Lecture: The First Big Love: Exploring the Neurobiology of Parent-Child Bonding

by NYC Firm Schools on January 22, 2011

We strongly recommend this upcoming lecture, which is part of the Parents & Science initiative launched in 2007 by The Rockefeller University:

The First Big Love: Exploring the Neurobiology of Parent-Child Bonding

  • Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011
  • Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • Place: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Hall
    York Avenue at 66th Street
    The Rockefeller University
    New York City

Register for the event here.

“Parents know intuitively that their relationships with their children are grounded in the deepest human feelings. Research on the brain and behavior is uncovering the origins of these powerful emotions and, at the same time, providing surprising insights into many forms of interpersonal connection. Consider, for example, the hormone oxytocin, which was once associated mainly with childbirth and nursing. As a result of studies in animals and humans, oxytocin has been found to activate feelings of trust and emotional commitment in men as well as women. This winter, Parents & Science will host a discussion with two scientists who are making important contributions to the expanded understanding of attachment, through research that encompasses the perspectives of child and parent.”

Featuring Speakers:
Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
National Institute of Mental Health

Myron Hofer, M.D.
Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology
Columbia University Medical Center

Thomas Insel, M.D., is perhaps best known for elucidating the critical roles of the brain chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin in social attachment—including maternal behavior and pair-bond formation—as well as in aggression. Dr. Insel’s groundbreaking studies in social neuroscience began at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which he joined in 1979. In early work at NIMH, he also conducted some of the first clinical trials of treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder using the SSRI class of antidepressant medications. In 1994, he joined Emory University, where he was a professor of psychiatry, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and director of a center for autism research. In 2002, Dr. Insel left Emory to become director of NIMH, where he continues to lead his own laboratory while overseeing an institute with a research budget of $1.5 billion.

Myron Hofer, M.D., who directs the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia University, is a psychiatrist who focuses on the role of the parent-infant relationship as the first major environmental influence on postnatal development. Through pioneering research with rodent models, he and his colleagues have helped to explain how patterns of maternal behavior are entwined with the behavior and physical well-being of the young. These experiments have shed light on the early origins of attachment, the effects of maternal separation, and the shaping of development by the infant-parent relationship. A widely published writer, Dr. Hofer is the author of The Roots of Human Behavior, a seminal work in psychobiology.

A bit more about the Parents & Science initiative:

“Parents & Science participants:

* Meet leading scientists and learn about emerging discoveries and biomedical breakthroughs that are improving the health and well-being of children
* Increase their scientific literacy, enabling them to talk more knowledgeably about scientific issues and play a more active role in their children’s education
* Engage in an intellectual and social exchange with other parents who share an interest in science and biomedicine

The Parents & Science initiative:

* Fosters a dialogue between scientists, medical practitioners, and parents about child and adolescent health and development
* Builds bridges between the University and New York City area schools and parents, promoting scientific literacy and education at all levels”

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