Maya Yablonski’s PhD in Neuroscience, from the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, examined how morphological processing happens in the brain. Ability to recognize morphemes, the simple building blocks of complex words (e.g., in+depend+ent+ly), is a strong predictor of reading ability. Dr. Yablonski conducted the first investigation of the structural pathways underlying this skill. She found that morphological processing is associated with properties of ventral white matter tracts in the brain, in English as well as in Hebrew.
Dr. Yablonski continues her interest in reading skills during her postdoc in the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Education. Previous studies have found that an intensive summer reading intervention drove rapid and widespread structural changes in white matter pathways in dyslexic children. Dr. Yablonski is exploring whether these changes are transient or long lasting, whether they predict long-term gains in reading, and whether neurobiological markers exist that could determine which children are likely to benefit from such reading interventions.
Dr. Yablonski has a strong interest in linguistics, language development and brain development. She has worked with children in different settings, including the Department of Psychological Medicine at Schneider’s Children Medical Center and the Division for Science Activities for Youth at Bar-Ilan University.