Velia Cardin – Principal Investigator
I am an Associate Professor at the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) and the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL. I graduated from the Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD Programme in Neuroscience at University College London (UCL), and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Royal Holloway University of London and at DCAL. From 2016-2019 I was a lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of East Anglia (UEA).
Using neuroimaging, pharmacological and behavioural techniques, my research focuses on human neural plasticity, aiming to understand the capabilities and constraints of the neural system.
I have had fruitful international collaborations with Linköping University in Sweden, Jiangsu University in China, and Moscow State University. I have received grants from international and national sources, including funds from the BBSRC, Linköping University, the Russian Research Council and Action on Hearing Loss.
I am actively involved in communicating research to the general public and to 3rd sector and government organisations, including the organisation of events such as the workshop “Neural Plasticity: Insights from Deafness and Language” (Wellcome Trust, June, 2016), and being part of the Prevention and Early Intervention Mission Group of the UK Council on Deafness.
Barbara Manini – Postdoctoral Research Associate
I joined the Deafness and Neuroplasticity lab in January 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow working on the project “Does the deaf auditory cortex have a role in cognition?”. Before, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto’s Brain and Language laboratory for Neuroimaging-BL2 at Gallaudet University, in Washington DC. Here, I worked on the research project “Seeing the Rhythmic Temporal Beats of Human Language”, focusing on psycho-physiological and neural signatures of visual language acquisition in both hearing and deaf infants. I obtained my M.S., cum laude, in Developmental Psychology in 2011 and my Ph.D. in Functional Neuroimaging in 2015 from the University Gabriele D’Annuzio of Chieti-Pescara in Italy. During my master and doctoral training, I worked with Dr. Arcangelo Merla at the Infrared Imaging Laboratory of the Institute of Advanced Biomedical Technology (ITAB) in Chieti, Italy. During graduate school, I also spent seven months as a visiting student at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, University of London.
Valeria Vinogradova – PhD Student
I am a student in a 1+3 (MRes + PhD) program at the School of Psychology at UEA.
I received my undergraduate degree in Linguistics with focus on sign language interpreting from Moscow State Linguistics University in 2016 and then studied Fundamental and Applied Linguistics at the National Research University — Higher School of Economics in Moscow for a year. I am a qualified Russian Sign Language interpreter and I worked part-time as an interpreter, mostly in educational settings, while I was in Russia.
Ebani Dhawan – Undergraduate Student
I am a BASc Arts and Sciences undergraduate student at UCL, specialising in neuroscience and psychology. I have a strong interest in neural plasticity and how it underlies behaviour. Outside of this, I am also interested in science policy and communication. In my spare time, you can find me reading, trying out new recipes or playing tennis.
Rita Bertani – Undergraduate Student
I am a Neuroscience BSc student currently in my fourth and final year at King’s College London.
In 2020-21, I have completed an extra mural placement at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, focusing on visuo-spatial imagery in the dreams of the congenitally blind, and I am currently working as Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Sleep and Brain Plasticity Centre, IoPPN.
I have also contributed to two systematic reviews – one on the antinociceptive effects of cannabinoids, and the other on the open field test in transgenic animal models of Alzheimer’s disease – and to the COVID-SOLES web application created by CAMARADES at the University of Edinburgh.
Apart from my passion for the brain, I enjoy learning languages, drawing, and cycling around London.