Creating Impact Science Program (CRISP) Fellow, Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow

Nora Maria Raschle

University of Zurich

Research focus
Nora Raschle is a developmental neuroscientist with a background in cognitive and affective neuroscience. With a particular interest in typical and atypical brain development, her work to date has aimed at contributing towards the early detection and in-depth characterization of developmental disabilities, including mental health disorders, using functional and structural neuroimaging techniques. Nora Raschle’s work further includes the study of different developmental trajectories, the inclusion of early psychosocial risk factors and consideration of familial and environmental aspects allowing conclusions on resilience.

What have I achieved during my fellowship?
In our research to date we have used clinical, psychosocial and neurobiological parameters from early childhood to adolescence in order to inform about well-being (psychological, social, physical) in association with brain structure and functioning. During my Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship, I have published 18 peer reviewed publications, had two doctoral candidates graduated with high laudatio (Phd degree) and hired two new PhD students to work within projects related to my Jacobs Fellowship. I have been able to extend my research projects and was offered an Assistant Professorship at the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development (JCPYD) at the University of Zurich. I have started my own group at the JCPYD and University of Zurich in April 2019 and am presently principal investigator of the neuroimaging unit. The Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship has allowed me to connect to early and senior research scientist from the field of child and youth development from across the globe. This has allowed me to start novel collaborations, build new networks, receive mentorship and support that has been, and continues to be, highly influential for my professional path. Our research has been presented at national and international conferences and has built the foundation for new grant proposals. Overall, I believe that this fellowship has had a huge impact on my professional career to date and I believe that the network and connections built will continue to do so. Across all fellows, our knowledge on factors influential for child and youth development will continue to grow.

My plans for the future
My research and major scientific achievements to date revolve around the investigation of cognitive and affective brain development in health and disease. I have conducted research projects employing different neuroimaging techniques, predominantly structural and functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging. Further methods included in my research practices entail eye-tracking, psychometric and clinical testing, transcranial direct current stimulation, neurophysiological or hormonal testing. I have been involved in the development, implementation and conduction of collaborative national (e.g., at present through a University-wide research priority program targeting adaptive brain circuitries and learning) and international, cross-sectional and longitudinal research projects (e.g. the Boston Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia, BOLD, or FemNAT-CD). Additionally, I strive towards making my research accessible beyond my own laboratory, reaching educational systems, policy makers or clinical practices. I believe that to move forward, neuroscience research will gain from collaborations that cross borders, methodologies, and species and thus embrace open science efforts. Overall, in my research I strive to provide inter- and intra-individual knowledge about human brain structure and functioning in health and disease, through development and maturation. The ultimate goal of my research is to implement investigations that result in knowledge enabling us to support each individual child to strive towards reaching his or her own goals and potential in the best way possible. My future plans are to continue these endeavors and strengthening these through the use of the established and growing international network of researchers I had the privilege connecting to.