(May 13th, at 11 am CST - click for your local time)
Livio Provenzi is a Ph.D. psychologist and a researcher in developmental psychobiology. His research projects integrate methodologies from infant research, neuroendocrinology, and behavioral epigenetics to understand how the early caregiving environment associates with cognitive, social, and emotional development in healthy and at-risk infants.
About this session:
Why does experience matter? Epigenetics: what it is, why we must care.
It is generally recognized that our early experiences are significant in shaping future developmental outcomes. Nowadays, advances in developmental psychobiology provide us with specific mechanisms - known as "epigenetics" - which may explain how early experiences get under the skin of developing infants and children.
In human infants, early experiences are mainly interactions with the caregivers. Therefore, parents play a vital role in the growth and development of human infants. In preterm infants, some of these early experiences can be altered by
(1) the exposure to a partial restriction of contact with the parents, and,
(2) the exposure to stressful and painful stimuli during the NICU stay.
I will review recent research that applied the epigenetics lens to the study of preterm infants' experiences in the NICU. I will discuss the implications of this research field with the participants for the quality of care during the NICU stay and after discharge.