Benasich, April A.
Ph.D., New York University, 1987
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Arts and Sciences, Newark; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, specifically early neural processes necessary for normal cognitive and language development, Language Learning Impairments.
Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Neural Bases of Cognitive Development, Topics in Brain-Behavior Relations.
Memberships and Professional Service
Member of Society for Neuroscience, Society for Cognitive Neuroscience, Society for Research in Child Development, International Society for Infant Studies, International Society for Behavioral Neuroscience (Executive Board 1996-1999; Member, Special Emphasis Panels, NIH (2003-2007); NSF, Cognitive Neuroscience Review Panel (2003, 2004); NAAR-Autism Speaks, Scientific Advisory Board (2006); University of Medicine & Dentistry/New Jersey Medical School--Institutional Review Board, (2004- 2007).
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Principal Investigator, NIH/NICHD, " Infant Perceptual Abilities as Cognitive Precursors," 1994-2006; Investigator, Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, NSF, 2006-2008; Principal Investigator: Solomon Center for Neurodevelopmental Research, 2000-2008; Principal Investigator, Carter Foundation Initiative, “Investigating the Neural-Cognitive Substrates of Holoprosencephaly”, 1998-2008; Principal Investigator, Santa Fe Institute Consortium, "Increasing Human Potential," 2002-2005; Rutgers University Board of Trustees Excellence in Research Award, 2003.
Academic Interests and Plans
I have been studying development of temporally-bounded sensory information processing, shown to be a major predictor of language impairment and dyslexia in older children, in high risk (e.g. family history of language-based learning impairments) or neurologically impaired infants, the neural substrates that support these developing abilities and the relations seen with emerging language and cognitive abilities from infancy through early childhood. Examination of auditory evoked potentials (EEG/ERPs) and naturally sleeping structural MRIs provides converging noninvasive physiological measures to our extensive behavioral battery.
Additional studies address theoretical questions relating to electrocortical responses in normally as well as atypically developing brains. All of the prospective, longitudinal research is conducted on children from 2 through 84 months. We have begun to apply unique analytic methodologies (e.g. independent components analysis and coherence and directed coherence analytic techniques) to increase the amount of information that might be gained from these innovative techniques.