People

Faculty

Photo of Gerry A Gerry Altmann, Professor

Director, IBACS

Office: Bousfield 134C

Lab

gerry.altmann@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Sentence processing; event cognition; object representation

Accepting a new graduate student, starting Fall 2020. Applications welcome.

Headshot of Christian Brodbeck Christian Brodbeck, Assistant Research Professor

Lab

christian.brodbeck@uconn.edu

Research interests: Cognitive neuroscience of language, speech perception, EEG/MEG
Roeland Hancock Roeland Hancock, Assistant Research Professor

Associate Director, Brain Imaging Research Center

Office: PCSB 142A

Lab

roeland.hancock@uconn.edu

Research interests: Neurobiology of language; Neurochemistry; Individual Differences; Auditory Processing
Fumiko Hoeft Fumiko Hoeft, Professor

Director, Brain Imaging Research Center

Office: PCSB 142B

Lab: BOUS 329/333

fumiko.hoeft@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Brain development, Neuroimaging, Individual differences, Literacy acquisition, Dyslexia
James Magnusom James Magnuson, Professor

Office: BOUS 119

Lab

james.magnuson@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Spoken language understanding, language development, language disorder, neurobiology and genetics of language.
Emily Myers Emily Myers, Associate Professor

Office: PCSB 216

Lab: PCSB 143

emily.myers@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Speech perception, cognitive neuroscience, aphasia, second language acquisition, fMRI. Dr. Meyers is involved in the STEAM (STEM+Arts) collaboration.
Ken Pugh Ken Pugh, Professor

President, Haskins Laboratories

Office & Lab: BOUS 331

kenneth.pugh@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Reading, reading disorder, neurobiology of language
Jay Reuckl Jay Rueckl, Professor

Office: BOUS 134B

Lab

Research Interests: Reading, Computational models, Learning and Memory, Brain Bases of Language, MRI
Whitney Tabor Whit Tabor, Associate Professor

Office: BOUS 124

Lab

whitney.tabor@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Balance between structure and flexibility, change in structured systems, dynamical systems theory, theory of computation, sentence processing, language change, group coordination
Photo of Eiling Yee Eiling Yee, Assistant Professor

Office: BOUS 170

Lab

eiling.yee@uconn.edu

Research Interests: Semantic memory and the neural representation of concepts; Spoken word recognition and language processing; Neural basis of language, aphasia

Emeriti

Paul Allopenna Paul Allopenna, Emeritus

paul.allopenna@uconn.edu

 

 
headshot of Carol Fowler Carol Fowler

carol.fowler@uconn.edu

Research interests: Ecology of language, speech perception from a direct-realist theoretical perspective; compatible theoretical approach to speech perception
Donal Shankweiler Donald Shankweiler

donald.shankweiler@uconn.edu

Research interests: Language, speech and brain Reading, and brain Reading acquisition

 

Post Doctoral Scholars

Silvia Clement-Lam Silvia Clement-Lam

silvia.clementlam@uconn.edu

 

Silvia’s research interest is in understanding the mechanisms underlying children’s literacy acquisition through the lenses of both typical and atypical development, multilingualism, and other socio-psychological factors. She is a CNC-CT post-doctoral fellow, and currently working with Drs. Fumiko Hoeft and Devin Kearns on a project determining mechanisms that lead to optimal literacy outcomes in children with reading disorders.

Phoebe Gatson Phoebe Gaston

phoebe.gaston@uconn.edu

 

Phoebe Gaston is a CNC-CT post-doctoral fellow, working with Jim Magnuson and Emily Myers. Her primary research interest is in how words are represented and recognized from speech. She is particularly interested in how contextual information impacts word recognition, and the interplay between syntactic and acoustic cues.

Caroline Greiner Caroline Greiner de Magalhães

caroline.greiner@uconn.edu

 

Caroline Greiner de Magalhães is interested in understanding the cognitive and socio-emotional aspects that contribute to the variability on the academic achievement of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. She is particularly interested in working with children with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and Williams syndrome. She hopes that the results of her research can be used to inform targeted assessments and interventions, leading to improvements in the quality of life of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.

Chris Heffner Christopher Heffner

christopher.heffner@uconn.edu

 

Now an assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

Gitte Jorgenson Gitte Joergensen

gitte.joergensen@uconn.edu

 

I am interested in how we represent different dimensions of events during language processing. More specifically, I am interested in how changes in time and state are processed and integrated into current event representations. For example, in sentences like “The woman will drop the ice cream. But first, she will look at the ice cream”, we must maintain two distinct representations of the ice cream – before and after it was dropped. But how do these representations interact as language unfolds?

Caroline Larson Caroline Larson

caroline.larson@uconn.edu

Caroline's research focuses on relationships between language and other cognitive factors in children with language disorders, including Developmental Language Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder, with the long-term goal of improving differential diagnosis and treatment.
Airey Lau Airey Lau

airey.lau@uconn.edu

Nataza Marrouch Natasza Marrouch

natasza.marrouch@uconn.edu

Ayan Mitra Ayan Mitra 

Ayan.mitra@uconn.edu

 

Ayan Mitra's areas of interest include neuroimaging, reading, dyslexia (RD), educational neuroscience, and translating basic scientific research into better educational outcomes for children. He is currently involved in two projects: (1). Understanding compensatory mechanisms in adults with dyslexia with the help of fMRI/TMS, and (2). Bridging Reading and Intervention with Neuroscience (B.R.A.I.N Camp).Through his research, he hopes to facilitate a dialogue across reading theory, policy, classroom instruction, and brain research. 

Headshot of Sandra smiling in black and white. Sandra Villata

sandra.villata@uconn.edu

 

My research is concerned with the grammar-parser relation: my goal is to elucidate the mechanisms at play during real-time sentence processing, and to determine whether the grammar and the parser should be conceived of as two separate systems or as two facets of the same cognitive system. I tackle this issue mostly through the lens of ungrammatical sentence processing using several experimental methods (e.g., acceptability judgments, self-paced reading, and (in collaboration) EEG and computational modelling).

Headshot of Heejo Heejo You

hee_jo.you@uconn.edu

Graduate Students

Headshot of Anne Crinnion Anne Crinnion

anne.crinnion@uconn.edu

 

Anne Marie is a first-year graduate student working with Jim Magnuson and Emily Myers. She is interested in how acoustic, lexical, and semantic levels of processing interact over the time course of naturalistic speech processing. She hopes to study these interactions from behavioral, neural, and computational perspectives.

Charles Davis

charles.davis@uconn.edu

 

My work investigates the cognitive and neural bases of semantic memory and its relation to language. Broadly, how do we know what things mean, how does the brain give rise to those meanings, and how does language help us to access and organize those meanings?

Headshot of Zach Ekves Zachary Ekves

zachary.ekves@uconn.edu

 

I am generally interested in event representation and processing. I'm particularly interested in how episodic memory systems facilitate this processing and interact with semantic memory systems (cognitively and neurally).

Jieyin Feng

jieyin.feng@uconn.edu

 

I am interested in the process of reading development and the underlying neural mechanism, through multimodal imaging methods and longitudinal design. Currently, I am working on the dyslexia population, and focused on their possible compensatory mechanisms with reading intervention and their causal effects. Also, I am interested in word reading development in bilingualism.

Kyra Krass

kyra.krass@uconn.edu

 

My research interests lie in event cognition. I would like to know what role affordances and goals play in event processing and how we can use eye-tracking and behavioral techniques to investigate this. I am also interested in how bilingualism and executive functioning influence event processing.

Nathan Lautz

nathan.lautz@uconn.edu

 

Research Interests: Using the tools of cognitive psychology/neuroscience to study the role of systems for perception, action, and interoception in the representation of meaning at the conceptual/semantic level; The effects of context on conceptual representation; Action-relevant concepts; Abstract concepts

Wesley Leong Wesley Leong

wesley.leong@uconn.edu

 

I study how the brain understands events that are experienced through language (such as when someone tells you a story). I am primarily interested in what our brains do that allows us to mentally represent participants and actions in these events, and how that may differ from events that we experience first-hand. I intend to tackle these lines of research using a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational techniques.

Karl Lerud Karl Lerud

karl.lerud@baystatehealth.org

 

Karl is now a postdoc with Gottfried Schlaug, and is affiliated with Baystate Health and UMass Medical School.

Monica Li Monica Li

monica.li@uconn.edu

 

I am interested in the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying spoken word recognition, particularly regarding how top-down (e.g., lexical knowledge, attention, context) and bottom-up (e.g., speech signal, noise) information interact to determine speech perception. I am currently working on my dissertation on a computational model of predictive coding in spoken word recognition.

Tong Li

tong.li@uconn.edu

Jie Luo Jie Luo

jie.luo@uconn.edu

 

My research interests include neural mechanisms of reading development and the neural signatures of successful reading instruction/learning intervention outcomes. I want to bridge the gap between educational practice and cognitive neuroscience, and hope it will eventually benefit individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and people in need.

Headshot of Sahil Luthra Sahil Luthra

sahil.luthra@uconn.edu

 

Sahil is now a postdoc at CMU.

Photo of Hannah Mechtenberg smiling Hannah Mechtenberg

hannah.mechtenberg@uconn.edu

 

My interests are twofold. My first line of research concerns the processing of phonetic ambiguity during continuous speech perception, using a variety of different methods. The second revolves around how analogical reasoning and language processing intersect during learning. I hope to use dynamic functional connectivity measures to look at how analogical reasoning unfolds in the brain.

Photo of Oliver McNeil Oliver McNeil

oliver.mcneil@uconn.edu

 

I am currently working on multiple projects concerned with neurodevelopmental differences in children and adolescents who have impaired reading ability. In pursuit of this, I am doing functional connectivity analyses using fMRI data, as well as nonlinear analyses of EEG data, with a theoretical focus on the intrinsic oscillations of neuronal populations. I am also interested in the potential of machine learning techniques to elucidate relative contributions of developmental and functional differences to phenotypes, with an increasing focus on ameliorating many of the common pitfalls of these approaches.

Hannah Morrow Hannah Morrow

hannah.morrow@uconn.edu

 

I'm broadly interested in how we learn and use information. My masters work involved looking at the EEG oscillations we produce during integration of visual and auditory stimuli. Currently, I'm studying how we use information creatively: specifically, how/when do our executive function abilities (e.g., being able to inhibit information or shift between goals) affect our divergent thinking abilities (e.g., when to use an object in a novel way to complete a goal)?

Headshot of Yanina Prystauka Yanina Prystauka

yanina.prystauka@uconn.edu

 

Yanina is now a postdoc in the Department of Language and Culture at The Arctic University of Norway

David Saltzman David Saltzman

david.saltzman@uconn.edu

 

My research concerns better specifying the information that we use to understand speech; what physical and social qualities of a talker affect the speech signal, how we use knowledge of these qualities to adapt to their unique manner of speech, and how we know what information is then relevant (or not relevant) to apply from one talker to another. I use behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological methods to achieve a multidisciplinary approach to this question.

Headshot of Oliver Sawi Oliver Sawi

Now Manager of Adaptive Learning Design and Analytics at Square Panda Inc. 

Naomi Sellers

naomi.sellers@uconn.edu

 

I am interested in how language input prediction and language error processing offer ways to study the intersection between language production and comprehension, particularly in how these processes vary across individuals. Moreover, with a desire for clinical use, I wonder if language errors could give unique insights not only as a bridge between production and comprehension, but also as a bridge between normative and impaired language processing.

Elizabeth Simmons Elizabeth Simmons

 

Liz is now an Assistant Professor of Communications Disorders at Sacred Heart University

Yi Wei

yi.wei@uconn.edu

 

Yi Wei is interested in the relationship between rhythmic ability and language skills in both clinical and non-clinical populations (i.e., patients with non-fluent aphasia, and children with developmental dyslexia). My research examines this relationship at both the behavioral and neural levels using sMRI and high density EEG. I am also interested in how to improve rhythm-based music therapy techniques that are currently being used with these populations. Yi is writing her dissertation on a link between rhythmic behavior and reading behavior.

Emma Wing

emma.wing@uconn.edu

 

I work on the mapping between morphosyntax and the mental representation of events in which objects change state. I am interested in how grammatical categories (e.g., different tenses, participles, etc.) activate the content of event representations during sentence comprehension, and how this content changes depending on the syntactic environment.

Henry Wolf Henry Wolf VII

henry.wolf_vii@uconn.edu

 

Henry is now at Facebook.

Research Assistants

Headshot of Leah Azab Leah Azab

leah.azab@uconn.edu

 

Leah Azab is a brainLENS Research Assistant, and an M1 at UConn Health. She is currently assisting in management of the ABCS project, Assessing Baby Cognition and Stress. Her research interests include socioemotional effects of stress in pediatric populations, and she is hoping to pursue her residency in psychiatry.

Elizabeth Burder Elizabeth Burder

elizabeth.bruder@uconn.edu

 

Elizabeth is a research assistant in the brainLENS lab working on the Adult Reading Strategies Project. I have very broad interests in the brain, including mental and neurocognitive disorders.

Anna Ciriello Anna Ciriello

anna.ciriello@uconn.edu

Anna Ciriello is a research assistant in the brainLENS Lab and Coordinator for the UConn Brain Imaging Research center under PI Dr. Fumiko Hoeft. Her research interests include neural circuitry in language acquisition in children with autism, as well as neuroimaging techniques used for earlier diagnoses of ASD. She hopes to get her PhD in developmental neuroscience.

Headshot of Cristal Giorio Cristal Giorio

cristal.giorio_jackson@uconn.edu

 

Cristal Giorio is the lab manager at the LAB Lab. Cristal received her B.S. in Biology, Psychology, and Spanish Literature from Salem College. Her research interests revolve around second language acquisition and language processing alongside neuroimaging techniques. 

Headshot of Salman Haider Salman Haider

muhammad_salman.haider@uconn.edu

 

Salman Haider is a Research Assistant in the BRAINLens lab and is involved with the BRAIN Camp Project and the Brain Growth Project. His research interests broadly include cognitive science and applying computational approaches such as Machine Learning to neuroimaging data to predict the outcome of dyslexia.

Headshot of Brianna Kinnie Brianna Kinnie

brianna.kinnie@uconn.edu

 

Brianna is a study coordinator in the brainLENS lab for both the Adult Reading Strategies Program and the Family Brain Program.  She has a broad interest in the neurological basis of mental, developmental, and neurodegenerative disorders/diseases and hopes to enter an MD/PhD program in neuroscience in the upcoming year.