From the Womb to the World

Science Tools for your Family Journey

“From the Womb to the World” is a new multidisciplinary group founded by the Essex Babylab researchers in collaboration with a team of independent practitioners interested in supporting child development.

We all share a strong interest in studying how parental behaviour and interactions with babies (inside and outside the womb) develop during the first year of life. We want to promote ideas exchange and a better understanding of the real needs of the community, through the use of online platforms and events and workshops for parents and families. Our group is keen in promoting:

  • Support: give families the support they need to facilitate and promote their relationship with their babies;
  • Empowerment: by providing the tools to learn and use the latest scientific discoveries, we want to facilitate the communication of evidence-based research in the community;
  • Continuity: from pregnancy to childbirth, new parents receive a variety of advice and information from different sources, with very little continuity throughout their journey. We want to offer a platform where new parents can be accompanied from the beginning of their pregnancy throughout the first years of life of their babies.


Our Team

group pic


Silvia Rigato

Silvia is a senior lecturer in Psychology at University of Essex. She obtained her PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College London, where she specialised in developmental cognitive neuroscience researching how the babies’ brain responds to social stimuli. She is interested to study how these responses change over time and how they are affected by prenatal and postnatal environment. She set up the Essex Babylab and is committed to bridge the gap between lab-based research and the community of parents and professionals.


Maria Laura Filippetti

Maria Laura is a lecturer in Psychology at University of Essex, specialised in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. She obtained her PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck College London, where she first became interested in researching how babies learn about their bodies and how social interactions shape during development. Maria Laura is part of the Essex Babylab and is keen in making evidence-based research on infant development more accessible to parents.


Silvia Dalvit Menabe Portrait
Silvia Dalvit Menabé

Silvia gained her PhD in neuroscience from the University of London. In 2012 she founded Babybrains® and has co-written a book supporting perinatal wellbeing in Italian (“I miei Quattro Trimestri’, i.e. My Four Trimesters). Silvia is a Research Associate at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck College, London, and since 2017 she collaborates with the Essex Babylab to help engage and exchange with the general public. She firmly believes that insights from neuroscience can help us out of ‘industrial parenting’ and into a more balanced, fulfilling and fun experience of growing up together.


Karina Moore

Karina is an Antenatal teacher in Suffolk, Essex and North West London. She studied Biological Sciences and worked observing wild primate behaviour where she became interested in the parent-infant relationship. Later she completed a foundation degree in Parenting Education accredited by the University of Bedford. Since then, she has dedicated her time to supporting new parents through this stage of life and is committed to enabling parents to put evidence-based research into practice.


Sonia Pecce 

Sonia has worked with children for nearly 20 years in various childcare settings, children’s centres, and more recently, a mother and baby mental health unit. She has worked as an early years teacher in school and completed a psychology degree at the University of Essex. She has always been interested in people and how they behave and brains and how they work. She also has five children of (three only part time as they live with their mother), so has a wealth of personal life experience to inform her work.


Caryn Cook
Caryn Cook

Caryn is a research student at the University of Essex.  Having recently completed an MSc in Psychology, she has now started a PhD  researching the role of infants’ ability to recognise their internal sensations, such as hunger and thirst, and their role for socio-emotional development. Caryn is also interested in studying parent-infant interactions and their association with anxiety behaviour in babies.


Greta Loni

Greta is an Italian midwife. She obtained her BSc in Pisa where she became interested in the maternal-fetal attachment during pregnancy. She then pursed a Master degree in Florence at the “Elemental School of Midwifery Art”. There, she developed her interest in the psychological and neuroendocrinological factors involved in pregnancy and childbirth. Her aim is to empower mothers  to develop a healthy and positive relationship with their children.


Richard Austin 

Richard is an undergraduate student in his final year studying a BSc in Psychology at the University of Essex. While studying Richard found his interest in developmental psychology and have been working in number of projects and events with the Essex BabyLab. Richard aims to pursue a MSc in Occupational Therapy and is keen to implement evidence based research in developmental psychology in an applied setting.

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