Pre-Conference Workshops

September 7, 2023

The Developmental Neuroscience Cycle: from Research Design to Societal Impact

Workshop Organizers:

Societal Impact:

Dr. Michelle Achterberg, Dr. Lara Wierenga, Dr. Karlijn Hermans, Dr. Mara van der Meulen, Simone Dobbelaar, Lina van Drunen, 

Longitudinal Modelling:

Dr. Ethan McCormick, Dr. Kathryn Mills, Dr. Michelle Byrne, Dr. John Flournoy, Niamh MacSweeney, Landry Huffman, & Sanne Kellij

When conducting developmental neuroscience research, we all face similar challenges, but these difficulties are rarely reflected in our scientific papers. Questions such as, how to balance between the perfect research design and feasibility? How to manage the data in such a way that it is open and safe? Which longitudinal models and statistical approaches are best suitable to answer our developmental research questions? How to translate science to a broader public without being too unnuanced? Pre-pandemically, these kinds of experiences were sometimes shared at the coffee machine or during lunch, but in current times we often have to solve these challenges in solitude.

During this one-day preconference workshop, we want to reflect upon several challenges (and opportunities!) that we have experienced in running longitudinal studies. Together with the Flux community, we want to have interactive discussions on what practical, logistical, and creative solutions we as developmental neuroscientists have for the challenges we concur in our research field. Moreover, we want to map out which challenges are unsolved and might benefit from the joint commitment of the entire flux community.

In the morning session (09:00 – 12:30), we will start the day by discussing optimal research designs, where we will share our experiences with the unique L-CID design, (a longitudinal, neuroimaging, randomized controlled intervention, developmental twin study) and include methodological considerations surrounding the impact that specific choices in the research design have for future statistical analyses. Next, we discuss lessons learned on running a longitudinal study with annual visits and share and collect tips and tricks to reduce dropout. Third, we will discuss our road to open science, and the challenges we are currently experiencing.

In the afternoon session (14:00 – 16:30), we will have two parallel sessions.

An interactive workshop where we will discuss how we can make societal impacts with our nuanced fundamental neuroimaging findings and an in-depth workshop on longitudinal modelling.

The societal impact workshop will offer participants the opportunity to learn about and experience creative methods to contribute to societal impact with fundamental research findings. The L-CID team will first briefly share experiences with a variety of outreach projects and on how to select the optimal method for each societal impact goal. The main part of the workshop will be interactive, in which participants will be working on assignments as a team in order to experience novel methods that the L-CID team has developed over the last year. The goal is that these methods inspire your own project’s societal impact ambitions. The workshop will end with an in-depth discussion on any pitfalls related to societal impact with fundamental research, encouraging participants to share creative solutions and best practices.

The longitudinal modelling workshop will focus on advanced applications for longitudinal models, moving beyond the defaults of canonical growth models. Topics will include assessing nonlinearities in development while avoiding overfitting, distinctions between time-varying covariate and multivariate models, understanding the consequences of development, detecting sensitive periods, and linking intensive longitudinal data (e.g., EMA or physiology data) with panel data. We aim to provide three key resources to attendees: 1) A heuristic decision tree to guide model selection in longitudinal modeling, by drawing specific contrasts between methods (e.g., mixed-effects vs. structural equation models), and highlighting the relative strengths and weaknesses of different modeling frameworks in a variety of research contexts. 2) A bibliography of primary-source empirical and methodological work that covers the foundations and applications of different longitudinal models, providing a resource to enable future learning. 3) Open-source code that enables readers a hands-on and practical experience of fitting, interpreting, and displaying longitudinal models with freely-available data.

The ultimate goal of this pre-conference workshop is to provide an open-space to share best practices from developmental neuroscience projects, have a transparent discussion on the challenges and opportunities that our research field holds, and equip attendees with cutting-edge methodological training in advanced modeling frameworks for longitudinal data.


Cost (full-day): $30

Availability: Add on when registering to attend the Flux Congress (limited availability)

Universite Paris Cite
Campus Saint-Germain-des-Prés
45 rue des Saints-Peres

75006 Paris