9th Annual Saffran Conference:
Day One Presentation One: Marie Banich
Marie Banich, Ph.D., is a professor of Psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she also serves as director of the Institute of Cognitive Science, a multi-disciplinary institute dedicated to exploring the science of the mind. In addition, she serves as the Executive Director of the Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium, a joint venture of the University of Colorado Boulder and the Mind Research Network of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her research specializes in using brain imaging techniques to understand the neural systems that allow us to direct our attention and our actions so that we can prioritize, organize, and target our behavior in a goal-oriented manner, abilities often referred to as executive function. She investigates these issues both in normal individuals as well as clinical populations, such as individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and adolescents with severe substance and conduct problems. She also takes a developmental perspective, examining how executive functions mature during adolescence. Her research findings have been published in leading journals, including the journal Science. In addition, she is author of a textbook in Cognitive Neuroscience now in its third edition. Among her other professional experiences, Prof. Banich has been a member of the MacArthur Foundation on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Verona, Italy, and has recently received a James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award.
Day One Presentation Two: David Caplan
David Caplan, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Behavioral/Cognitive Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Caplan obtained his Bachelor’s and Ph.D. (Linguistics) degrees from M.I.T, and completed his medical training at McGill University. His clinical area is Cognitive Neurology. His research is in the area of syntax. He has studied disorders of syntactically based comprehension in people with aphasia, the nature of the memory system used in syntactic comprehension, and neural correlates of syntactic comprehension using PET, fMRI and EEG/MEG.
Day One Presentation Three: Jason Chein
Jason Chein, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology (Brain, Behavior, & Cognition) at Temple University. Broadly, research in Dr. Chein’s laboratory employs a cognitive neuroscientific approach to evaluate alternative theoretical claims surrounding the basic mechanisms of cognition, the relationship among these mechanisms, and the contribution each makes to high-level cognitive function. Dr. Chein has extensive training in the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and employs this technique in combination with traditional behavioral measures to pursue his research goals. His primary research focus is on the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of working memory (immediate memory, short-term memory, controlled attention), and its role in cognitive control, learning, and decision making. Dr. Chein obtained his undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Computer Science from Temple University in 1997, and rejoined the Temple community as a member of the faculty in January of 2006. During the interim, he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology with a specialization in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Dr. Chein currently teaches courses in Cognitive Psychology and Functional Neuroimaging. He is a member of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Psychonomic Society, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Neuroscience.
Day One Presentation Four: Joni Holmes
Darren Dunning, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the Norwich Medical Center at the University of East Anglia. He is interested in working memory and its role in learning and developmental disorders. His research has focused on developing assessments to characterize the cognitive profiles of children with mathematical difficulties and poor working memory skills. In his current work he is developing and evaluating interventions to help remediate working memory impairments in various developmental groups, including those with working memory difficulties, dyslexia, ADHD and acquired brain injury.
Day One Presentation Five: James Montgomery
James Montgomery, Ph.D., is Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Director of the Developmental Psycholinguistics lab at Ohio University. His research has centered on the intersection of cognition and sentence processing/comprehension in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Specifically, he has focused on the influence of memory storage, retrieval, and attention on the offline and online sentence processing/comprehension of children with SLI. Current research efforts are directed at building cognitively-based models of sentence comprehension and quantifying mental effort during memory and sentence processing.
Day One Presentation Six: Laura Murray
Laura L. Murray, Ph.D., is a Full Professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Cognitive Science and Neuroscience Programs at Indiana University. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario, her Master’s degree from Minot State University, and her doctoral work at the University of Arizona. Dr. Murray teaches courses on normal aging and acquired neurogenic cognitive and communication disorders, and has received several awards for her teaching efforts at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research interests include examining how cognitive deficits (e.g., attention) interact with the language abilities of adults with neurogenic communication disorders, and developing assessment and treatment strategies for these patient populations. Her contributions include a graduate-level textbook: Neurogenic disorders of language and cognition: Evidence-based clinical practice, and numerous peer-reviewed and invited journal articles, book chapters, and invited and refereed conference presentations at the national and international levels in the fields of aphasia, right hemisphere disorders, dementia, traumatic brain injury, and normal aging.
Day Two Breakout Session One: Joni Holmes
Joni Holmes, Ph.D., completed both her first degree and Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Durham, UK, before moving to Leeds Metropolitan University, UK, as a Lecturer in Psychology in 2005. She moved to the University of York, UK, to work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Professor Susan Gathercole in the Centre for Working Memory and Learning in 2006, where she worked on a project investigating the cognitive profiles of children with disorders of memory and attention. Joni joined Northumbria University, UK, as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in January 2009, before moving to the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK in August 2011. She continues to work there as a Senior Investigator Scientist where she manages a broad programme of work investigating memory problems in children and cognitive training. Dr Holmes’ area of expertise is working memory and learning. She is currently investigating the far-reaching impact of cognitive impairments during childhood, directing high profile research into cognitive-based training, and developing practical ways to overcome the adverse consequences of poor working memory on learning. Her recent work has been investigating the causes of working memory problems across developmental disorders and exploring whether the source of the impairment impacts on responsiveness to training.
Day Two Breakout Session