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Research Cluster Promote Collaboration within and beyond Neuroscience at UBC

By May 3, 2018No Comments

“Educational neuroscience is really an emerging field – with just five centres around the world, we’re proud to be the sixth, and the first in Canada,” says Dr. Lara Boyd. “So far, it’s been fascinating to learn from our colleagues in the field.”

Dr. Boyd and several other researchers at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health are currently taking part in initiatives that aim to accelerate discovery around brain health issues, from how the brain rewires itself after injury, to how the brain adapts to learning and change.

“It’s exciting to be part of such an interdisciplinary team,” says Dr. Boyd, whose Educational Neuroscience research cluster has recruited thought leaders from the faculties of Education, Law, Arts and Medicine. “We’re looking at so much more than just the science of how kids learn; we want to know how plasticity affects education, but that encompasses everything from government policy, to legal frameworks, to teacher education. It’s huge.”

Dr. Boyd’s cluster is already engaged in three longitudinal studies that consider the impact of learning disability on neuroplasticity, social and emotional learning, and executive functions. The group received additional funding from the Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Office related to the Healthy Child Initiative.

“We’re working quite closely with Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl and the Human Early Learning Partnership, and are looking forward to working with two teachers from the Vancouver School Board who have been seconded as ‘teachers-in-residence’ to the cluster in the fall,” says Dr. Boyd. “We’re excited to see how our work translates into real-world teaching, and to establish an ongoing relationship with the teachers themselves.”

The Educational Neuroscience Research Cluster aims to uncover new ways of understanding the neurodiversity of learners, and to alter approaches to educating children as well as their future teachers, and to facilitate evidence-based decision-making to support and promote children’s social and emotional development.