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Dr Elena Kushnerenko

Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychology

Developmental Psychology Research Group

UEL Babylab Leader, EEG Lab Coordinator, Co-Leader of Developmental Psychology Research Group

    Elena is an internationally recognised expert in the field of infant auditory ERPs and developmental changes in brain responses to auditory stimulation. Main research interests are development of language and attention and associated learning difficulties, stress and anxiety in children, auditory processing disorder and audiovisual processing and integration.


    Elena  completed PhD in 2003 at the Cognitive Brain Research Unit, University of Helsinki under the supervision of Academy Professor Risto Naatanen and Dr Rita Ceponiene and has been awarded Academy of Finland fellowship for independent research at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, where she has been working  in collaboration with Professors Gergely Csibra and Mark Johnson.

     Since 2007 Elena is in charge of EEG and Eye-tracking studies in babies and children at the UEL Babylab looking into development of language and attention and developing collaborations with UK and international Babylabs.

    Member of CICERO Learning International Advisory Board

    Affiliated Scientist British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS)

    Member of Experimental Psychology Society

    Associate Fellow of British Psychological Society, Chartered Psychologist

    Overview

    Main research interests:

    Early brain development in infancy and childhood
    Developmental difficulties, ASD, ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder
    Audio-visual processing and integration
    Early language and attention development

    Early learning and pre-school education

    Stress and anxiety in children

    Methods:

    High-density EEG/ERP (EGI system)

    Eye-tracking   Acuity Ltd.

    ANS measures

    NIRS

    Behavioural assessments

    Projects:

    ELAS Phase 2:

    Early Language, Attention and Social Development Study, Phase 2 is run by PhD student Jolanta Golan.

    The ELAS study is looking at the development of attention, language and social development in babies. The study is based at UEL BABYLAB at the University of East London in Stratford. We need as many mums and babies to volunteer as possible so we can find out how babies develop these abilities. This study will provide important information that could help many more children reach their full potential.

     Please contact us for details and to book a session:

    020 8223 4951 or e-mail elas@uel.ac.uk  or use our web form

    ELAS Phase 1 was funded by Eranda Foundation and run with a team from former Institite for Research in Child Development:  Prof. Derek Moore, Dr Elena Kushnerenko, Dr Przemyslaw Tomalski, Dr Haiko Ballieux and Dr Dee Birtles in collaboration with Prof. Mark Johnson and Prof. Annette Karmiloff-Smith from CBCD (Birkbeck College).

    The use of visual cues during the processing of audiovisual speech is known to be less efficient in children and adults with language difficulties and difficulties are known to be more prevalent in children from low-income populations. In the present study, we followed an economically diverse group of thirty-seven infants longitudinally from 6-9 months to 14-16 months of age. We used eye-tracking to examine whether individual differences in visual attention during audiovisual processing of speech in 6 to 9 month old infants, particularly when processing congruent and incongruent auditory and visual speech cues, might be indicative of their later language development. Twenty-two of these 6-9 month old infants also participated in an event-related potential (ERP) audiovisual task within the same experimental session. Language development was then followed-up at the age of 14-16 months, using two measures of language development, the Preschool Language Scale (PLS) and the Oxford Communicative Development Inventory (CDI).

    Kushnerenko, Elena and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Ballieux, Haiko and Ribeiro, Helena and Potton, Anita and Axelsson, Emma L. and Murphy, Elizabeth and Moore, Derek G. (2013) ‘Brain responses to audiovisual speech mismatch in infants are associated with individual differences in looking behaviour’, European Journal of Neuroscience, 38(9), pp. 3363-3369. (10.1111/ejn.12317).

     

    Kushnerenko, Elena and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Ballieux, Haiko and Potton, Anita and Birtles, Deidre and Frostick, Caroline J. and Moore, Derek G. (2013) ‘Brain responses and looking behavior during audiovisual speech integration in infants predict auditory speech comprehension in the second year of life’, Frontiers in Psychology, 4(432).

     

    Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Moore, Derek G. and Ribeiro, Helena and Axelsson, Emma L. and Murphy, Elizabeth and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Johnson, Mark H. and Kushnerenko, Elena (2013) ‘Socioeconomic status and functional brain development - associations in early infancy’, Developmental Science, 16(5), pp. 676-687.

     

    iSTARS

    The project is funded by  Nuffield Foundation and run with a team from former Institite for Research in Child Development:  Prof. Derek Moore, Dr Elena Kushnerenko, Dr Przemyslaw Tomalski, Dr Haiko Ballieux and in collaboration with Dr Sam Wass,  Prof. Mark Johnson and Prof. Annette Karmiloff-Smith.

    Even in infancy, children from low SES backgrounds differ in frontal cortex functioning and, by the start of pre-school, they frequently show poor performance on executive functions including attention control. These differences may causally mediate later difficulties in academic learning. Here, we present a study to assess the feasibility of using computerized paradigms to train attention control in infants, delivered weekly over five sessions in Children’s Centres in East London, UK.

    Ballieux, Haiko and Wass, Sam V. and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Kushnerenko, Elena and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Johnson, Mark H. and Moore, Derek G. (2016) ‘Applying gaze-contingent training within community settings to infants from diverse SES backgrounds’, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, pp. 8-17. Item availability may be restricted.

     

    TALBY: Take a Look Baby! Study

    The aim of this study is to assess whether being able to clearly and immediately see where babies look during specific tasks engages parents from different socio-economic backgrounds in East London. We were working in children's centres in Tower Hamlets and Newham, where early language and social difficulties are highly prevalent, and administer a series of ‘candidate’ eye-tracking tasks to see how engaging this technology is for parents and professionals. We invited a sample of 200 parents and infants to attend a series of 'see what you baby can do’ days. The primary aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of the process in engaging parents, and the secondary aim was to determine whether 6-month data can predict individual differences at 24 months.

    The project was funded by Nuffield Foundation and run with a team from former Institite for Research in Child Development:  Prof. Derek Moore, Dr Elena Kushnerenko, Dr Przemyslaw Tomalski, Dr Haiko Ballieux and Dr Dee Birtles in collaboration with Prof. Mark Johnson and Prof. Annette Karmiloff-Smith from CBCD (Birkbeck College).

    Our partners include Newtech; Tower Hamlets Children's Services and Acuity Ltd.

    The above projects had a profound impact on East London society, encouraging families from low socio-economic class to take part in scientific activities and elicited a lot of publicity on BBC-4 Radio and in local newspapers.

    Ballieux, Haiko and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Kushnerenko, Elena and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Moore, Derek G. (2015) ‘Feasibility of Undertaking Off-Site Infant Eye-Tracking Assessments of Neuro-Cognitive Functioning in Early-Intervention Centres’, Infant and Child Development (10.1002/icd.1914).

     

     

     




    Collaborators

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    Research

     

    Ballieux, Haiko and Wass, Sam V. and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Kushnerenko, Elena and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Johnson, Mark H. and Moore, Derek G. (2016) ‘Applying gaze-contingent training within community settings to infants from diverse SES backgrounds’, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, pp. 8-17. Item availability may be restricted.

     

    Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Moore, Derek G. and Ballieux, Haiko and Kushnerenko, Elena and Johnson, Mark H. and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette (2016) ‘Separating the effects of ethnicity and socio-economic status on sleep practices of 6- to 7-month-old infants’, Learning and Individual Differences, In Press. Item availability may be restricted.

     

    Ballieux, Haiko and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Kushnerenko, Elena and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Moore, Derek G. (2015) ‘Feasibility of Undertaking Off-Site Infant Eye-Tracking Assessments of Neuro-Cognitive Functioning in Early-Intervention Centres’, Infant and Child Development (10.1002/icd.1914).

    van den Heuvel, Marion I. and Otte, Renée A. and Braeken, Marijke A.K.A. and Winkler, István and Kushnerenko, Elena and Van den Bergh, Bea R. H. (2015) ‘Differences between human auditory event-related potentials (AERP) measured at 2 and 4 months after birth’, International Journal of Psychophysiology, 97(1), pp. 75-83.

    Kushnerenko, Elena and Van Den Bergh, Bea R.H. and Winkler, István (2013) ‘Separating acoustic deviance from novelty during the first year of life: A review of event related potential evidence’, Frontiers in Psychology, 4(595).

     

    Kushnerenko, Elena and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Ballieux, Haiko and Ribeiro, Helena and Potton, Anita and Axelsson, Emma L. and Murphy, Elizabeth and Moore, Derek G. (2013) ‘Brain responses to audiovisual speech mismatch in infants are associated with individual differences in looking behaviour’, European Journal of Neuroscience, 38(9), pp. 3363-3369. (10.1111/ejn.12317).

     

     

    Kushnerenko, Elena and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Ballieux, Haiko and Potton, Anita and Birtles, Deidre and Frostick, Caroline J. and Moore, Derek G. (2013) ‘Brain responses and looking behavior during audiovisual speech integration in infants predict auditory speech comprehension in the second year of life’, Frontiers in Psychology, 4(432).

     

    Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Moore, Derek G. and Ribeiro, Helena and Axelsson, Emma L. and Murphy, Elizabeth and Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Johnson, Mark H. and Kushnerenko, Elena (2013) ‘Socioeconomic status and functional brain development - associations in early infancy’, Developmental Science, 16(5), pp. 676-687.

     

    Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Ribeiro, Helena and Ballieux, Haiko and Axelsson, Emma L. and Murphy, Elizabeth and Moore, Derek G. and Kushnerenko, Elena (2013) ‘Exploring early developmental changes in face scanning patterns during the perception of audiovisual mismatch of speech cues’, European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10(5), pp. 611-624.

     

    Guiraud, J.A., Tomalski, P. Kushnerenko, E., Ribeiro, H., Davies, K., Charman, T., Elsabbagh, M., Johnson, M.H. and the BASIS Team (2012)  Atypical audiovisual speech integration in infants at risk for autism. PLOSOne, 7(5):e36428. Epub 2012 May 15.

     

    Guiraud, Jeanne A. and Kushnerenko, Elena and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Davies, Kim and Ribeiro, Helena and Johnson, Mark H. (2011) ‘Differential habituation to repeated sounds in infants at high risk for autism’, NeuroReport, 22(16), pp. 845-849.

     

    Leipälä,J., Partanen, E., Kushnerenko, E., Huotilainen, M., Fellman, V. (2011) Perinatal cerebral insults alter auditory event-related potentials. Early Hum Dev. 87(2):89-95.

     

    Jansson-Verkasalo, E. and Ruusuvirta, T. and Huotilainen, M. and Alku, P. and Kushnerenko, Elena and Suominen, K. and Rytky, S. and Luotonen, M. and Kaukola, T. and Tolonen, U. and Hallman, M. (2010) ‘Atypical perceptual narrowing in prematurely born infants is associated with compromised language acquisition at 2 years of age’, BMC Neuroscience, 11(1), p. 88.

     

    Kushnerenko* E, Teinonen T, Volein A, Csibra G. Electrophysiological evidence of illusory audiovisual speech percept in human infants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 105(32):11442-5. Epub 2008 Aug 5.

     

    Kushnerenko*, E., Winkler, I., Horváth, J., Näätänen, R., Pavlov, I., Fellman, V, Huotilainen, M. (2007). Processing acoustic change and novelty in newborn infants. Eur J Neurosci 26(1):265-74

     

    Mikkola, K, Kushnerenko, E., Partanen, E., Serenius-Sirved, S., Leipäläa, J., Huotilainen, M., Fellman, V. (2007) Auditory event-related potentials and neurocognition of preterm children at five years of age. Clin Neurophysiol. 118(7):1494-502

     

    Sambeth, A., Huotilainen, M., Kushnerenko, E., Fellman, V., & Pihko, E. (2006). Newborns discriminate novel from harmonic sounds: A study using magnetoencephalography. Clin Neurophysiol, 117(3), 496-503.

     

     Fellman, V., Kushnerenko, E., Mikkola, K., Ceponiene, R., Leipala, J., & Naatanen, R. (2004). Atypical auditory event-related potentials in preterm infants during the first year of life: A possible sign of cognitive dysfunction? Pediatr Res, 56(2), 291-297.

     

     Winkler, I., Kushnerenko, E., Horvath, J., Ceponiene, R., Fellman, V., Huotilainen, M., et al. (2003). Newborn infants can organize the auditory world. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 100(20), 11812-11815.

     

     Huotilainen, M., Kujala, A., Hotakainen, M., Shestakova, A., Kushnerenko, E., Parkkonen, L., et al. (2003). Auditory magnetic responses of healthy newborns. Neuroreport, 14(14), 1871-1875.

     

     Kushnerenko*, E., Ceponiene, R., Balan, P., Fellman, V., and Naatanen, R. (2002). Maturation of the auditory change-detection response in infants: A longitudinal ERP study. Neuroreport,  13(15):1843-1848.

     

     Kushnerenko*, E., Ceponiene, R., Balan, P., Fellman, V., Huotilainen, M., & Naatanen, R. (2002). Maturation of the auditory event-related potentials during the 1st year of life. NeuroReport, 13, 47-51

     

     Ceponiene, R., Kushnerenko, E. (equal contribution), Fellman, V., Renlund, M., Suominen, K., & Naatanen, R. (2002). Event-related potential features indexing central auditory discrimination by newborns. Cognitive Brain Res, 13, 101-113.

     

     Balan, P., Kushnerenko, E., Huotilainen, M., Naatanen, R., and Hukki, J. (2002). “Auditory ERPs reveal brain dysfunction in infants with plagiocephaly.” J Craniofac Surg. 13(4):520-525

     

     Cheour, M., Kushnerenko, E., Ceponiene, R., Fellman, V., and Naatanen, R. (2002). “Electric brain responses obtained from newborn infants to  changes in duration in complex harmonic tones.” Developmental Neuropshychology, 22(2), 471-479.

     

    Hukki, J., Huotilainen, M., Ohman, J., Kushnerenko et al. (2003) Measurements of electrical and magmetic brain activity help detecting brain dysfunctions in children with craniosynostoses. Carniofacial surgery, 10: 203-209.

     

    Kushnerenko, E. Naatanen, R. (2002) Auditory event-related potentials in SGA and AGA preterm infants. Pediatric Research, 52:819-819

     

     Kushnerenko*, E., Ceponiene, R., Fellman, V., Huotilainen, M., & Winkler, I. (2001). Event-related potential correlates of sound duration: Similar pattern from birth to adulthood. NeuroReport, 12 (17) 3777-3781.

     

    Kushnerenko*, E., Cheour, M., Ceponiene, R., Fellman, V., Renlund, M., Soininen, K., Alku, P., Koskinen, M., Sainio, K., & Näätänen, R. (2001). Central Auditory Processing of Durational Changes in Complex Speech Patterns by Newborns: An Event-Related Brain Potential Study. Developmental Neuropsychology, 19(1), 85-89.

     

     Kushnerenko E.V., Bystrova K.S., Batuev A.S.  (1999) The newborn babies reactions to the olfactory stimuli (in Russian) Psychologicheski journal, 4.

     

    Book chapters

    Csibra, Gergely and Kushnerenko, Elena and Grossmann, Tobias (2008) ‘Electrophysiological methods in studying infant cognitive development’, in Nelson, C.A. and Luciana, M. (eds.) Handbook of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 247-262.

    Kushnerenko,  E., Johnson, MH (2010) The Newborn Behavior,  in Lagercrantz, H. Hanson, M., Peebles, Ment, & Evrard, P (Eds) The Newborn Brain: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications (2nd Edition)

    Kushnerenko, E. (2010) Cognitive development of a child during first year of life: Behavioural and electrophysiological methods. in: From Neuron to Cognition (ed. I. Pavlov), SpbU, St Petersburg, (in Russian)

     

    Publications

    Portfolio



    Annual invited lectures on MSc module Developmental Language Disorders and Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.
    Annual invited lectures on a module ‘Infant and Neurodevelopmental Assessment’, Institute for Child Health, University College London.
    Conducting courses and evaluations for the EU funded educational project in Neuroscience Master and PhD programs at St Petersburg University (Russia).
    Developing teaching materials for Master and PhD program in Neuroscience in Russia: Textbook: From Neuron to Cognition SpbU, St Petersburg, in Russian.
    Providing teaching, training and supervision in EEG lab.

    Teaching