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Dr. Patricia Kurtz

Keynote Presenter


Challenging Behavior: Functional Assessment, Functional Analysis, Treatment, and Beyond

Early Identification and Prevention of Challenging Behavior in Young Children with Autism/Developmental Disabilities


Dr. Patricia Kurtz is the director of Neurobehavioral Outpatient Services in Kennedy Krieger Institute's Department of Behavioral Psychology. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kurtz’s research has focused on the assessment and treatment of self-injurious behavior, aggression and other severe behavior problems exhibited by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This includes the development of intensive behavioral treatment approaches for problem behavior, as well as evaluation of generalization of treatment effects and long-term outcome following inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Dr. Kurtz’s primary research interest is the emergence of self-injurious behavior in infants and children. Current studies focus on identification of risk factors associated with the onset and persistence of self-injurious behavior in young children, provision of early behavioral treatment for self-injury, development of early intervention and prevention models for severe behavior disorders, and development of education and training programs for parents and professionals.

Dr. Lewis Bizo

Invited Speaker

Title: Experimental Analysis of Behaviour: Somethings I have learned about reinforcers and stimulus control


The experimental analysis of behaviour is a science of behaviour that is built on a rich research tradition that focusses on the deliberate and detailed observation of variables that control behaviour.  The emphasis has always been on the observation of individuals and descriptions of behaviour that facilitate prediction and control.  At the heart of these explanations is an appreciation of what some would call the three-term contingency: Antecedents – Behaviour - Consequences – the ABCs.  My talk will focus on two of these – Antecedents and Consequences.  Stimulus control is an area of study that focusses on antecedents – where antecedents might also include context, or the setting conditions as well as the study of stimuli that are deliberately associated with reinforcer delivery. Reinforcer control as an area of study focusses on the control exerted on behaviour by consequences, and draws on a diverse range of ideas and traditions such as Michael’s motivating operations, Timberlake’s Behaviour Systems, Premack’s Principles – and so much more.  This talk will draw together research findings from research with human and non-human animals and explore their relevance and translation to applied settings.


Lewis Bizo completed his Ph.D. at the University of Otago in 1994 before working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Arizona State University, and has subsequently worked in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand as an academic.  He is Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney.  Lewis’ research interests are many and varied.  He publishes regularly on stimulus control and generalisation, schedules of reinforcement and reinforcer preference.

Dr. Jo Day

Invited Speaker

Title: New Insights on Shark Behaviour in Bite-Sized Pieces  


Jo Day is interested in using genetic and behavioural techniques to answer questions in behavioural ecology and wildlife conservation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Marine Science and a PhD from Macquarie University. Her PhD investigated the genetic structure, social organisation and mating system of bottlenose dolphins. Jo began working at Taronga in 2010 as a Research and Conservation Coordinator and started a long term research program with Macquarie University studying the social behaviour and movements of Port Jackson sharks. This research brought sharks to Taronga Zoo for the first time in over 20 years, which provided a unique opportunity to better understand shark behaviour and help change people’s attitudes to shark conservation. More recently, Jo established Taronga’s Conservation Genetics lab to apply genetic techniques to the management of threatened species breeding programs and understand the behaviour and ecology of various marine threatened species in the wild.

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