Lab Alumni

Graduate Students and Postdocs
Chenglin Lou Kaitlyn Parks
Kaitlyn graduated with a PhD in Psychology in 2023. Her research focuses on how children with language difficulties learn patterns in their environment and how this relates to broader language and social skills. She completed her MSc in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and her BSc in Psychology at Trent University.
Chenglin Lou Chenglin Lou
Chenglin graduated with a Ph.D. in the Cognitive, Developmental and Brain Sciences program in 2023. He is interested in searching neurological origins of reading disabilities (RD) by using multi-modal MR imaging. His research focuses on structural connections, functional activation and their associations with various reading skills in children with and without RD. He received his Master’s degree in psychology from Shaanxi Normal University.
Leah Brainin Leah Brainin (she/her)
Leah graduate with a PhD in cognitive psychology in 2023. She uses artificial languages with neuroimaging techniques such as functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to examine the neural bases of language learning. Leah's research focuses on age-related language learning differences as a product of neural maturation and development of non-linguistic cognitive processes such as memory and attention. Prior to completing her M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, Leah completed her bachelor's degree in Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Lien Peters Lien Peters

Lien was a BMI postdoctoral fellow working with Daniel Ansari and Marc Joanisse. She is interested in understanding how children develop arithmetic skills, and which neurocognitive and environmental mechanisms underlie the overlap between reading and arithmetic. She completed her PhD in Psychology in 2016 at the University of Leuven in Belgium, where she investigated the neural correlates of learning disorders such as dyslexia and dyscalculia. She uses both behavioral and brain imaging methods.

Dr. Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden

Christina is a BMI postdoctoral fellow working with Jessica Grahn and Marc Joanisse to examine how children with and without dyslexia neurally entrain to speech and song. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. There, her research examined how music and language are processed throughout the lifespan, with a particular focus on the acoustic characteristics that differentiate speech and song. She also examined auditory scene processing in childhood by characterizing factors involved in change deafness, the auditory analogue of change blindness. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
Personal web page

Dr. Pan Liu Pan Liu, PhD.

Pan came to Western in 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow with the support of Western Cognitive Neuroscience Postdoctoral Fund and later the BrainsCAN Fellowship. Before coming to Western, she received her PhD degree from McGill University in 2015, and completed a two-year postdoctoral training at the Pennsylvania State University. Co-supervised by Drs. Elizabeth Hayden and Marc Joanisse, her research interests lie in the broad domains of developmental cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychopathology, with a particular focus on how neurocognitive processing of socioemotional information contributes to the development of youth internalizing psychopathology.  She is now at North Dakota State University.

Dr. Mojtaba Soltanlou Mojtaba Soltanlou, PhD.

Mojtaba was a Tier 1 BrainsCAN postdoctoral fellow working with Daniel Ansari and Marc Joanisse. He is interested in understanding how children acquire numerical knowledge in early development and why some children experience difficulties in acquiring knowledge and cognitive skills. He completed his PhD in Neuroscience in 2017 at the University of Tuebingen, Germany, where he investigated the neural and behavioral correlates of arithmetic development and learning in children. He uses a variety of neuroimaging techniques specially fNIRS, and his research is guided by the principles of Open Science.  He is now at the University of Surrey.

Dr. Melissa Troyer Melissa Troyer, PhD.

Melissa was a postdoctoral fellow through the BrainsCAN initiative at Western. She received her PhD in cognitive science at UCSD doing research at the language-knowledge interface using both electrophysiological and behavioral measures. Her research focuses on individual differences in (domain) knowledge and how they shape information processing and comprehension in real time during reading. She is now a Beckman Fellow at the University of Illinois.
Personal website

Dr. Alex Cross Alex Cross, PhD.

Alex received her Ph.D in Speech-Language Pathology.  Her research focuses on reading ability in children and its association with structural and functional connectivity in the brain. She completed her M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and her B.Sc.H. in Psychology at Queen’s University.

Dr. Jiangtian Li Jiangtian Li, PhD.
Li received his Ph.D in Philosophy investigating natural language semantics. His research is about how different senses of polysemous words are represented, processed and acquired by human beings. One of his research projects is investigating how sense similarities affect processing difficulties. His work involves different methodologies ranging from distributional semantic models, formal semantics to psycholinguistic experiments. 
Dr. Felix Desmeules-Trudel Félix Desmeules-Trudel, PhD.

Félix is a postdoctoral fellow from the Fonds québécois de recherche – Société et culture. He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa in 2018, investigating sound and word processing in a first and a second language. He also conducted research on language processing in children, especially word recognition with monolinguals and bilinguals, and phonetics in a variety of languages. His current projects investigate the factors that contribute to efficient learning of foreign sounds and words in a second language, using eye tracking and electrophysiological (ERPs) measures.  Félix is currently a Knowledge Mobilization Specialist at Research Impact Canada.
Personal web page

Dr. Nicolette Noonan Nicolette Armstrong, PhD.
Nicolette’s research in the LRCN lab focused on exploring the process of statistical language learning. Using behavioural, clinical, and neuro-imaging approaches, she investigated whether statistical learning relies on domain-general cognitive process or language-specific processes. Part of her research focused on what differentiates a typical language learner from someone with a language learning impairment, and how statistical learning abilities contribute to these differences. 

Dr. Emily Nichols Emily Nichols, Ph.D.
Emily is now a Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Soddu in the BrainLab.  She obtained her Ph.D in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and her B.Sc. in Neuroscience from Dalhousie University.
Personal web page
Dr. Veronica Whitford Veronica Whitford, Ph.D
Veronica is a post-doctoral research fellow who has received a Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FQRNT) grant to examine the behavioural and neural correlates of first- and second-language (L1, L2) reading processes in bilingual school-aged children. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from McGill University, where she examined how individual differences in L2 knowledge and use impact L2, and more interestingly, L1 reading processes in bilinguals across the adult life-span (i.e., 18-60+ years). She also has work examining cognitive (e.g., executive function) and perceptual processing (e.g., oculomotor control) in populations with reading deficits, including schizophrenia and dyslexia. 
Personal web page

Dr. Jeff Malins Jeff Malins, Ph.D.
Jeff earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience working on processing of phonemic and tonal contrasts in speakers of Mandarin Chinese.

Dr. Laura Westmaas Laura Westmaas, Ph.D.
Laura earned her Ph.D. in psychology. Her research examined ERP correlates of complex word processing. She previously obtained her Bachelor's degree from the University of Windsor.

Diedre Desouza Diedre Desouza
Diedre, an M.Sc. student in Neuroscience, worked on analyzing the hierarchial organization of human auditory cortex. She obtained her B.HSc. degree in Health Science from Western University.

Kathy Maxwell Kathy Maxwell, M.Sc.
Kathy studied reading development in Deaf sign language users.

Dr. Amy Desroches Amy Desroches, Ph.D.
Studied auditory word recognition and phonetic processing in language and reading disorders using eye-tracking; Reading development, speech perception and phonological awareness in school-age children. She completed a postdoc at Northwestern University, using fMRI to study reading development in children.

Dr. Aneta Kielar Aneta Kielar, Ph.D.
Aneta's research examined representations of inflectional and derivational morphology using priming and ERP techniques as well as fMRI. She also studied individual differences in working memory and sentence comprehension. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, studying fMRI and aphasia.

no photo Allison Andres
Allison completed her Masters degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2008. She was co-supervised by Dr. Janis Cardy in CSD, and Dr. Joanisse in Psychology. Her research examines audio-visual integration of speech sounds using ERPs.

Dr. Randy Newman Randy Newman, Ph.D.
Randy received her PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Dalhousie University. She utilizes event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brain mechanisms underlying reading and speech perception. While at Western she was studying the activation of phonological representations during both visual and spoken word recognition. Randy is currently an Assistant Professor at Acadia University.

Dr. Erin Robertson Erin Robertson, Ph.D.
Erin received her Ph.D. from UWO in 2007. Her graduate work involved comparing language- and reading-impaired children on phonological processing, past tense morphology, syntax, verbal working memory and speech perception. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UQAM studying language development in infancy.

Visiting Students
CuiCui Wang CuiCui Wang
CuiCui Wang was a visiting PhD candidate student from Beijing Normal University.  She is looking at neural differences between Monolingual English speakers and Bilingual Chinese and Spanish speakers in terms of English second language reading. 

Adrian Jodzio Adrian Jodzio
Adrian Jodzio is a second year PhD student at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (Nijmegen, Netherlands). His work centers on the neural dynamics of word production. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) he probes brain areas underlying word production at various time points during the process. Adrian received an Honors Specialization in Kinesiology (BSc) at the Western University after which he made his way to the Donders Institute where he completed his MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. Thanks to a Donders-BMI exchange grant, Adrian was able to return to Western and is now collaborating with Marc Joanisse to investigate the neural underpinnings of word reading.

Sofia Fregni Sofia Fregni
Sofia is a last-year master’s student at the Donders Institute in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She is interested in the neural mechanisms underpinning language comprehension, with a special remark on figurative language processing. She uses functional MRI to investigate the extent to which different brain networks might be involved in processing linguistic stimuli. 

Sofia visited the Joanisse lab for two months, during which she brought two new techniques to the lab’s data preprocessing pipeline: the BIDS format of raw data, and the use of fmriprep for data preprocessing. At present, she is still collaborating with the lab in a project aimed at disentangling first and second language representations in the bilingual brain via RSA (Representational Similarity Analysis) on fMRI and DTI data.

RAs, Honours Students and Volunteers
Krystal Flemming Krystal Flemming, M.Sc.
Krystal was former a research assistant and lab manager for Dr. Marc Joanisse.  She earned her Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Toronto and her Masters of Science in Psychology from the University of Liverpool. She hopes to pursue research-based work in the field of language development.
Chengran Li Chengran Li
Chengran was an undergraduate student in psychology. He completed his honour thesis in the lab. He was interested in how different cognitive systems communicate and cooperate with each other. He wants to pursue a career in cognitive psychology research in the future.
Geetha Samy Geetha Samy
Geetha was an undergraduate thesis student at Western University, completing an Honours Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and a Minor in Dance. She was interested in the neurocognitive bases of language development and impairment.
Si Yuan Pan Si Yuan Pan
Si Yuan was a fourth-year undergraduate student enrolled in the physiology and pharmacology module of the medical sciences program. He has a strong interest in learning how language develops over the course of one's life, and how it is mapped throughout the brain. In the future, he hopes to specialize in the neuroscience field.
Alyssa Yantsis Alyssa Yantsis
Alyssa received her BSc in Medical Sciences. She is also a student of Western’s Scholar’s Electives program, which provides students with a unique educational experience to academic enrichment through interdisciplinary research-based learning. Her interests include pursuing research in language development. She is now a student at the Unviersity of Toronto.

Alex McArthur Alex McArthur

Alex was an undergraduate thesis student in the developmental cognitive neuroscience and applied statistics programs. His work involves comparing ERP responses to first- and second-language words in children and adults.  He is now a graduate student at the University of Toronto.

Jasmine Modasi Jasmine Modasi

Jasmine wass an undergraduate thesis student currently in her fourth year of an Honours Bachelor of Science with a Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.

Jessica Lammert Jessica Lammert
Jessica was a former research assistant of Dr. Marc Joanisse's, now working on her Masters with Dr. Blake Butler examing neural correlates of deafness. In 2018, she completed her Bachelor's degree with an Honors Specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at Western University where she examined the structural brain correlates of reading skills in children with Dr. Joanisse. 

Maria Leis Maria Leis
Maria worked as a research assistant for Dr. Marc Joanisse. She completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts at McGill University, where she investigated: i) the associations between symptoms of depression, anxiety, aggression and sensitivity to vocal cues of socio-emotional expressions, and; ii) a model of prenatal maternal stress, dermatoglyphic markers, changing hippocampal volumes and psychotic-like symptoms in adolescence. She has moved on to her medical studies at the University of Toronto.
Stephanie Hosang Stephanie Hosang
Stephanie Hosang worked as a research assistant to Dr. Marc Joanisse. She completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Western University. In her undergraduate career, she worked under Dr. Matthew Heath to investigate the processing of tactile information via perception- and action-based streams.
Alexandria Thornton Alexandria Thornton
Allie was a fourth year student doing an Honours Specialization in Psychology and a Minor in Linguistics. She completed her undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Dr. Marc Joanisse, examining brain correlates of reading comprehension skills in children.
Meghan Vollebregt Meghan Vollebregt
Meghan worked as a research assistant in the LRCN lab. She completed her B.A. in Psychology from Brescia and in her final year conducted an undergraduate thesis looking at the role of executive function in the suppression mechanism of language.
Melissa Liu Melissa Liu
Melissa was a fourth year student in Physiology and Pharmacology. She was currently completing her undergraduate honours thesis examining the structural correlates of second language acquisition and proficiency in bilingual adults.
Amanda Martino Amanda Martino
Amanda was a fourth year student completing her honours specialization in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. She went on to complete her honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Veronica Whitford in the Brain and Mind Institute. Specifically, she wass looking at reading comprehension differences in monolingual and bilingual children. She plans to pursue a career in Speech-Language Pathology.
Jennifer Hoshooley Jennifer Hoshooley, Ph.D.
Research Associate. Jennifer obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Western examining neuroplasticity in the adult brain and was involved in various projects in the lab.
Kate Bryant Kate Bryant
Lab manager/research assistant.
Ashlyn Swift Gallant Ashlyn Swift-Gallant
Research assistant.
Janet Aucoin Janet Aucoin
Current position: Graduate student in Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Rachel Rabi Rachel Rabi
Rachel was a fourth year honours student in psychology, working on nonword repetition and short-term memory.
Melany Shepherd Melany Shepherd
Melany investigated the relationships between working memory, categorical perception, and performance on nonword repetition tasks in children with language impairment. She went on to her graduate studies in Speech Pathology at the University of Toronto.
Jessica Taylor Jessica Taylor
Jessica worked with us examining the relationship between children's knowledge of reading and math.
Stephanie Neilson Stephanie Neilson
Stephanie investigated categorical perception in children with dyslexia using eyetracking. She went on to her graduate studies in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Toronto.
Blair Armstrong Blair Armstrong
Blair was an NSERC summer student working on connectionist modeling of speech processing. He went on to his graduate studies at Carnegie Melon University.
Jared Berman Jared Berman
Jared volunteered in our lab for two years. He went on to his graduate studies at the University of Calgary.
no photo Heather Beatton, B.A.
Heather's honours thesis project studied irregular past tense development in preschoolers.
Ali Terry Ali Terry, B.A.
Ali's Honours Psychology project focused on the reading and language abilities of normal, reading impaired and language impaired children. She now works at a speech-language pathologist.
no photo Hannah Gordon, B.A.
Hannah's project examined categorical perception of speech and nonspeech sounds in adults using evoked potentials. She went on to her graduate studies in Health Sciences at UWO.
Rachel Millard Rachel Millard, B.A.
Rachael examined the predictiveness of rapid automatized naming (RAN) to pre-reading abilities such as phonology and orthography, as measured by rhyming and letter naming. She went on to her second year of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UWO.
Ed O'Neil Ed O'Neil
Ed was a third year undergraduate workstudy student. He also completed his graduate studies in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience in the Psychology Department at UWO.
Katherine Freeman Katherine Freeman, B.A.
Katherine worked on an ERP study investigating how English past tense morphology is processed and represented in the brain. She moved onto her Master's of Social Work at the University of Toronto.
Natasha Gomes Natasha Gomes, B.A.
Natasha's honors thesis looked at the factors that influence reading achievement in elementary school aged children, including phonological awareness, language skills, working memory, previous experiences and socioeconomic status.

Stella Ng Stella Ng, B.A.
Stella studied speech perception and reading ability in children with sensorineural hearing loss. She has since trained in audiology, and was working on her Ph.D. in Health Sciences.
Carol Ann Williamson Carol Ann Williamson, B.A.
Carol Ann's honors thesis explored the factors that promote exceptional reading. She examined language skills, phonological awareness and reading skills in elementary school aged children. She went onto complete Teacher's College at Lakehead University.
no photo Nicole Ferreira
Nicole worked as an RA and before that was a fourth year honours student studying correlations between ERP measures of basic auditory perception and reading ability in school-aged children. She went on to her graduate studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Toronto.
no photo Fahmida Pardhan
Fahmida was an undergraduate student in biology, volunteering in the lab. She went on to her graduate studeies in speech pathology at Case Western Reserve University.