Professor Janette Atkinson FBA

Models of Visual brain development, underlying visual, spatial and social cognition in both typical and at-risk infants and children, including those with very premature birth and Williams Syndrome

Elected 2015

Fellow type
UK Fellow
Year elected

Janette Atkinson is a pioneer in research on human development of vision and visual cognition. Janette's PhD was awarded by Cambridge University. She was a Professor and Pro-Provost (International)) at UCL and is now a UCL Emeritus Professor and Visiting Professor in Oxford University. She founded the Visual Development Unit, an interdisciplinary team started in Cambridge, later in UCL and Oxford. Janette's collaborators range across Europe, Asia and USA (including Johns Hopkins, MIT, Cornell, Salk Institute, UCSD). Janette devised one of the first models of visual brain development, identifying markers in the first months of life for functioning visual cortex, underpinning pattern, motion, depth perception and visual attention. Her novel, child-friendly methods have enabled early identification of visual disorders in preterm-born infants and children and those with developmental disorders, including Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome, and Autism. She identified 'dorsal stream vulnerability' - a cluster of associated deficits in motion perception, attention, spatial actions and numeracy skills, relating these to specific changes in brain development. Janette is a strong supporter of women's academic careers through extensive mentoring and Athena SWAN (first UCL Lead and National Steering Committee). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academia Europaea.

Current post

Emeritus Professor, University College London; Visiting Professor, University of Oxford

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