Past APS Board Member Annette Karmiloff-Smith, a world-renowned developmental and cognitive neuroscientist, passed away Dec. 19, 2016 after a long illness.
Karmiloff-Smith served on the Board for 3 years beginning in May of 2013 and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Integrative Science Initiative, which developed the biennial International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS).
“Annette was a true force of nature,” said APS Executive Director Sarah Brookhart. “We benefitted enormously from her leadership on the Board and in so many other activities. We have lost a dear colleague and friend.”
A Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London, Karmiloff-Smith was an expert on neurodevelopmental disorders. She discussed her research career, including her years studying under the guidance of Jean Piaget, in a 2014 interview for the APS video series Inside the Psychologist’s Studio.
Before moving to the Centre, Karmiloff-Smith was head of the Neurocognitive Development Unit at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, where she studied infants, children, and adolescents with Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and fragile X syndrome, across a wide variety of cognitive domains, as well as progressive developmental trajectories and the underlying cognitive processes that support them in typical development.
Karmiloff-Smith’s research found that disorders such as Williams and Down syndromes are not manifestations of damage to specific brain areas in an otherwise intact typical brain. Instead, she believed that early atypical processing has an impact on many regions, and that interactions across brain regions give rise to different developmental trajectories of brain development.
In her most recent research, she examined the risk and protective factors for adult Alzheimer’s disease at the genetic, cellular, neural, cognitive, and environmental levels in infants with Down syndrome.
Look for a collection of remembrances in a future issue of the Observer.