October 17-22, 2017
Erice, Sicily, ITALY

Workshop Organizers

Conference goals

Purpose of the Workshop

Conference goals

The overall purpose of the Workshop is to highlight the brain plasticity and its capacity to adapt to normal and perturbed developmental conditions. Within this framework, the workshop will explore more recent scientific discoveries on brain mechanisms supporting the interactive, motor and social processes of infant development. In particular, the knowledge of the active role of the motor system in supporting social and cognitive functions has fostered research in the field of early motor and social experience and its clinical implications. The risk factors and short/long-term effects of specific sensorimotor and social experiences will be evaluated in order to understand the potentials and limits of brain plasticity and by means of human and animal models. The presence of sensitive periods in development, but also of the brain plasticity potential in early development is key for our understanding of the appropriate type of interventions and neurorehabilitative tools required to overcome the adverse effects of neonatal brain lesions, perturbed early social experiences or genetic vulnerability. The workshop is highly integrative and interdisciplinary. The presentations will be appropriate for a broad audience consisting of scholars from multiple disciplines, representing different levels of seniority (e.g., graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, junior and senior researchers). Issues covered by the Workshop will include:

  • Early mother-infant interactions
  • Social and motor development
  • Early brain injury
  • Epigenetic regulation
  • Effects of early experience and adversity on brain development
  • Animal models for brain development
  • Interventions and neurorehabilitation
  • Autism and impairments in social communication
  • Cultural diversity in human development

Speakers & Topics

Sarah Lloyd-Fox

Measuring neurocognitive development in Gambian infants from 0 - 24 months

Bhismadev Chakrabarti

The links between mimicry & reward: Insights for and from Autism

Maria Luisa Scattoni

Early detection of autism spectrum disorders: insights from animal models

Tommaso Pizzorusso

Interplay between genetic and environmental factors in animal models of developmental disorders

Rosario Montirosso

Neonatal pain in very preterm infants: epigenetics and socio-emotional outcomes

Jana Iverson

Developing language in a developing body: interactions and cascading effects

Giovanni Cioni

Plasticty of motor and perceptual functions in infants with neurodevelopmental disorders

Andrea Guzzetta

Activity and interactivity in the early rehabilitation of newborns and infants with brain damage

Lynne Murray

Elucidation of the functional architecture of early social communication through research on infant cleft lip, and implications for intervention

Giovanni Buccino

Action-observation therapy in patients with stroke

Petra Huppi

Visualization of the preterm brain and its function

Pier Francesco Ferrari

The cortical motor system in primates. Implications for brain plasticity and neurorehabilitation

Stephen J. Suomi

Interactions between genes and environment in monkey development

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