What is Important in Infant Development from a Global Perspective?
Aga Khan University
Dr. Amina Abubakar is a Kenyan research psychologist. She is a Professor and the Director of Institute for Human Development, Aga Khan University. She is also a senior research scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme and holds an honorary fellowship at the University of Oxford. Dr. Abubakar’s research focuses on developmental delays and impairments in children affected by health challenges such as HIV, malnutrition, epilepsy, Sickle Cell Disease, and malaria. She is keen to contribute towards developing culturally appropriate strategies to identify, monitor, and rehabilitate at-risk children. Recognized for her pioneering work, she received the prestigious Royal Society Pfizer Award in 2016 for her impactful research in East Africa and contributions to neurodevelopmental assessment.
Erum Mariam is the Executive Director of BRAC IED (Institute of Educational Development) BRAC University, in Bangladesh. Mariam completed her PhD in Education from University of Cambridge in 2008. She has extensive experience of scaling up education interventions both nationally and globally.
Professor Mark Tomlinson is the Co-Director of the Institute for Life Course Health Research Stellenbosch University. He is also Professor of Maternal and Child Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University, Belfast, UK. His scholarly work focusses on how to improve early childhood development, child and adolescent mental health, maternal mental health, and developing life course approaches. He was elected as a member of the Academy of Science in South Africa in 2017. He has published over 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited four books and published numerous chapters.
Past presidents' council: what is the future of infant research?
The president’s council inaugural event is a panel of 3 members, a past president, Richard Aslin and two distinguished members of ICIS, Patricia Kuhl and Elizabeth Spelke who will share their key takeaways from their careers and vision for the future of infancy research followed by a Q&A with these leaders in the field.
University of Washington
Mechanisms of Atypical Development
Birkbeck, University of London
Emily is a Professor at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. Her research interests centre on understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms that drive variability in developmental trajectories. In this context, she runs a number of prospective longitudinal studies of typical and atypical neurodevelopment in infants and directs electrophysiological and eyetracking acquisition across several large-scale European and Global Health studies of children and adults with neurodevelopmental conditions.
University of Cambridge
Professor Melissa Hines directs the Gender Development Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. She investigates hormonal and sociocultural influences on gender development, including children’s toy and activity preferences, as well as gender identity, sexual orientation, personality, and cognition. She is interested not only in factors that influence gender development but also in how these influences interact to shape gender development. Ongoing projects include studies of androgen exposure during early infancy (mini-puberty) and later gender-related outcomes. Melissa is Past-President of the International Academy of Sex Research and author of over a hundred peer-reviewed journal articles, and the book, “Brain gender”.
Cross-Species Perspective on Social Cognition
Zanna Clay is a Professor of comparative and developmental psychology at Durham University, where she leads the Comparative Cognition and Cross-Cultural Development Lab. Combining naturalistic observations and experimental methods, Prof. Clay studies infants, young children across cultures and great apes in order to investigate the evolutionary and developmental basis of empathy, social cognition, language and communication. She is currently leading a large-scale project longitudinally investigating the comparative cross-cultural development of empathy in human infants and great apes.
Sleep and Memory Research
College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Dr. Sarah Berger is a Professor of Psychology at the City University of New York (College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center). Dr. Berger was an American Association of University Women Research Fellow and a Fulbright Research Scholar. Dr. Berger studies the interaction between infants’ cognitive and motor development, particularly response inhibition and its implications for the organization of infants’ attention. She also studies the relation between sleep and motor development—how skill onset impacts the quality of infants’ sleep, as well as the impact of sleep on infant motor problem solving.
Humboldt University, Berlin
Manuela Friedrich is the head of the Baby Sleep Lab at Humboldt University, Berlin. As an associate researcher at MPI CBS Leipzig, she has long used event-related potentials (ERPs) to assess infant language abilities and was instrumental in establishing ERPs as a method for studying learning and memory in early infancy. In her ongoing research, she investigates the impact of sleep on infant memory. As part of the Research Unit “Information Abstraction During Sleep” (German Research Foundation, DFG), Dr. Friedrich studies the retention, generalization, and transformation of memories in infants. By combining ERPs with polysomnographic (PSG) recordings, she aims to characterise the relationship between specific sleep processes and the way memories are represented.
University of Manchester
Angelo Cangelosi is Professor of Machine Learning and Robotics at the University of Manchester (UK) and co-director and founder of the Manchester Centre for Robotics and AI. He holds an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced grant. He also is Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute London. His research interests are in cognitive and developmental robotics, neural networks, language grounding, human robot-interaction and trust, and robot companions for health and social care. Overall, he has secured over £38m of research grants as coordinator/PI, including the ERC Advanced eTALK, the UKRI TAS Trust Node and CRADLE Prosperity, the US AFRL project THRIVE++, and numerous Horizon and MSCAs grants. Cangelosi has produced more than 300 scientific publications. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journals Interaction Studies and IET Cognitive Computation and Systems, and in 2015 was Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Development. He has chaired numerous international conferences, including ICANN2022 Bristol, and ICDL2021 Beijing. His book “Developmental Robotics: From Babies to Robots” (MIT Press) was published in January 2015, and translated in Chinese and Japanese. His latest book “Cognitive Robotics” (MIT Press), coedited with Minoru Asada, was recently published in 2022.
Dr. Shoji Itakura is a Fellow Professor and the Director of the Center for Baby Science at Doshisha University in Japan and a Visiting Professor at Milan Catholic University in Italy. He obtained his BA in Psychology at Yokohama National University, and his Master’s degree and Ph.D. at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. Dr. Itakura currently serves as the President of the Japanese Society for Baby Science, Executive Director of the Japan Society Developmental Neuroscience, and Editor of the Japanese Journal of Psychology. His research focuses on human development and explores infant cognition and behavior from ontogenetic, phylogenetic, and robotics perspectives. His works have been published in prominent journals such as Psychological Science, Nature Communications, and Developmental Science.
Media and Infant Development
University of Michigan Medical School
Dr. Radesky is the David G. Dickinson Collegiate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. She is Director of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and focuses clinically on autism, neurodiversity, and advocacy. Her NIH-funded research examines the use of mobile and interactive technology by parents and young children, parent-child relationships, and child social-emotional development. She authored the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statements Media and Young Minds and Digital Advertising to Children and is a co-Medical Director of the SAMHSA-funded AAP Center of Excellence on Social Media and Youth Mental Health.
Ragdoll Productions Ltd.
In 1984 Anne Wood founded Ragdoll Productions, an acclaimed, award-winning, and innovative independent TV production company, whose work, aimed at the youngest viewers, is loved worldwide.
Born in County Durham, Anne, a qualified secondary school teacher, was determined to encourage children to read and set-up children’s magazines and book clubs, so becoming a sought-after consultant embracing book publishing, radio, and television before founding Ragdoll Productions.
With award-winning programmes to her credit, particularly the phenomenally successful Teletubbies and In the Night Garden, Ragdoll has achieved international recognition and Anne has many accolades, including a CBE for services to Children’s Broadcasting.
Environmental Effects on Cognition/Complexity
Prof dr. Lenneke Alink is professor of Forensic Family Studies and Scientific Director of the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University. She obtained her PhD at Leiden University in 2006 and was a visiting scholar at the Center for Child Development, University of Minnesota from 2006-2008. Her research focuses on various aspects of adverse childhood experiences, parenting problems and child maltreatment, such as risk factors, causes, consequences, prevention, and decisions in child protection cases.
New York University
Dr. Natalie Brito is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and PI of the Infant Studies of Language and Neurocognition (ISLAND) lab. Dr. Brito’s research explores how social and cultural contexts shape the trajectory of brain and behavioral development, with the goal of better understanding how to best support caregivers and create environments that foster healthy development. Specifically, her ongoing studies examine how both proximal factors (i.e., maternal mental health, parent-child interactions) and distal influences (i.e., social policies) impact the development of attention, memory, and socioemotional skills during the first three years of life.
St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Sally Shuttleworth is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford. She has published widely on the intersections between culture and science and has a long-standing interest in the history of childhood. Her books include The Mind of the Child: Child Development in Literature, Science and Medicine, 1840-1900 (OUP, 2010), and the co-authored, Anxious Times: Medicine and Modernity in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Pittsburgh U. Press, 2019), the latter arising from an ERC project she directed, ‘Diseases of Modern Life: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives’ (2014-19).
All Souls College
Catriona Seth, FBA (Fellowship of the British Academy) is the Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. A distinguished cultural historian, she has published widely on literature and cultural history of the eighteenth century.