School of Psychology

fNIRS in Africa and the UK

Date • Time

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 15:00 to 16:00


TB 13


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Studying infants at risk for compromised development

Human brain and nervous system development during the first 1000 days - which includes pregnancy and the first two years of life - is critical, risk of compromised development during this time can have a deep impact on physical growth and cognitive function into adulthood. For example, recent research has shown that under nutrition in infancy is linked to lifelong effects on adult health, however we still have a comparatively poor understanding of how nutrition effects brain development during early life. The development of non-invasive brain imaging techniques, such as functional near infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), has allowed a recent shift in the use of neuroimaging towards the study of the developing brain in situations where this development may be at risk or compromised in some way. Here I will discuss our longitudinal research investigating individual differences in infants at risk for compromised development due to (1) autism and (2) under-nutrition.


Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox

Co-Investigator and Lead Psychologist on the Brain Imaging for Global Health Study (BRIGHT)
Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London and Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Following her cross-disciplinary PhD in developmental neuroscience and medical physics in 2011 she has become a leading international researcher in applying fNIRS to the study of infant development. She heads the NIRS Research Lab at the CBCD and provides training and support at an international level. Her current work focuses on understanding brain function and development in infants at risk of compromised development due to (1) neurodevelopmental disorders (autism and ADHD), and (2) under nutrition, as a lead investigator on a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project in The Gambia. This has led to the novel application of fNIRS in low- and middle- income countries and the first infant functional neuroimaging study in Africa. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles including a seminal review paper on fNIRS infant research and was recently awarded the Association for Psychological Science Rising Star Award.

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