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Janina Neufeld

Forskarassistent

Institution och organisatorisk tillhörighet:

Om mig

I studied Biology with a main focus on Neurobiology, conducting my PhD and postdoctoral studies in the field of Human Neuroscience. Methodologically my core interests are Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Eye-Tracking, Electromyography and Psychophysics.

Currently, I am Assistant Professor (FoAss) at the Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet (KIND).

Forskningsbeskrivning

My research focuses mainly on brain connectivity and sensory processing in individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and in relation to ASC-related symptoms. My second main research focus area is synesthesia, a non-pathological sensory condition where specific sensory inputs like sounds, letters, weekdays, smells etc. automatically lead to additional sensations, such as colors or shapes.

Since 2019, I am running a research project on the link between synesthesia and ASC (primarily funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). Synesthesia occurs more commonly in people with ASC, but the reason for this is unknown. In a large twin cohort from The Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS) and in collaboration with Paul Lichtenstein’s group at Karolinska Institutet, I am investigating the genetic and environmental contributions to synesthesia and its association with ASC. My group is further investigating brain connectivity and sensory processing in people synesthesia and people with ASC in order to identify similarities and differences between the two conditions within these domains. Importantly, synesthesia has been shown to have beneficial effects on memory and might play a role in the etiology of extraordinary talents (savant skills) in people with ASC. Hence, studying the two conditions in conjunction might also help us to understand more about how extraordinary talents develop in people with ASC.

Additionally, I am involved in the Roots of Autism and ADHD Twin Study in Sweden (RATSS), which aims to identify reliable biomarkers and correlates of ASC. Within RATSS, I am focusing mainly on brain connectivity and sensory processing including globally vs locally directed attention in visual processing and hyper- and hyposensitivity to sensory input and am further contributing to research on brain structure, social cognition, gut microbiota and inflammation markers in cerebrospinal fluid.

Utbildning

Post-doctoral training 2014-2018, Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Karolinska Institutet (KIND) at the Department of Women's and Children's Health (KBH), K6

Post-doctoral training 2012-2014, Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) / School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

PhD 2008-2012, Center for Systems Neuroscience Hannover (ZSN) / Hannover Medical School (MHH), Clinic of Psychiatry, Socialpsychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hanover, Germany

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