Anna Blasi

Research Fellow

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
The Henry Wellcome Building
Birkbeck, University of London
London,  WC1E 7HX

Phone: +44 (0)20 7631 6391
Fax: +44 (0)20 7631 6587

Research interests

My research interests are centered on functional aspects of human physiology and include development of technology, data collection and analysis. At the start of my research career, I worked with models the cardiovascular system and the effect of sleep disruption on the balance of its control. Through my work at University College London and Kings College London, my research interests have steered toward the use of brain imaging techniques such as functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) to study the connection between brain function and neurocognitive development in early infancy.

For more information about my work with fNIRS please follow the link:

For more information about my work on infant fMRI studies:


Sethna, V., Pote, I., Wang, S., Gudbrandsen, M., Blasi, A., McCusker, C., Daly, E., Perry, E., Adams, K. P. H., Kuklisova-Murgasova, M., Busuulwa, P., Lloyd-Fox, S., Murray, L., Johnson, M. H., Williams, S. C. R., Murphy, D. G. M. , Craig, M. C. and McAlonan, G. M. (2016) Mother-infant interactions and regional brain volumes in infancy: an MRI study. Brain Structure and Function. Brain Struct Funct (2016). doi:10.1007/s00429-016-1347-1

Lloyd-Fox S, Begus K, Halliday D, Pirazzoli L, Blasi A, Papademetriou M, Darboe MK, Prentice AM, Johnson MH, Moore SE, Elwell CE. (2016) Cortical specialisation to social stimuli from the first days to the second year of life: A rural Gambian cohort. Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2016 Nov 27. pii: S1878-9293(16)30184-0. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2016.11.005. 

Blasi A, Lloyd-Fox S, Sethna V, Brammer MJ, Mercure E, Murray L, Williams SC, Simmons A, Murphy DG, Johnson MH. (2015) Atypical processing of voice sounds in infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Cortex. 2015 Oct;71:122-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.06.015. Epub 2015 Jun 27.

Inês Pote · Siying Wang · Anna Blasi · Grainne McAlonan (2015) Cerebellum enlargement in 4-7-month-old infants at high familial risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Conference: IMFAR (International Meeting for Autism Research) 2015, At Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Anna Blasi, Sarah Lloyd-Fox, Mark. H. Johnson, Clare Elwell. (2014) Test–retest reliability of functional near infrared spectroscopy in infants. Neurophoton. 1(2), 025005 (Sep 08, 2014). doi:10.1117/1.NPh.1.2.025005

Lloyd-Fox S, Richards JE, Blasi A, Murphy DG, Elwell CE, Johnson MH. Coregistering functional near-infrared spectroscopy with underlying cortical areas in infants. Neurophotonics. 2014 Oct;1(2):025006.

Maria D Papademetriou, John Richards, Teresa Correia, Anna Blasi, D. G. Murphy, Sarah Lloyd-Fox, Mark Johnson, and Clare E Elwell. (2013) Cortical Mapping of 3D Optical Topography in Infants. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013; 789: 455–461. doi:  10.1007/978-1-4614-7411-1_61

Khoo MC1, Blasi A. (2013) Sleep-related changes in autonomic control in obstructive sleep apnea: a model-based perspective. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2013 Sep 15;188(3):267-76. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 May 23.

Lloyd-Fox S1, Blasi A, Elwell CE, Charman T, Murphy D, Johnson MH. (2013) Reduced neural sensitivity to social stimuli in infants at risk for autism. Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Mar 13;280(1758):20123026. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.3026. Print 2013 May 7.

Correia T1, Lloyd-Fox S, Everdell N, Blasi A, Elwell C, Hebden JC, Gibson A. (2012) Three-dimensional optical topography of brain activity in infants watching videos of human movement. Phys Med Biol. 2012 Mar 7;57(5):1135-46. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/5/1135. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Lloyd-Fox S1, Blasi A, Mercure E, Elwell CE, (2011) Johnson MH. The emergence of cerebral specialization for the human voice over the first months of life. Neurosci. 2012;7(3):317-30. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2011.614696. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Blasi A, Mercure E, Lloyd-Fox S, Thomson A, Brammer M, Sauter D, Deeley Q, Barker GJ, Renvall V, Deoni S, Gasston D, Williams SC, Johnson MH, Simmons A, Murphy DG. (2011) Early specialization for voice and emotion processing in the infant brain. Curr Biol. 2011 Jul 26;21(14):1220-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.06.009.

Lloyd-Fox, S., Blasi, A., Everdell, N., Elwell, C.E. & Johnson, M.H. (In press) Selective cortical mapping of biological motion processing in young infants. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2010.21598

SCL Deoni, E. Mercure, A. Blasi, D. Gasston, A. Thomson, M. Johnson, S. C. R. Williams, & D. G. M. Murphy, (2011) Mapping Infant Brain Myelination with Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(2): 784-791, 2011; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2106-10.2011

Lloyd-Fox, S., Blasi, A. & Elwell, C.E. (2010) Illuminating the developing brain: The past, present and future of functional near infrared spectroscopy. Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, 34(3), 269-284, 2010.

A. Blasi, D. Phillips, S. Lloyd-Fox., P.H. Koh and C.E. Elwell. (2010) Automatic detection of motion artifacts in infant functional optical topography studies. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 662, Part 2, 279-284, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1241-1_40.

Lloyd-Fox S, Blasi A, Volein A, Everdell N, Elwell CE & Johnson MH (2009) Social Perception in Infancy: a near infrared spectroscopy study. Child Development, in press,

Grossman T, Johnson MH, Lloyd-Fox S, Blasi A, Deligianni F, Elwell C Csibra G (2008) Early cortical specialization for face-to-face communication in human infants. Manuscript accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2008.0986.

A. Blasi, S.Lloyd-Fox, N. Everdell, A. Volein, L. Tucker, G. Csibra, A.P. Gibson, J.C. Hebden, M.H. Johnson and C.E. Elwel. (2007) Investigation of depth dependent changes in cerebral haemodynamics during face perception in infants. Physics in Medecine and Biology 52, 6849–6864.

A. Blasi, J.A. Jo, E. Valladares, R. Juarez, A. Baydur, M.C. Khoo. (2006) Autonomic cardiovascular control following transient arousal from sleep: a time-varying closed-loop model. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2006 Jan;53(1):74-82. PMID: 16402605

Anna Blasi, Javier Jo, Edwin Valladares, Barbara J. Morgan, James B. Skatrud, and Michael C. K. Khoo. (2003) Cardiovascular variability after arousal from sleep: time varying spectral analysis. Journal of Applied Physiology 95, 1394-1404.

Blasi, A.; Jo, J.A.; Juarez, R.A.; Baydur, A.N. and Khoo, M.C.K. (2003) Abnormal Cardiovascular Responses to Non-Respiratory Arousals in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome. Sleep 26 (Supplement), A230-A231.

Jo, J.A., Blasi, A.; Valladares, E.; Juarez, J.A.; Baydur, A. and Khoo, M.C.K. (2003) Model-Based Assessment of Autonomic Control in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome During Sleep. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 167, 128-136, 2003.

Teaching activities

  • Biomedical Optics (MSc in Radiation Physics) Medical Physics and Bioengineering Department, University College London
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy (MSc Neuroimaging), Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London
  • Foetal, Baby and infant scanning (MSc Neuroimaging), Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy Course - fNIRS conference - University College London, October 2012

Public engagement activities

  • School Assembly - Year 11 students - Platanos College (Stockwell, London), 31st January 2013
  • Science week - Year 2 students - Instituto Espanol Vicente Canada Blanch (North Kensington, London), 21st June 2012
  • Science week - Year 1 students - Instituto Espanol Vicente Canada Blanch (North Kensington, London), 18th May 2012