Our Team

Richard Aslin, PhD

Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories

Prior to joining Haskins in 2017 Dr. Richard Aslin was on the faculty at the University of Rochester for 33 years, where he established the Rochester Baby Lab. Dr. Aslin’s work focuses on perceptual and motor systems, language acquisition, and statistical learning. His work on statistical learning showed that infants can understand structure from rapid streams of speech or images by simple exposure. More recent work has shown that infants direct their attention to auditory and visual cues that have an intermediate level of complexity. Dr. Aslin primarily focuses on studies utilizing fMRI, EEG, and fNIRS. Dr. Aslin has been the recipient of several major awards, including the APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award (2014) and the APS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement (2015), and several honors, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006) and the National Academy of Sciences (2013).

In his spare time he enjoys cycling and completes at least one multi-day ride each year in the Rocky mountains or the French alps.


David Lewkowicz, PhD

Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories

Prior to joining Haskins Laboratories as a Senior Scientist in June, 2019, Dr. Lewkowicz was a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Northeastern University in Boston. At Northeastern, he directed the Communication Development Laboratory where he conducted studies on the development of speech and language in infants and young children. Through his studies, Dr. Lewkowicz and his students discovered that babies begin lipreading just as they begin babbling and this discovery has paved the way for the current studies in the lab investigating how early lipreading contributes to the acquisition of speech and language in infancy and beyond. Dr. Lewkowicz has been recognized for his contributions to developmental science and psychology with election as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association and has served as President of the International Congress on Infant Studies.

Outside the lab, Dr. Lewkowicz enjoys traveling, hiking, birdwatching, and reading.


Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Claire Kabdebon, Ph.D.

Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow

My research focuses on the developmental origins of our uniquely human ability to decipher and use natural language. What sort of learning mechanisms and brain architecture allow infants to discover, with such ease and speed the meaning of words or the underlying syntax of their native language? To answer this question, I use two non-invasive brain imaging techniques: electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) with young infants. These techniques provide a direct window onto the dynamics and functional organization of the developing mind.

Favorite childhood book? La Famille Passiflore

What did you want to be when you were a child? Clown

What’s your favorite cartoon character? The Lion King

Email me: claire.kabdebon@gmail.com


Sara Sanchez-Alonso, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

My overarching research focus is on human language. Language is a core human capacity that is acquired effortlessly after birth and drives long-lasting changes in brain structure and function. Yet, despite its crucial role in human experience, there is a lack of understanding of language neurobiology. Specifically, I investigate the intrinsic functional architecture supporting human language, how it develops, and how the brain supports unique computations allowing the formation of complex language processes. Furthermore, I am interested in understanding how these brain patterns differ in people who speak more than one language and the changes associated with multilingualism across developmental stages. Finally, my work translates basic insights from neurolinguistics to define neuromarkers associated with abnormal language development and processing.

Favorite childhood book? The Year at Maple Hill Farm

What did you want to be when you were a child? A teacher

What’s your favorite cartoon character? The Little Mermaid

Email me: sara.sanchez.alonso@yale.edu

Graduate Students

Elizabeth SImmons

My research, broadly defined, evaluates how very young children learn and comprehend spoken words. I utilize psycholinguistic methods such as the visual world paradigm and eye-tracking to better understand how infants and toddlers process the acoustic-phonetic detail in the speech signal. My work translates basic science procedures to clinical populations, including toddlers with language delay, in order to develop more sensitive metrics for diagnosing and treating childhood language impairments.

Favorite childhood book? The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

What did you want to be when you were a child? An artist

What’s your favorite cartoon character? She-Ra

Email me: elizabeth.a.simmons@uconn.edu


Lena Skalaban

Infants and children are prodigious learners, but as adults we forget much of our early autobiographical experiences prior to age 2 or 3: a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia. My research focuses on understanding this and other examples of episodic forgetting throughout development, and whether there are differences in the content of information we remember in infancy, adolescence and adulthood. I utilize neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and EEG to understand how memories might be reactivated and replayed in the brain even in the absence of an explicit task or awareness and how this might be linked to consolidation or forgetting of memories. I also utilize eyetracking and behavioral paradigms to explore what type of contextual information infants are interested in exploring/looking at and whether that predicts subsequent memory.

Favorite childhood book? ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ bt Madeleine L’Engle

What did you want to be when you were a child? An astronaut or a Jedi. Or both.

What’s your favorite cartoon character? Batman


Research Staff

Rebecca Canale

Lab Manager for Dr. Richard Aslin

Favorite childhood book? Geronimo Stilton

What did you want to be when you were a child? Pediatrician 

What’s your favorite cartoon character? SpongeBob Squarepants

Email me: rebecca.canale@yale.edu


Nicole Cuneo

Lab Manager for Dr. David Lewkowicz

Favorite childhood book? Strega Nona

What did you want to be when you were a child? A teacher

What’s your favorite cartoon character? Rugrats

Email me: nicole.cuneo@yale.edu


Alice Wang

Lab Manager for Dr. Richard Aslin

Favorite childhood book? If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

What did you want to be when you were a child? The moon

What’s your favorite cartoon character? Journey to the West

Email me: alice.f.wang@yale.edu



Our Collaborators

Maria Arredando, University of Texas- Austin, maria.arredondo@austin.utexas.edu

Laurie Bayet, American University, lauriebayet@gmail.com

Alexis Black, University of British Columbia alexis.black@audiospeech.ubc.ca

Vik Bejjanki, Hamilton College, bejjanki@hamilton.edu

Lauren Emberson, Princeton University, lauren.emberson@gmail.com

Jozsef Fiser, Central European University (Budapest), fiserj@ceu.edu

Bob McMurray, University of Iowa, bob-mcmurray@uiowa.edu

Charles Nelson, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard, charles.nelson@childrens.harvard.edu

Elissa Newport, Georgetown University, eln10@georgetown.edu

Monica Rosenberg, University of Chicago, mdrosenberg@uchicago.edu

Shinmin Wang, National Taiwan Normal University, s.wang.psy@gmail.com

Dan Weiss, Penn State University, djw21@psu.edu

Ben Zinszer. University of Delaware, bzinszer@gmail.com

Check out some of our team pictures!