The 2014 Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award Will Be Presented on Saturday at the Learning & the Brain® Educational Conference in Boston

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Dr. Joanna A. Christodoulou from Massachusetts General Hospital will be presented with the “2014 Transforming Education Through Neuroscience Award” for her contributions to the field of Mind, Brain and Education during the upcoming Learning & the Brain® educational conference in Boston, MA.

A groundbreaking researcher whose research lies at the intersection of education and cognitive neuroscience will be awarded the seventh annual prize for “Transforming Education through Neuroscience.” The award was established by the Learning & the Brain® Foundation and The International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES) to honor individuals who represent excellence in bridging neuroscience and education. The $5,000 award will be used to “support translational efforts bridging scientific findings and classroom practice.”

Joanna A. Christodoulou, Ed.D, is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital and is being honored for her work on learning difficulties and interventions. Dr. Christodoulou received her Doctorate in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2010 and did her post-doctoral work at the Gabrieli Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Now at MGH, Dr. Christodoulou leads the Brain, Education and Mind (BEAM) Team which is dedicated to conducting research to improve student outcomes by investigating factors contributing to the prevention of reading challenges, the identification of protective characteristics, and optimizing individualized interventions.

Dr. Christodoulou uses neuroimaging and behavioral tools in her research and works with participants as young as four years old through adulthood. She integrates the role of clinician, cognitive developmental neuroscientist and educator in her work. Her primary research focus has been the development of reading and related skills, and approaches to harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes. Dr. Christodoulou works on identifying risk factors from school and home associated with learning challenges, investigating effective identification of learning difficulties across clinical and research settings and optimizing intervention practices for struggling students.

“Joanna Christodoulou has been a pioneer in the integration between pressing issues in education, especially in regards to reading and dyslexia, and cutting-edge methods for neuroimaging of the human brain,” according to Dr. John D.E. Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Director of the Martinos Imaging Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “She is a talented communicator, who makes clear to teachers what neuroscience can contribute to education, and makes clear to neuroscientists what students and teachers need to know.”

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D, Associate Professor of Psychology, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California and the 2008 winner of the award also had praise for the new recipient. “Dr. Christodoulou’s work is groundbreaking especially for its focus on integrating clinical perspectives with educational perspectives while honoring individual differences in children’s learning. Her research leads to novel insights about the neural bases of reading acquisition, yet also keeps the whole child in focus—translating the technical findings into practical, translational applications in real-world educational contexts.”

The prize will be presented by Dr. David Daniel, who was last year’s recipient of the award, at the upcoming Learning & the Brain® educational conference in Boston, MA on Saturday, November 22, held at the Westin Copley Hotel. The Learning & the Brain® Foundation and the International Mind Brain and Education Society wish Dr. Christodoulou their heartiest congratulations.

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Kristin Dunay
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