the Synapse School (CA). The talk focused on the Synapse School’s partnership with Dr. Hoeft as an example of learning transformed by neuroscience.
The topic of this Learning & the Brain Conference was “Shaping Student Mindsets: Promoting Academic Attitudes, Persistence, and Performance.” A distinguished group of academics and educators in psychology, neuroscience, and education discussed how student beliefs and attitudes about themselves could boost academic motivation and raise student achievement. LENS co-sponsored this event and had an informational booth at the conference (pictured), and Dr. Hoeft gave a talk entitled “Brains, Mindsets and Grit.” For a full description of the conference program and talks, click here
On February 21, 2016, ABC7’s Cheryl Jennings’ segment “Beyond the Headlines” focused on people who live with dyslexia and the movement led by families, educators, and experts concerned with educational interventions for the disorder. Studio guests included California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Sally Shaywitz MD (author of Overcoming Dyslexia), Tobie Meyer (Decoding Dyslexia California), brainLENS PI Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD, and others.
LENS recently conducted research using MRI in both parents and their children to study intergenerational transmission of the pattern of brain structures. Specifically, the study focused on the corticolimbic system, which governs emotional regulation and processing and plays a role in mood disorders (anxiety and depression). Results showed that this circuitry is more likely to be passed down from mothers to daughters than other transmission patterns. Read more about the study here.
Listen to Dr. Hoeft’s Science Today radio interview segment on this work here!
The conference was designed for teachers, practitioners and parents to help them learn to identify, understand, and provide evidence- based teaching for students who have dyslexia and dyscalculia. Participants learned the latest genetic studies as a basis for understanding current practices for assessment and intervention. The focus of these discussions was for school-age students. Speakers included Dr. Hoeft, Albert Galaburda, MD (Harvard), Ken Pugh, PhD (Haskins Laboratories), and more.
In this presentation, Dr. Hoeft addressed the importance of an integrated approach in understanding learning differences such as dyslexia: from genetics to brain networks, and from risk factors to protective factors. The talk discussed the latest advances in the neuroscience of learning differences, with a particular emphasis on resilient dyslexics.
Dr. Hoeft will serve a 3-year term on the board of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). The IDA is an international organization consisting of a variety of professionals in partnership with dyslexics and their families who are interested in the complex issues of dyslexia.
At the Haskins Global Summit, leading international scientists, representatives from key governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and health and education ministries in the developing world convened to address needs in disadvantaged populations of children. Dr. Fumiko Hoeft contributed to the discussion by providing a perspective on neurocognitive development in this underserved population.
PI Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD gave a keynote talk entitled “Socio-Emotional and Cognitive Resilience in Children with Learning Challenges” at Learning & The Brain’s conference in Boston, MA. The topic of the conference was “The Science of Character: Using Brain Science to Raise Student Self-Regulation, Resilience and Respect.” The goal was to discover the science behind character strengths, why they lead to academic and life success and how educators can train these skills in students.
The 5th annual Bay Area Science Festival’s Discovery Day at AT&T Park (San Francisco) included hundreds of hands-on activities, opportunities to meet local scientists and engineers, and plenty of fun and educational entertainment. The UCSF Dyslexia Center hosted a booth at Discovery Day, giving children a “Neuroscience Passport” that they got stamped by participating in a series of activities and stations related to the work of our lab.
Our lab’s publication, “Functional neuroanatomical evidence for the double-deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia (Norton et al., 2014)” was one of ScienceDirect’s 10 most downloaded Neuroscience and Psychology articles published since 1 January 2014 by authors based in the US. View the article here.
Roeland Hancock and Janosch Linkersdoerfer visited Papua New Guinea as part of a collaboration with the UniSkript Research and Literacy Institute (URLI). The research teams are validating a new linguistic and literacy technology in illiterates in the country. In addition, Hancock, Linkersdoerfer, and UniSkript are examining the neurocognitive mechanisms of literacy acquisition by using methods such as EEG. The overarching goal is to apply this technology and research findings to dyslexic children in developed societies.
Dr. Wouters gave a talk entitled: “Sampling the Auditory Brain Using Steady-State Responses: Basics and Applications”. His research focuses on audiology, the auditory system and auditory prostheses. He is author of ~240 articles in international peer-reviewed journals, associate editor of three international journals, president of the European Federation of Audiology Societies EFAS, president of the Belgian Audiology Society B-Audio, and secretary general of the International Collegium of Rehabilitative Audiology ICRA.
Chelsea Myers, UCSF brainLENS research affiliate, and lab PI Fumiko Hoeft MD PhD guest presented at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s “Building Blocks of Creative Thinking” half day event. At this event, the Center for Childhood Creativity’s “Inspiring a Generation to Create: 7 Critical Components of Creativity” was discussed - to download the report and for more information, visit: http://www.centerforchildhoodcreativity.org/research-initiatives/.
Breakthrough San Francisco supports young people in San Francisco on the path to college, and trains outstanding college students for education careers. The goal of career day is to expand students’ thinking about possible careers, and also underscore the importance of college attendance. This year, brainLENS engaged the students through a brain imaging demonstration, conversations about related careers, tours of other science labs, and participation in administering neuropsychological tests.
This grant supports researchers who wish to spend a short period abroad to further specialize in their area or to undertake knowledge-gathering assignments. In this way, the FWO aims to encourage mobility and international contacts between research groups.
This presentation addressed the importance of an integrated approach in understanding learning differences such as dyslexia: from genetics to brain networks, and from risk factors to protective factors. We discussed the latest advances in the neuroscience of learning differences, with a particular emphasis on resilient (stealth) dyslexics. We highlighted the importance of emphasizing children’s “internal environment” such as motivation, mindset, grit and resilience-developable traits that are absolutely necessary for children with learning differences to succeed.
Dr. Horowitz-Kraus’ lab has found that reading intervention results in neural circuits related to both normalization and compensation in children with dyslexia. They have also highlighted the importance of the right hemisphere in reading comprehension both in children (7-9 years) and in adolescents (18 years).