Christodoulou Named to Advisory Board of National Center for Learning Disabilities

March 09, 2021
Joanna Christodoulou
Dr. Joanna Christodoulou is director of the MGH Institute’s Brain, Education, and Mind (BEAM) Lab.

Joanna Christodoulou, EdD, director of the Brain, Education, and Mind (BEAM) Lab at MGH Institute of Health Professions, has been appointed to the Professional Advisory Board of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, a pioneering organization leading change for learning disabilities in education.

Dr. Christodoulou, who was appointed to a three-year term on the advisory board, joins other experts whose role is to help guide the nonprofit’s program activity and advise its staff and board of directors on educational needs, program opportunities, policy development, and strategic planning. It includes activities related to NCLD’s work in parent empowerment, school transformation, young adult transition, and public policy and advocacy. Founded in 1977, NCLD works to improve the lives of the one in five children and adults nationwide it reports has learning and attention issues.

Christodoulou, an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders who joined the MGH Institute faculty in 2014, has gained national recognition studying the so-called “summer slump” in school-aged children including funding from the National Institute of Health. She is also co-leading, with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a project funded by a National Science Foundation grant on the brain basis of reading and math disabilities.

She integrates roles as clinician, developmental cognitive neuroscientist, and educator, focusing her work on identifying risk factors from school and home contexts associated with learning challenges, investigating effective identification of learning difficulties across clinical and research settings, and optimizing intervention practices for struggling students.

To explore these research areas, Christodoulou uses neuroimaging and behavioral tools and works with participants as young as four years old through adulthood. Her primary research focus has been on the development of reading and related skills, and approaches to harnessing individual variability to improve educational outcomes. In addition, she studies the brain-behavior dynamic underlying reading and cognitive skills.