Huttenlocher Lecturer – 2023 Congress
University of Pittsburgh
Beatriz Luna, PhD is the Distinguished Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the founder and Director of the Laboratory for Neurocognitive Development, the founder and acting past president of the Flux Society for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and Editor and Chief of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.
Dr. Luna investigates the neurobiological mechanisms that support the transition from adolescence to adulthood when lifetime trajectories are determined to inform basic processes of normative development and plasticity that can inform abnormal trajectories such as in mental illness. Her group uses multimodal neuroimaging including fMRI, DTI, MEG, 7T MRSI, PET, EEG, sEEG, and MEG. Her influential models of adolescent development illustrate a period of unique access to adult level cognition within heightened motivation propelling specialization. She is highly published and has received numerous awards including the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring, and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. Her research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health and has informed US Supreme Court briefs regarding extended sentencing in the juvenile justice system.
The Flux community honors Dr. Peter Huttenlocher’s distinguished and pioneering contributions to the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience by establishing the Huttenlocher Lecture, which is awarded to an outstanding researcher in the field each year. Dr. Huttenlocher was a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist who is considered one of the fathers of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.
His prolific body of work using histological approaches began in the 1970’s culminating with groundbreaking publications in the 90’s describing the protracted and hierarchical nature of synaptic pruning in the human brain occurring earliest in the occipital lobe and latest in the frontal lobe. These findings, suggesting a mechanism for ongoing neural plasticity through adolescence into young adulthood, has had great impact not only in developmental science and clinical medicine, but also in the realms of education and law.
In addition to his extraordinary impact on the world of developmental cognitive neuroscience, Dr. Huttenlocher made remarkable contributions to his clinical discipline – pediatric neurology – as a physician, teacher, scientist, and mentor.
The Huttenlocher Award reflects transformative contributions to the field that inspires future generations of researchers through unique insights about developmental cognitive neuroscience. The award winner receives complimentary registration and a 60-minute presentation slot at the next Flux Congress.
Eligibility criteria: Scientists eligible for this award will have been working in the area of developmental cognitive neuroscience for at least 20 years following their terminal degree.
The Flux Board will make the final determination on the winner of the Huttenlocher Award each year.
- Short paragraph justifying nomination: The nomination should be a few sentences describing why this person has been a pioneer or foundational member in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience
- Three papers: Include three papers that should be emphasized in the evaluation
Past Huttenlocher Lecturers
Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Tier 1 Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She helped found the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience.
Her specialty is the rigorous study of executive functions (EFs) in children. She’s been doing that for 40 years. EFs include focused attention, creative problem-solving, self-control, and working memory. Adele studies how EFs are affected by biological factors (such as genes and neurochemistry) and by environmental ones (e.g., impaired by stress or improved by interventions).
Her work has consistently been marked by innovation and crossing disciplinary boundaries. Her discoveries have thrice changed international medical guidelines for the treatment of diseases and have had a significant impact on educational practice worldwide, improving millions of children’s lives. Adele has often broken new ground (e.g., demonstrating one of the first links between cognitive development and brain function, identifying the biological mechanism causing executive function deficits in children treated for PKU, and changing the way we think about stress).
Adele is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, was named one of the “2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century,” and was listed as one of the 15 most influential neuroscientists alive today. Her other awards include an Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society plus two honorary degrees. She has given roughly 600 invited addresses in over 40 countries across 6 continents, including at the White House and to the Dalai Lama.
Adele was educated at Swarthmore College (BA, Phi Beta Kappa, in Sociology-Anthropology and Psychology), Harvard University (PhD in Developmental Psychology), and Yale Medical School (Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience).
One-on-One Interview with Adele Diamond (June 2022)
Dr. Diamond was pivotal in the creation of the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience, having demonstrated the role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the development of executive functions (EFs) beginning in infancy. As Dr. Diamond describes, EFs “include skills like exercising self-control, inhibiting distraction to stay focused, flexibly adjusting to change or the unexpected, and creatively seeing things from different perspectives. These make it possible to think before we act, resist temptations, creatively problem-solve, and succeed when faced with difficult challenges.” Dr. Diamond organized the seminal conference, called The Development and Neural Basis of Higher Cognitive Functions, that jump-started our field, facilitating collaborations between leading developmental psychologists, neuroscientists, and cognitive scientists.
Dr. Diamond’s journey to neuroscience took many turns. “I never imagined I would be a neuroscientist,” she says, “I had no interest in science and certainly no intention to go into neuroscience. My interests were in people’s stories and their reasons for what they did, in understanding the world through their eyes, in social and cultural influences on thought and action, and social justice.”
2021 Congress: Prof.Dr.Dr. h.c.Angela D. Friederici, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
2020 Congress: Dr. John Gabrieli, Investigator, McGovern Institute, Grover Hermann Professor, Health Sciences and Technology; Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences
2019 Congress: BJ Casey, Fundamentals of the Adolescent Brain (FAB) Lab, Yale University – The Rockefeller University
2018 Congress: Uta Frith, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London
2017 Congress: Linda Spear Ph.D. University of Florida
Watch the Lecture
2016 Congress: Michael Posner Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Oregon, USA Adjunct Professor at Weill Medical College
2015 Congress: Mark H Johnson
Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, UK
2013 Congress: David A. Lewis
Chairman, Department of Psychiatry
UPMC Endowed Professor in Translational Neuroscience
Medical Director and Director of Research
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
Director Translational Neuroscience Program
Director NIMH Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders
University of Pittsburgh, USA