Leonora caught up with Silvia and Michelle who are behind a brilliant project led by the University of St Andrews to help people understand the actual genetic basis of learning differences. They’re bringing together parents, professionals and children with a SEN to find out as much information as they can to feed their research.

Please do get in touch with them if this resonates with you.

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Boost for dyslexia research

A project, led by the University of St Andrews, which will help understand the genetic basis of dyslexia and learning difficulties has been awarded a grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Part of the RSE Workshop Grants, the funding will support the organisation of a major workshop in the Summer of 2022 to bring together researchers from different disciplines who are united by a common interest in learning disorders such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and language difficulties.

An important component of the workshop will be dialogue with families, teachers and charities to understand how research can address the priorities of individuals with direct experiences of learning disorders.

About Silvia Paracchini, FRSE

Silvia graduated in Biological Sciences (cum laude) from the University of Pavia in 1998 and obtained a DPhil in Human Genetics from Oxford University in 2003. She conducted her post-doctoral training in Prof. Anthony Monaco’s group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford University where Silvia became interested in dyslexia genetics.

In 2011, she was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to set up my group at The University of St Andrews. In 2013, Silvia became a member of the Young Academy of Scotland and then was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB; 2018) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE; 2019).

Silvia is currently the co-director of the Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences and of the MSc in Digital Health. Recently, she has started a collaboration with Canon Medical Research Europe to develop deep learning methods applied to genomic data.

About Dr Michelle Luciano

Dr Luciano is a Reader in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the genetic and environmental aetiology underlying human development and behaviour.

One of her main research interests is to understand what causes the variation between people in how well they read and use language, and to do this, she uses behavioural genetic research methods. These methods include twin and extended pedigree designs, molecular genetic techniques, epigenetic, and gene x environment interaction modelling. She has most recently led an international collaboration which has discovered significant genes associated with dyslexia.

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