Principal Investigator

Cynthia K. Thompson, Ph.D.
Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor
Frances Searle Building
2240 Campus Drive, Room 3-363
Evanston, IL 60208-2952
Phone: 847-491-2421
Fax: 847-467-7377

Lab Personnel

Elena Barbieri, Ph.D. (University of Milano-Bicocca, 2012)
Research Associate
Joined lab in 2012. Involved in studies investigating the neural correlates of verb processing in healthy speakers and aphasic patients, as well as in examining the effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on the language abilities of patients suffering from primary progressive aphasia (PPA).

Matthew Walenski, Ph.D. (University of California San Diego, 2002)
Research Associate
Joined lab in 2014. My research interests revolve around the roles that different brain regions play in the comprehension and production of language. I am also particularly interested in how these aspects of language unfold in time, using methods that offer a fine-grained temporal sensitivity such as eye-tracking and electroencephalography (EEG) / event-related potentials (ERP).

Mejrima (Mary) Cosic
Project Manager
Joined lab in 2005. Coordinates all lab projects.

Nicole Vieyto, B.S.,B.A. (University of Rochester, 2020)
Research Technician, Aphasia Support Group Co-Leader
Joined the lab in 2020. Involved in clinical treatment & testing of patients, narrative analysis, data management and analysis, and lab outreach. Assists in data collection using behavioral and neuroimaging measures.

Doctoral Candidates

Brianne Chiappetta, B.S. (University of Illinois – Chicago)

Research: Music and language processing, how music and language are represented in the brain, how these processes are similar to or different from each other, and how they interact with memory and attention.


Chien Ju Hsu
Research: Sentence processing deficits in stroke-induced aphasia and Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA).

Doctoral Students


Thomas Sostarics (Graduate Student)

Caitlin Somerville (Undergraduate Research Aide)

Prerita Pandya (Undergraduate Research Aide)

June Cho (Volunteer)

Jessica Yang (Volunteer)

Erin Catherine Marchert (Volunteer)

Rachel Bunke (Volunteer)

Ashley Lynn Backus (Volunteer)


(Year completed Ph.D.)

Eduardo Europa, Ph.D. (2017)
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Sladjana Lukic, Ph.D. (2016)  University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Julia Schuchard, Ph.D. (2015) Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Soojin Cho, Ph.D. (2012) Advance Health Solutions, LLC
Jiyeon Lee, Ph.D. (2011) Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Ellyn Riley, Ph.D. (2011) Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Janet Choy, Ph.D (2010) University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Naomi Hashimoto, Ph.D. (2006) Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Steve Fix, Ph.D. (2005)  Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois
Yasmeen Faroqi-Shah, Ph.D. (2004) University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Swathi Kiran, Ph.D. (2001) Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Mikyong Kim, Ph.D. (2001) University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island
Kirrie J. Ballard, Ph.D. (1997) University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Ruby Drew, Ph.D. (1996) West Carolina University
Sandra L. Schneider, Ph.D. (1996) Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

PostDoctoral Fellows

Jennifer E. Mack, Ph.D. (2011-2018) University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Elena Barbieri, Ph.D. (2012-2017) Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Min Liao, Ph.D. (2015-2016) Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, China
Michaela Nerantzini, Ph.D. (2013-2015) Technological Educational Institution of Western Greece, Patras, Greece
Aya Meltzer-Asscher, Ph.D. (2010-2012) Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Ellyn Riley, CCC-SLP, Ph.D. (2011-2012) Syaracuse University, Syracuse New York
Aneta Kielar, Ph.D. (2009-2011) University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Aaron M. Meyer, Ph.D. (2008-2010) Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia
Dirk-Bart den Ouden, Ph.D. (2006-2010) University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
Steve Fix, Ph.D (2005-2007)  
Borna Bonakdarpour, M.D. (2001-2008) Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
Michael Walsh Dickey, Ph.D. (2000-2007) University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Lisa Milman (2003-2006) Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Miseon Lee, Ph.D. (2000-2003) Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea

Visiting Scholars

Tahera Mohammadi (2019-2020) Tehran
University of Medical Sciences
Haiyan Wang (2019-2020) Qufu Normal University at Rizhao City in China
Patricia Pastoriza-Domínguez, M.A. (2017) Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Tongquan Zhou (2013-2014) Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China
Aya Meltzer-Asscher, Ph.D. (2013-2014) Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
Elena Barbieri (2010-2011) University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
Christina Manouilidtou (2014) University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dorothee Saur, MD (2009-2010) University of Leipzig Medical Center, Leipzig, Germany