Past event

Saints Talk: Dr Silva Paracchini From genes to brains: multidisciplinary approaches to understand dyslexia and specific learning difficulties

The next instalment in Development's Saints Talk series features Dr Silvia Paracchini.

Approximately one out of every ten children encounters difficulties in learning to read, even when provided with an adequate learning environment and without any other cognitive or sensory impairments. Research indicates that having family members with the same condition is the most significant risk factor, suggesting a genetic basis for dyslexia.

Thanks to the utilization of big data and international collaborations on a large scale, significant progress has been made in identifying the genetic factors associated with dyslexia. This has led to the resolution of longstanding inquiries within the field.

In this talk, Silvia will provide an overview of the latest cutting-edge approaches and findings in the realm of dyslexia genetics. She will delve into related subjects, such as the co-occurrence of dyslexia with other conditions and the potential link between dyslexia and left-handedness. By exploring these facets, the aim is to enhance our understanding of dyslexia and its multifaceted implications.

Silvia completed her undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of Pavia and earned her DPhil in Human Genetics from Oxford University in 2003. It was during her postdoctoral training in the research group led by Professor Anthony Monaco at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics that she developed a deep interest in dyslexia genetics.

Dr Paracchini was awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2011. This opportunity allowed her to establish her own research group at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she currently serves as the co-Director of the Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences (IBANS).

Throughout her career, Silvia has gained recognition for her significant contributions to the field. In 2013, she was elected as a member of the Young Academy of Scotland (YAS), followed by the election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) in 2018, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 2019.

In 2022, she founded the Specific Learning Difficulties Network (SLDN), a multidisciplinary initiative aimed at coordinating research efforts related to dyslexia and dyscalculia. The network also strives to raise awareness about these conditions and their impact on individuals.

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