My main research interest is to study neurodevelopment during social interactions to explore mechanisms of change from infancy to childhood. During my PhD, I explored mechanisms underlying self-other differentiation in 18 months. Moreover, I advanced techniques to study infant brain connectivity using fNIRS, a relatively new neuroimaging technique widely used in developmental neuroscience. I then joined as a post-doc the Brain Imaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) project, a big longitudinal project that aims to establish brain function-for-age curves of infants who grow in a low-resource context. Within this project, I was in charge of analysing the fNIRS datasets and defining a standardised analysis pipeline for fNIRS data collected in global health.
In March 2022, I was awarded an Early Career Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust to study the development of empathy in toddlers. I am excited to have joined the first world’s ToddlerLab at Birkbeck, where I am using cutting-edge techniques, such as wearable fNIRS and virtual-reality, to assess empathic reactions in 3-to-5-year-olds.
PhD Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College, London
2015 - 2019
MSc Clinical Psychology
Vita-Salute San Raffaele University - Milan (Italy)
2011 - 2013
BSc Psychology Science
Università degli Studi di Parma - Parma (Italy)
2008 - 2011
Jan. 2019 - Feb. 2022: Post-doctoral Research Associate in the BRIGHT Project
Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering at UCL and Boston’s Children’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School.
Supervisors: Prof. Clare Elwell, Prof. Charles Nelson
Oct. 2018 - Jan. 2019: Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Post-doctoral Researcher
Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London.
Supervisors: Prof. Denis Mareschal, Prof. Victoria Southgate, Prof. Antonia Hamilton
Sept. 2014 - Aug. 2015: Research Assistant
Psychobiology and Clinical Psychiatry laboratory, Scientific Institute San-Raffaele Hospital and University, Milan (Italy).
Supervisors: Prof. Francesco Benedetti
Jan. 2014 - June 2014: Visiting Scholar
Brain and Creativity Institute, Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (CA, USA).
Supervisors: Prof. Antonio Damasio, Dr. Jonas Kaplan
Sept. 2013 - Aug. 2014: Postgraduate Internship
Psychobiology and Clinical Psychiatry laboratory, Scientific Institute San Raffaele Hospital and University, Milan (Italy).
Supervisors: Prof. Francesco Benedetti
Bulgarelli, C., & Jones, E. J. (2023). The typical and atypical development of empathy: How big is the gap from lab to field?. JCPP Advances, e12136.
Collins-Jones, L.H., Cooper, R.J., Bulgarelli, C., Blasi, A., Katus, L, … Elwell, C.E. and the BRIGHT Study Team. (2021) Longitudinal infant fNIRS channel-space analyses are robust to variability parameters at the group-level: an image reconstruction investigation. NeuroImage 237, 118068
Bulgarelli, C., Blasi, A., Pollonini, L., Lloyd-Fox, S., Pirazzoli, L., Perdue, K.L., Nelson, C.A., Elwell, C.E. Standardising an infant fNIRS analysis pipeline to investigate neurodevelopment in global health, in Biophotonics Congress: Biomedical Optics 2020 (Translational, Microscopy, OCT, OTS, BRAIN), OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, 2020), paper BM2C.2.
Bulgarelli, C., de Klerk, C.C.J.M., Richards, J.E., Southgate, V., Hamilton, A., Blasi, A. The developmental trajectory of fronto‐temporoparietal connectivity as a proxy of the default mode network: a longitudinal fNIRS investigation. Human Brain Mapping. March 2020:hbm.24974. doi:10.1002/hbm.24974
Di Lorenzo R, Pirazzoli L, Blasi A, Bulgarelli, C., et al. (2019). Recommendations for motion correction of infant fNIRS data applicable to multiple data sets and acquisition systems. Neuroimage. 200(4):511-527.
Bulgarelli, C., Blasi, de Klerk, C., Richards, J.E, Hamilton, A. Southgate, V. (2019). Fronto-temporoparietal connectivity and self-awareness in 18-month-olds: A resting state fNIRS study, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 100676.
de Klerk, C., Bulgarelli, C. Hamilton, A., Southgate, V., (2019). Selective facial mimicry of linguistic in-group over out-group members in preverbal infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 183, 33-47.
Di Lorenzo R, Pirazzoli L, Blasi A, Bulgarelli, C., et al. Recommendations for motion correction of infant fNIRS data applicable to multiple data sets and acquisition systems. Neuroimage. 2019;200(4):511-527.
Bulgarelli, C., Blasi, A., Arridge, S., Powell, S., Brigadoi, S., de Klerk, C., Southgate, V., Penny, W., Tak, S., Hamilton, A. (2018). Dynamic Causal Modelling on infant fNIRS data: a validation study on a simultaneously recorded fNIRS-fMRI dataset. NeuroImage. 175, 413-424.