Teaching Brain Research
Advancing the Science of Teachers as Learners
Vanessa Rodriguez (she/her) is an accomplished educator, with more than a decade of teaching experience in K–12 and higher education settings. She has taught courses at New York University, Hunter College, and Harvard University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
Dr. Rodriguez has a long-standing commitment to the study of teaching, with the aim of supporting teachers' transformative SEL and wellbeing, and co-creating the equitable systems that they deserve. Driven by her personal experiences as a teacher, she uses a variety of humanizing, equity-centered research methods (e.g., cognitive interviews, co-constructed surveys, critical race spatial analysis) to better understand teachers' identities and developmental processes. She has written numerous publications for teachers, won prestigious awards for teaching, and spoken widely on teaching for a broad range of audiences. In 2014, she released her book, The Teaching Brain.
Shana DeVlieger (she/her) is a former public elementary school teacher and current research associate in the Department of Population Health, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She earned her MAT in urban education from the University of Southern California, her EdM in human development and psychology from Harvard University, and her PhD training in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. DeVlieger specializes in critical qualitative research and utilizes critical whiteness studies and developmental frameworks with the aim of promoting teacher wellbeing, equitable teaching practice, and empowering teacher-child relationships. She has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses for preservice teachers, and continues to publish scholarship in the area of teacher education.
Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning
Dr. Souto-Manning is a leading researcher in the field of early childhood education and development. She was recently elected as the president of the Erickson Institute. As a member of Columbia Teachers College’s faculty, Souto-Manning served as director of numerous College academic programs, including Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and the doctoral program in Curriculum & Teaching. Throughout her scholarship, teaching and engagement, Souto-Manning’s award-winning work is focused on justice, equity, inclusion and belonging in early childhood teaching and teacher education.
Dr. Fabienne Doucet
Dr. Doucet is the Executive Director of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education and Urban Education in the department of Teaching and Learning at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, Institute for Human Development and Social Change, and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Doucet has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from UNC-Greensboro and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation.
Dr. Laurie Brotman
Dr. Laurie Miller Brotman is the Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development and professor of population health and psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. She is the director of the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center and the developer of ParentCorps. ParentCorps transforms the pre-K experience in historically divested neighborhoods by supporting schools to partner with families. ParentCorps is committed to engaging in courageous conversations about race and interrogating white supremacy.
Dr. Kurt Fisher (In Memoriam)
Leading an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education, the late Dr. Fischer was founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and founding editor of the new journal Mind, Brain, and Education. He had a prolific career studying cognitive and emotional development and learning from birth through adulthood, combining analysis of the commonalities across people with the diversity of pathways of learning and development. His work focused on the organization of behavior and the ways it changes, especially with development, learning, emotion, and culture. In Dynamic Skill Theory, he provided a single framework to analyze how organismic and environmental factors contribute to the rich variety of developmental change and learning across and within people. His research included students’ learning and problem solving, brain development, concepts of self in relationships, cultural contributions to social-cognitive development, early reading skills, emotions, child abuse, and brain development.
Dr. Bryan Mascio
Dr. Mascio is committed to understanding the complex, dynamic system of teaching through cognitive approaches, in order to further effective teacher education efforts. A veteran teacher in alternative school settings, he taught science and humanities, and created innovative international learning opportunities for students. As an adjunct instructor, he also spearheaded a transition program to increase access to resources and success for first-generation college students. He earned his doctorate in the Human Development and Education concentration at Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is now a professor at the University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Lynneth Solis
Formerly, Dr. Solis supported the Teaching Brain team with her knowledge of developmental cognitive research and qualitative methods to understand the complex phenomenon of teaching. She is a graduate of the Mind, Brain, and Education Ed.M and Human Development and Education doctoral program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on conceptual development: the cognitive processes that lead students to evermore complex conceptions of phenomena in the world. She also conducts research for the Understandings of Consequence Lab that explores how students learn and understand complex causal models in science education.
Dr. Chen Chen
Dr. Chen helped the Teaching Brain team develop novel ways to understand and analyze how the skill of teaching develops. As a Doctoral Student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he utilized behavioral and cognitive neuro-scientific methods to explore his four-part research agenda: 1) Metaphor, Model and Mind, 2) Reading Ability and Difficulty, 3) Math Cognition, and 4) From Governing A Classroom to Parenting A Country
Dr. Laura Edwards
Formerly, Laura supported the Teaching Brain team with her enthusiasm and expertise in neuroscience and neuro-imaging. Her research has focused primarily on how children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) learn, at neural and behavioral levels. Specifically, she has used fNIRS neuro-imaging techniques to measure brain activity, along with eye tracking and behavioral measures, to explore what neuro-typical and neuro-diverse children may be learning through imitation.