ESF Research Conferences

ESF Research Conference


Chaired by

University College LondonPsychology/Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceVisual Development UnitLondonUnited Kingdom

Co Chairs:

Oliver Braddick, University of Oxford, UK
Giorgio Innocenti, Karolinska Institute, SE



20-25 September 2009


Hotel Eden Roc, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain
The conference will take place in Sant Feliu de Guixols, on the Spanish Costa Brava, 120 km north of Barcelona and 30 km south of Girona. Group transportation will be arranged from/to Barcelona airport, on arrival and departure days.

Practical Information Guide PDF (195 KB)

Preliminary programme

How does the genome, interacting with the multi-faceted environment, translate into the development by which the human brain achieves its astonishing, adaptive array of cognitive and behavioural capacities? Why and how does this process sometimes lead to neurodevelopmental disorders with a major, lifelong personal and social impact? These are central and intrinsically interdisciplinary problems of human development which can only be understood by a concerted effort of neurobiologists, geneticists, psychologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, cognitive and computational scientists. Key information on the constraints on brain development will come from genetic conditions which lead to anomalies of brain and cognitive development (e.g. autism, Williams syndrome and specific language impairment). In turn, insights on broader questions of brain development will inform treatment and remediation of these disorders.
Advances in molecular genetics have made it possible to work with animal models of normal and anomalous brain development at every level from gene expression through brain anatomy to behaviour. Neurobiologists have exploited these tools to advance classic questions of the determinants and plasticity of developing brain structure. However, these models can only give insights on human development if we can adequately characterise human developmental phenotypes at anatomical, functional and behavioural/cognitive levels. The last decade has seen great advances in neuroimaging techniques (MRI, high-density EEG, MEG) which make possible non-invasive measurements of the human brain in unprecedented detail, and these methods are starting to be applied to developing children. 

The topic of this meeting lies at the intersection between genetics, neurobiology, medicine, developmental neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience and engineering. The new advances require the specific technical expertise of neuroscientists, molecular geneticists and neuroimaging centres.  Those working in these areas will need to understand theories, methods and insights in human cognitive development, and conversely cognitive and developmental psychologists and neuroscientists will need to appreciate the possibilities, limitations and issues of interpretation in the new biological technologies. Finally, the opportunities in relation to developmental disorders will only be realised through intellectual and practical interchange with medical specialists in neuropsychiatry and pediatric neurology.  
A key requirement in achieving these goals is that in all these fields, young scientists’ training should include an understanding of the other disciplines, and this is a primary goal of this symposium. The meeting aims to draw on European and North American expertise to add value to the quality of European research in the currently separate disciplines.

To develop this synthesis, and in particular to provide and train young researchers with an interdisciplinary perspective, the meeting will draw on a linked range of topics:

  • Genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders and animal models with genetic modifications (e.g. knock-outs)
  • Biology of neuronal organisation and connectivity in the developing brain
  • Infant cognitive and sensorimotor development and its relation to developing brain mechanisms
  • Cognitive and sensorimotor characteristics of specific neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neuroimaging and neurophysiology of function in normal and atypical development

Final Programme with Posters List PDF (363 KB) Last updated 9 September 2009
List of Invited Speakers and Accepted Participants

Group Transportation

Buses will be arranged on arrival and departure day between Barcelona airport  and the hotel. The journey takes approximately 1,5 hours. Please make your travel arrangements in advance: it is advisable to book flights and trains which arrive the morning of 20 September and depart early afternoon on 25 Spetember.

Bus departure times on Sunday 20 September

Bus 1 -  From Barcelona Airport: 16:00
Bus 2 -  From Barcelona Airport: 18:00

Airport departure point
The buses will wait in the special bus parking area located just in front of Terminal 2-A (formerly called Terminal A). Each bus has been requested to be at the meeting point 20 minutes before scheduled departure. The buses will
have an “ESF Research Conferences” sign in the window.

Note: To go between terminal 1 and terminal 2, you must take the airport shuttle bus.

List of airlines by arrival/departure terminal

Bus departure times on Friday 25 September: 8:30.

We kindly ask you to fill out an online form in order to book a seat on the bus! It takes 2 minutes, thanks for you collaboration.


Single accommodation can be guaranteed for invited speakers. All other participants will share TWIN rooms. If single rooms become available for participants, they will be attributed on a "first come, first served" basis. Please email to the Conference Officer to be put on the single room waiting list. If you are bringing a guest and need to be accommodated in a double room, please also let her know without delay. Thanks

Registration Form

All accepted participants - including speakers & session chairs - are kindly expected to confirm their attendance (and, when applicable, to pay the conference fee) by filling in a Registration Form.
Closing date for registration & fee payment: 23 August 2009

What conference fee covers

Basic expenses comprise:

  • registration and meeting costs;
  • accommodation in twin room sharing with another participant;
  • all meals, coffee breaks and drinks included;
  • participation at the excursion and the conference dinner;
  • group transportation from/to the nearest airport.
To Pay
Conference fee will be covered by ESF and its partners0 €
AssistedConference Fee will be partially covered by ESF and its partners375 €
Early Bird
Registration and payment by August 9
700 €
Registration and payment within the registration deadline, August 23
800 €
Conference participation without accommodation550 €

Extra costs:

To Pay
Industry Supplement
For participants working in industry, 100 € will automatically be added to the fee
Plus 100 €
Single Room SupplementSome single rooms may be available upon request. An additional cost of 150 € will be charged for an upgrade to a single room. The supplement is payable directly to the hotel.Plus 150 €
Late Registration SupplementAn additional 150 € will be charged if participants register after the official registration deadline, August 23.Plus 150 €


Should you need to cancel your participation, please contact the Conference Officer immediately. If notice of cancellation is received more than two weeks before the conference, all but EUR 100 will be reimbursed. No refund is possible if notice of cancellation is received less than two weeks before the conference.

ESF Contact

Conference Officer

Phone: +32 (0)2 533 2023
Fax: +32 (0)2 538 8486
Please quote 09-292 in any correspondence.