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Ursula Bellugi

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Nationality  American

Name  Ursula Bellugi
Ursula Bellugi lcnsalkeduteambellugijpg

Institutions  Salk InstituteUniversity of California, San DiegoSan Diego State University
Alma mater  Harvard UniversityAntioch College
Known for  Research on the neurological bases of American Sign Language and language representation in people with Williams Syndrome
Notable awards  National Academy of Sciences (2007)Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science(2007)Prize in Neuronal Plasticity from IPSEN FoundationTwo MERIT awards from NICHDDistinguished Scientific Contribution Award, American Psychological AssociationJacob Javitz Neuroscience Investigator Award from NIDCDDistinguished Scientific Contribution Award, American Psychological AssociationWoman of the Decade AwardMember, Advisory Council to NIDCD
Residence  La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States
Education  Antioch College, Harvard University
Fields  Cognitive neuroscience, Psycholinguistics

Tribute to Ursula Bellugi

Ursula Bellugi is a Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Broadly stated, she conducts research on the biological bases of language. More specifically, she has studied the neurological bases of American Sign Language extensively, and her work has led to the discovery that the left hemisphere of the human brain becomes specialized for language, whether spoken or signed, a striking demonstration of neuronal plasticity.


Ursula Bellugi Ursula Bellugi Salk Institute for Biological Studies

She has also investigated the language abilities of individuals with Williams Syndrome, a puzzling genetically based disorder that leaves language, facial recognition and social skills remarkably well-preserved in contrast to severe inadequacy in other cognitive aptitudes. The search for the underlying biological basis for this disorder is providing new opportunities for understanding how brain structure and function relate to cognitive capabilities.

Ursula Bellugi InsideSalk 0414 Issue Connecting the dots between genes and human

Bellugi received a B.A. from Antioch College in 1952 and an Ed.D. from Harvard University in 1967. Since then, she has held positions as a tenure-track professor at the Salk Institute (1970 forward) and as an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego (1977 forward) and San Diego State University (1995 forward). A lot of her researches were conducted in collaboration with her husband Edward Klima, another linguist who also specialized in the study of American Sign Language.

Ursula Bellugi Ursula Bellugi Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Ursula Bellugi on Williams Syndrome


  1. The Signs of Language. Klima, E.S., & Bellugi, U. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979. —Paperback Edition, 1988; —Reprinted, 1995. (Award from Association of American Publishers for Most Outstanding Book in the Behavioral Sciences).
  2. Signed and Spoken Language: Biological Constraints on Linguistic Form. Bellugi, U., & Studdert-Kennedy, M. Dahlem Konferenzen. Weinheim/Deerfield Beach, FL: Verlag Chemie, 1980.
  3. What the Hands Reveal about the Brain. Poizner, H., Klima, E.S., & Bellugi, U. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press/Bradford Books, 1987.
  4. Language, modality and the brain. Trends in Neuroscience. 10, 380-388. (Reprinted in M.H. Johnson, (Ed.), Brain development and cognition. London: Blackwell).
  5. Clues to the neurobiology of language. Bellugi, U., & Hickok, G. Washington, DC: Library of Congress.
  6. The signs of aphasia. In F. Boller & J. Grafman (Eds.), Handbook of neuropsychology, (2nd ed pp 38–50). Hickok, G., & Bellugi, U. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers.
  7. Bridging cognition, brain and molecular genetics: Evidence from Williams syndrome. Trends in Neurosciences, 5, 197-208. Bellugi, U., Lichtenberger, L., Mills, D., Galaburda, A.& Korenberg, J.R. (1999).
  8. Journey from cognition to brain to gene: New perspectives from Williams Syndrome. Bellugi, U. & St. George, M. (Eds.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.
  9. Affect, social behavior and brain in Williams syndrome. Current Directions in Psychological Science. Bellugi, U., Järvinen-Pasley, A., Doyle, T., Reilly, J., & Korenberg, J. (2007).
  10. Williams syndrome : A neurogenetic model of human behavior. In Encyclopedia of the Human Genome. Korenberg, J.R., Bellugi, U., Salandanan, L.S., Mills, D.L., & Reiss, A.L.


Ursula Bellugi Wikipedia