Navigating Mind, Brain, and Education: A Preconference for Aspiring Leaders.

Join us for a daylong IMBES Preconference in Los Angeles, California on September 27, 2018.

The IMBES leadership and the Jacobs Foundation welcome all IMBES Trainees (e.g., pre-service teachers; recent graduates across research, policy, and practice; postdocs; graduate students; undergraduates) to join us for a daylong preconference about MBE career trajectories, strategies to communicate interdisciplinary research to various audiences, exemplary MBE work conducted by trainees, and the unique opportunities and challenges for MBE trainees. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with senior scholars and other trainees.

Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.


Thanks to the support of the Jacobs Foundation, the preconference is free for all attendees. Attendees must be trainees who engage in research and/or practice and/or policy across the biological and social/behavioral sciences. Registration is limited. Please note that registration for the main IMBES conference is required and must be completed first. All registered preconference attendees have been contacted about Lunch with Leaders and peer pairings assignments. If you have not received these emails, you are not registered as a preconference attendee. If you have any questions about preconference registration, please email the Trainee Board at


Time Event Session Host(s)
7:30 am 9:00 am Breakfast
8:45 am 9:00 am Introductory Remarks IMBES Trainee Board
9:00 am 9:45 am Presentations by Award Winners: A Focus on Teachers Noa Albelda
Jeanne Parmentier
Annie Brookman-Byrne
9:45 am 10:00 am Break
10:00 am 11:15 am Career Panel Melina Uncapher
Celia J. Gomez
Vera Blau-McCandliss
11:15 am 11:45 am Career Breakout Session Melina Uncapher
Celia J. Gomez
Vera Blau-McCandliss
11:45 am 1:05 pm Lunch with Leaders (Lunch provided) See below for a full list of leaders
1:05 pm 1:50 pm Peer Mentorship Session Peer partner (emailed to you)
1:50 pm 3:20 pm Science Communication Workshop Daniel Busso at
Frameworks Institute
3:20 pm 3:50 pm Snack Break (Snacks provided)
3:50 pm 4:35 pm Presentations by Award Winners: A Focus on Math and Language John Binzak
Fuyu Kwok
Gabriela Meade
4:35 pm 4:50 pm Closing Remarks IMBES Trainee Board
6:45 pm Reception at The Lab Gastropub (Snacks provided)

Location and Travel

The preconference will be held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Activities will take place in the Forum Room (Room 450) on the fourth floor of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Please see section D5 of the USC campus map to locate the building. Google Map

We encourage attendees to check the main conference page for lodging and travel recommendations, as they become available.


Career Panelists

Melina Uncapher
Melina Uncapher is an Assistant Professor in the Dept of Neurology at UC San Francisco, and Director of Education for Neuroscape, a new center that bridges neuroscience and technology ( Dr. Uncapher has spent 16 years at the forefront of learning neuroscience, and now applies research to solve real-world problems in education and technology. Education: Dr. Uncapher leads a multi-university National Science Foundation-funded network studying how executive function contributes to academic achievement, and is leading an initiative to launch Learning Engineering as a new way to build research-practice partnerships. She co-founded and is CEO of a nonprofit that arms educators and students with practical tools based on learning science: Institute for Applied Neuroscience ( Technology: Dr. Uncapher runs a NIH-funded research program that investigates whether technology use is associated with neurocognitive changes in children. She co-chaired a 2015 National Academy of Sciences conference on children and technology, and sits on the board of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. She also holds an affiliation with Stanford’s Psychology Department and is a MacArthur Scholar. Her work has been highlighted in media outlets such as the New York Times, PBS, Forbes, and Frontline. Her science outreach work includes serving as Script Supervisor on the Emmy-nominated PBS TV series The Brain, and as scientific advisor on an award-winning short film about the brain.
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Celia J. Gomez
Celia J. Gomez is an Associate Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. She is a scholar of applied human development, with experience as both a researcher and a practitioner in multiple early childhood, K-12 education, post-secondary education, and community-based settings. Her primary research interests focus on the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions and public policies that promote the well-being of young children and their families. Dr. Gomez is particularly interested in programs that serve low-income populations and communities of color, and policies that promote equity. She has expertise in quantitative research methods—including longitudinal data analysis, multi-level modeling, and impact analysis—as well as qualitative research methods—including in-depth interviews, observations, and applications of grounded theory. Dr. Gomez earned a B.A. in psychology and African American studies from Yale University, and holds an Ed.D. (Human Development and Education) and Ed.M.(Prevention Science and Practice) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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Vera Blau-McCandliss
Vera Blau-McCandliss is the Vice President of Education and Research at Square Panda.
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Lunch with Leaders

Preconference attendees will have the opportunity to have lunch with one of the following:

Daniel Ansari
Sasha Barab
Grégoire Borst
Silvia Bunge
Daniel Busso
Joanna Christodoulou
Adam Green
David Kraemer
Robert Ochsendorf
Eric Pakulak
Gavin Price
Melina Uncapher

Science Communication Workshop

Facilitated by FrameWorks Institute

The FrameWorks Institute's Daniel Busso will present evidence-based practices for effectively communicating MBE-relevant research to general audiences outside the scientific community. Preconference attendees will have the opportunity to try their hands at framing their research for the public.

Awardee Presentations

A Focus on Teachers

Noa Albelda

Dr. Albelda has a PhD in developmental neuroscience from The Tel-Aviv University in Israel. Currently, she is a post-doctoral fellow specializing in neuro-pedagogy at The Sagol Center for Brain and Mind. She develops and researches the effects of professional development programs of neuro-pedagogy and contemplative education for K - 12 teachers.

From Mind and Brain to Education: Fostering Teacher Participation and Leadership in the Development of Neuro-Pedagogy

Teachers are pedagogy experts, and their involvement in bringing together neuroscience and pedagogy is invaluable. This involvement can lead to innovative neuro-pedagogical practices fostering resilience and well-being of students and teachers. The talk will present a K - 12 teacher development program in which participating teachers are exposed to theoretical knowledge related to MBE and are actively involved in translating this knowledge to practices implemented in lessons. In collaboration with the neuroscientists guiding the program, an interdisciplinary discourse is created, potentially leading to better pedagogical practices and to the integration of mind, brain and education in classrooms and schools.

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Jeanne Parmentier

Jeanne Parmentier holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Ecole Polytechnique, France. She is in charge of innovation at the Institut Villebon - Georges Charpak, a pedagogical center of University Paris Saclay which facilitates innovation in teaching as well as links between practice and research.

Back and Forths Between Classroom and Research: The Example of an Undergrad Program in Science

How can we combine expertise across fields to get the best learning experience for our students? At her institute, Parmentier and colleagues applied free recall and distributed practice in class, methods taken from papers about memorization. But transitioning from the lab to classroom is difficult, so they developed a reliable tool to make teachers assess the efficiency of their classroom practices. Parmentier and colleagues worked also on a self-paced learning project on mathematics, where exercises and curricula are tailored to each student. They plan to check whether educational psychology tools (e.g., spacing) are more effective when organized with artificial intelligence rather than manually planned.

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Annie Brookman-Byrne

Annie is a PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London, and a member of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience. Her current research investigates the cognitive and neural bases of science and maths reasoning in adolescence. She works closely with teachers to ensure that her research has relevance for the classroom.

Inhibitory Control in Science and Maths

For her postgraduate research Brookman-Byrne set out to investigate the role of inhibitory control in counterintuitive science and maths reasoning in adolescence. A behavioural study showed that adolescents with better inhibitory control were better able to answer counterintuitive science and maths questions. This was followed up with an fMRI study showing that regions of the brain used in inhibitory control were also used in counterintuitive reasoning. She worked closely with teachers who helped ensure stimuli were educationally-relevant. The findings suggest that rather than praising students for fast responses, teachers should consider encouraging students to stop and think before answering.

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A Focus on Math and Language

John Binzak

John Binzak is a doctoral candidate at UW—Madison working with Dr. Ed Hubbard in the Educational Neuroscience Lab. From brains to games, John studies how students learn mathematical concepts from educational multimedia, such as video games, to test theories of numerical cognition born from developmental psychology and neuroscience research.

From Brains to Games: Investigations of Symbolic and Nonsymbolic Ratio Processing with fMRI and Gameplay Data

In a recent series of fMRI studies, Binzak and his colleagues observed that regions of the brain specialized for processing the magnitude of fractions (e.g. 1/7) appear to emerge in older children and overlap with regions specialized earlier in life to support the visual perception of ratios. These results spurred new questions about how visual representations can be used to strengthen fraction knowledge and inspired the design of an educational game, Fractions War. The development of this project illustrates how using video games as research tools can create unique opportunities for educational neuroscientists to connect in-lab research to real-world learning.

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Fu Yu Kwok

Fu Yu Kwok is a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Her doctoral research elucidated the underlying neural mechanisms of dyslexia in children with the use of novel neuroimaging methods, providing evidence of a cerebro-cerebellar network. Fu Yu is a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the IMBES exceptional trainee award, and the Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship.

An Educational Neuroscience Approach Towards Understanding Dyslexia Holistically

Studies have been examining the role of verbal working memory (VWM) in a wide spectrum of cognitive tasks, including reading. However, research on the validity of VWM deficit have been mixed. The present study found that the functional connectivity network evoked by a Sternberg VWM task performed in the MRI Scanner differed between children with dyslexia and their age-matched typically developing (TD) peers. These findings pave the way for both the postulation of a new theory of dyslexia as well as the development of more targeted intervention methodologies to alleviate the difficulties faced by children with dyslexia.

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Gabriela Meade

Meade is a doctoral student in Language and Communicative Disorders in San Diego, where she is also pursuing certification in speech-language pathology. This dual training enables her to approach word learning from an interdisciplinary perspective and to develop a research program that has scientific merit and leads to educational and clinical applications.

Investigating Word Learning in Young Adults from a Mind, Brain, and Education Perspective

Research on word learning has implications for teaching vocabulary in the classroom, but this connection has yet to be explored in depth. Meade’s research uses event-related potentials to better understand how new visual words are learned and processed by the brain. The overarching question is: How does the linguistic system that young adults have developed in their native language help (or hurt) second language learning and what instructional strategies maximize these benefits? In her talk, she will briefly describe her preliminary work in this area, the ways in which it is influenced by MBE, and the challenges that she sees moving forward.

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For More Information

Learn more about the Trainee Board and follow IMBES on Facebook and Twitter.

For questions about the preconference, please email the IMBES Trainee Board at

The 2018 IMBES Preconference sponsored by the Jacobs Foundation.

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