Creating and launching new technologies to enhance early childhood brain development and maximize lifelong cognitive outcomes.

AAB Research LLC

Mr. Melcher was a member of the 1972 US Olympic team, has competed in six World Championships, two Pan American Games, was a two-time US National in Epee fencing and has been inducted into the US Fencing Association Hall of Fame. From 1974 to 1982, he was also a member of the United States Olympic Committee's Investment Committee. Mr. Melcher received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University.

James L. Melcher is a co-founder and manager of AAB Research LLC. Additionally, he is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Balestra Capital, Ltd., a hedge fund and fund of funds manager founded in 1979.  Mr. Melcher has extensive experience in a variety of investment areas including global securities and currencies, commodities, precious metals, leveraged buyouts, private placements, corporate finance and hdege funds, and is often quoted or profiled in business media. Mr. Melcher began his career as a stockbroker at A.G. Becker & Co., a Wall Street investment firm which was acquired by Merrill Lynch in 1984. He subsequently formed and managed First Venture Fund, a venture capital fund. 

Dr. Benasich received dual PhDs from New York University in Experimental/Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology. She completed her postdoctoral work at Johns Hopkins University Medical School as a member of the Research Steering Committee of the Infant Health and Development Program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a second postdoctoral fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Paula Tallal at CMBN where her research on the speed of information processing in the visual system and the contribution of intermodal and cross-modal processing to early cognitive development broadened to include rapid auditory processing profiles in young infants. 

Dr. Benasich's current research at CMBN focuses on the study of early neural processes necessary for normal cognitive and language development as well as the impact of disordered processing on neurocognitive status in high risk or neurologically impaired infants. All of the prospective, longitudinal research is conducted on infants and children from two months through 84 months. Her research has demonstrated for the first time that the ability to perform fine non-speech acoustic discriminations in early infancy is critically important to, and highly predictive of, later language development in normally developing children as well as children at risk for language disorders. Specific converging research initiatives supporting the development of Rapid Auditory Processing Technology (RAPT) have been conducted over the last ten years and involved more than 1,000 children, many of whom are still participating in longitudinal studies at CMBN.


Photo credit: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey  

AAB Research Principals

Dr. April A. Benasich is co-founder and Chief Scientist of AAB Research LLC. Dr. Benasich is also the Elizabeth H. Solomon Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and the Director of the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience (CMBN) and Director of the Carter Center for Neurocognitive Research at Rutgers University. Additionally, she is a Principal Investigator within the NSF-funded Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center headquartered at the University of California, San Diego. 

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