Biovision seminar – Dr Aurélie Calabrese (Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Aix Marseille Université)

Aurélie Calabrese (Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Aix Marseille Université) will give a talk on September 24 in room Byron Blanc (ground floor) entitled “Understanding the reading deficits of individuals with central vision loss to help restore their reading abilities.”

Abstract: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) accounts for 8.7% of all blindness worldwide and is the most common cause of blindness in developed countries. Older adults suffering from AMD often lose the ability to use central vision after developing a central scotoma. Despite advances in the treatment of AMD, central vision cannot be restored and difficulty with reading is often the primary complaint of AMD patients, who have to use their peripheral vision to read. The number of Europeans with AMD, and who struggle with reading, is expected to reach 60 million by 2030. When eye disorders limit people’s access to printed text, the issue is vision disability, not literacy, but the individual consequences may be just as severe. The focus of this talk will be to present some of the latest progress made to understand (and therefore overcome) the underlying factors of the reading deficits following central vision loss (CVL). Questions that will be covered include: what sensory, cognitive and oculo-motor factors can explain slow reading speed with CVL? How to optimize reading aids and reading diagnostic tools?

Short bio: My research focuses on understanding the underlying factors of the reading deficits following central visual field loss (CFL). My end goal is to help visually impaired people regain functional reading and therefore independence. After a BS in Biology and a Master in Cognitive Neuroscience, I started to study reading and CFL as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Eric Castet. During those years, I had the opportunity to collaborate closely with a low-vision clinic, which helped me bridge basic vision science and clinical research. After my PhD, I joined the research lab of Dr. Gordon E. Legge where I continued to study reading in both normal and low-vision individuals. Questions that I am interested in include: what sensory, cognitive and oculo-motor factors can explain slow reading speed with CFL? Can reading performance be improved through training and what are the cortical sites involved in this improvement? How to optimize reading diagnostic tools? How to develop new reading aids? My research utilizes psychophysics, eye tracking, brain imaging (fMRI), and statistical modeling techniques to study these questions on large population samples.

Web: http://www.aureliecalabrese.com

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