Duchess of Cambridge to Visit UCL Development Neuroscience Lab

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The Duchess of Cambridge arriving at MUDAM (Musze d'Art Moderne) during a day of visits in Luxembourg, 2017


UCL, London

Wednesday 21st November, 2018

The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Professor Eamon McCrory, Co-Director of the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit in the Psychology & Language Sciences Division at UCL, on Wednesday 21st November.

During the visit, The Duchess will learn more about the Unit’s neuroscience research into how environment and biology interact to shape the way in which children develop both socially and emotionally. The Unit aims to better understand the factors that contribute to healthy development, as well as those that are linked to the emergence of behavioural and emotional problems in children. Research into developmental risk and resilience has scope to inform professionals and policy makers in ways that can improve the lives of children and families.

One of The Duchess’ key areas of interest is championing the importance of providing solid social and emotional foundations for children to support their development and emotional resilience as infants, setting them on the best possible pathway for a happy and healthy adulthood. Earlier this year, Her Royal Highness set up a steering group made up of practitioners and academics from a range of disciplines, including neuroscience, mental health, nursing, perinatal care and education. This group has met several times to discuss what can be done to make a positive difference to the lives of children by focusing on their earliest stage of life, from pre-birth to infancy.

During her visit, The Duchess will be shown the Unit’s MRI Scanning Facility to learn about UCL’s groundbreaking research on how early experience shapes brain function. Her Royal Highness will be shown how the scanner is used to study the brain, and will see the resulting images that allow scientists to see differences in brain structure and function. The Duchess will hear from members of Professor McCrory’s neuroscience research team about how they work closely with children and families to shed new light on resilience following early adversity. Her Royal Highness will then join a roundtable meeting with leading researchers and students to learn about the wider ambition for developmental neuroscience.

UCL is conducting world-leading neuroscience research into the critical importance of the early years, and developing new treatments and ways of supporting children and parents. Its work includes a focus on the early parent-infant bond and how it develops; on neural plasticity (the extraordinary ability of the brain to adapt in the early years); and how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of conduct problems. This important work is helping to inform our understanding of early childhood development, providing new insights to radically reshape policy and practice in education and health, and to promote child well-being.

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