Invited speakers

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta

Harvard University / New York University

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at New York University. In their research, Dr. Blanco-Elorrieta combines insights from monolingual and multilingual individuals, who process language through speech or sign, to inform an inclusive and comprehensive neurobiology of language. The goal is to identify the core components and principles under which the language system operates by identifying the processes that remain constant in the face of what could seem like very different linguistic experiences. Dr. Blanco-Elorrieta's research combines data from neuroimaging, computational and behavioral methods and takes the most naturalistic approach possible to inform theories that can not only account for laboratory based experiments but rather capture the multifaceted and socially influenced experience of what it means to communicate in the real world.

Dr. Blanco-Elorrieta obtained their PhD from New York University, where they worked at the Neuroscience of Language lab under Liina Pylkkänen's supervision, and completed their post-doctoral training at Harvard University with Alfonso Caramazza. In 2019, Dr. Blanco-Elorrieta was recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 scientist.

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Marco Calabria

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

I got my degree in Psychology in 2002 at the University of Padua (Italy). In 2003 I joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory in Brescia (Italy) where I have been working as a clinical neuropsychologist and, at the same time, collaborating on projects that investigated language deficits in patients with Frontotemporal dementia and the use of brain stimulation as a rehabilitation tool for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
From 2006 to 2009, I did my PhD in Psychobiology at the University of Padua (Italy) focussing on the neurophysiological components of semantic and episodic memory in elderly.
In 2009, I joined the Speech Production and Bilingualism (SPB) at the Center for Brain and Cognition (Pompeu Fabra University). From 2009 on my research interests are focused on the study of word production, non-linguistic control processes in brain-damaged (post-stroke and neurodegenerative diseases) individuals with a special emphasis on bilingual speakers, and on bilingualism as a contributor to cognitive reserve in dementia. In 2010 I was awarded the ‘Juan de la Cierva’ post-doctoral fellowship and in 2014 the ‘Ramón y Cajal’ fellowship from the Spanish Government.
Since December 2019, I am an Associate Professor of the Master in Neuropsychology at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and member of Cognitive NeuroLab.

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Judit Gervain

Universitá degli Studi di Padova

Judit Gervain is a Full Professor at the Department of Developmental and Social Psychology of the University of Padua, Italy as well as a Senior Research Scientist at the CNRS, Paris, France. She is trained as a theoretical linguist, obtained a PhD in 2002 in Cognitive Neuroscience under the mentorship of Jacques Mehler from SISSA, Trieste, Italy. She then worked as a post doctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. In 2009, she took up a research position at the CNRS, in Paris, France, from which she moved to the University of Padua in 2020. Her research focuses early speech perception and language acquisition in typically developing monolingual, bilingual infants as well as in infants with hearing impairment. She uses behavioral and brain imaging techniques to explore the perceptual and language as well as their neural correlates. Her work has been published in leading journals, such as Science Advances, Nature Communications, PNAS and Current Biology. She is an associate editor at Developmental Science, Cognition and Neurophotonics. Her work is currently funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant.

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Balthasar Bickel

University of Zurich

Balthasar Bickel is Professor of General Linguistics in the Department of Comparative Language Science at the University of Zurich and Director of Switzerland's National Research Center on Evolving Language. He uses experimental and data-science methods across languages and species to uncover the cultural and biological forces that determine how languages evolve, how they are processed, and how they are acquired.

Balthasar Bickel got his graduate training in the Cognitive Anthropology group at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and received his PhD in 1997 from the University of Zurich. After postdocs in Mainz and Berkeley and an assistant professorship in Zurich, he became a professor of linguistic typology at the University of Leipzig in 2002, and then moved to Zurich in 2011.

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