Great people doing amazing work is what makes NCIL. Here’s who we are:


Aaron Newman

Lab Director - Aaron is an Associate Professor in Psychology, Psychiatry, Surgery, and Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. He is a member of the Brain Repair Centre, and is on the Scientific Staff of the QEII Hospital and the IWK Health Centre.

Morgan Johnson

Lab Manager, Research Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator - Morgan received her BSc in Neuroscience and is currently working part-time to get her MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement. As the lab manager, she is responsible for the lab running smoothly! She is also involved in aphasia research and coordinates the undergraduate volunteers who work in the lab.
If you are interested in volunteering in our lab, or want to know more about NCIL, please email Morgan at or give us a call at (902)494-1911

Antoine Tremblay

Postdoctoral Fellow - Antoine received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Alberta and is now a SSHRC-funded postdoc. The overarching goal of my research is to characterize the 3D, 4D+ spatio-temporal dynamics of brain activity during picture, scene, and video clip naming and describing, a well as during free unconstrained conversation using generalized additive mixed-effects modeling (GAMM) and conditional inference random forest (CForest) based on EEG, MEG, and DTI data. Specific research projects include (but are not limited to): * Project "CForest Modelling of Brain Imaging Data"
  • Optimize machine learning fitting parameters for the analysis of brain imaging data'
* Project "Brain Imaging Data in R"
  • Write and test R packages for the pre-processing, analysis, and visualization of EEG, MEG, and DTI data
* Project "Building Blocks of Language"
  • Determine the spatio-temporal dynamics of activity (on the scalp and/or in the brain) during the pre-production and production stages of overt and covert simple picture, scene, and video clip naming and describing (MEG & DTI)
  • Investigate how item- and subject-level variables modulate this activity
  • Determine what are the building blocks of language (morphemes, words, word N-grams of various lengths, complete phrases, etc.) using MEG and DTI
* Project "Neuro-linguistic Corpus of Canadian French and English"
  • Characterize brain activity during free conversation between two people during comprehension as well as the pre-production and production stages (MEG, DTI, & EEG)
  • Investigate how item- and subject-level variables modulate this activity
  • Investigate lexical frequency and sentential position effects on the N400 during comprehension in free unconstrained conversation.

Kaitlyn Tagarelli

Postdoctoral Fellow - Kaitlyn received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University. She uses fMRI, ERP, and behavioral methods to study the cognitive neuroscience of language, especially second language acquisition and bilingualism. Part of her postdoctoral work involves collaborating with Copernicus Labs to develop evidence-based educational mobile apps for early literacy and language learning.

Lisa Beck

MSc Student - Lisa is a graduate student in the Speech-language Pathology program. Last year, she completed her undergraduate honours thesis in the NCIL, which investigated the influence of individual differences in cognitive ability on MEG measures of sentence processing. Lisa is currently involved in research that aims to develop a novel rehabilitative technique for individuals with aphasia. 

Michael Lawrence

PhD Student - Mike is a PhD student in the experimental psychology program, working with the NCIL to apply cutting-edge signal processing and statistical techniques to the study of human error processing in the context of both Flanker and Simon conflict.

Emily McGuire

MSc Student -  Emily is a Masters student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. She is currently a dysphagia intern at the Halifax Infirmary. Her research in the NCIL lab is focused on how learning ASL may affect how the brain processes both meaningful and non-meaningful gesture.

Sean McWhinney

PhD Student - Sean is a graduate student in the Psychology-Neuroscience program . In his Master's research he used functional neuroimaging to model language processing in the brain for patients with epilepsy. His current research uses multiple imaging methods to investigate neuroplasticity.

Ali Muise-Hennessey

PhD Student - Ali is a PhD student who previously worked as a MSc student and a Research Assistant in the lab. Her research uses functional MRI in cochlear implantation surgery candidates to determine whether biological motion can serve as a predictor of surgery success rates. She is in the RADIANT neurotechnology commercialization program.

Kiera O'Neil

PhD student - Kiera is a PhD student who previously worked as a MSc student in the lab. She hails from Winnipeg, MB and is currently a student in the RADIANT program. She is working on short-term second language training studies using the prototype video game LANGA, being developed by Copernicus Studios.
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Emily Patrick

MSc Student -  Emily is from Ottawa, ON and is a new graduate student in the psychology/neuroscience program, and in the RADIANT program. Her research will focus on the changes that occur in the brain during American Sign Language (ASL) acquisition. She has been learning ASL for the past two years and is eager to continue. Emily is looking forward to learning about and working with various neuroimaging techniques during her time in the NCIL.

Francesco Usai

PhD Student - Francesco is a PhD student enrolled in both the interdisciplinary program in Psychology/Neuroscience and RADIANT. His main interests span from the basis of language acquisition and processing to the investigation of language disorders, with a special focus on novel and more effective rehabilitation techniques. He will be mainly involved in adapting LANGA (an online, gamified second language training software) for aphasia treatment and in testing its efficacy.

Erin Dempsey

Undergraduate Student – Erin is working on her second BA and is a third year Psychology major.  She is presently conducting an independent research project in the NCIL, investigating the effects of an eight-week meditation course on creative thinking abilities. After she graduates (again) she wishes to pursue more education (again). 

Kelsey Holt

Honours Student – Привет! Kelsey is a fourth year undergraduate student completing a combined honours thesis in Neuroscience and Russian Studies. Her project is examining orthographic interference between the English and Russian languages. In addition to her academics, she is a member of the Dalhousie University Russian Society, women's rugby team, Dalhousie Swing Dance Society, and the campus medical response team.  

Jill Bray

Lab Manager - Jill was responsible for making sure everything ran smoothly in the lab. She was affectionately referred to as the "lab mom". She now has a brand new job and we wish her the best!

Graham Flick

Honours Student – Graham was an honours student in the Neuroscience program. He worked on an MEG study investigating speech production, and an EEG study of evaluative conditioning in branding and advertising.  

Sreejith Gopalakrishnan

GMSc Student - Sreejith was a Master's student in the Computer Science department at Dalhousie University. He was interested in the application of machine learning and data mining techniques in neuroscience to predict the language learning performance. He has worked as a Research Assistant in the Institute for Big Data Analytics lab in Dalhousie University. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, Sreejith was working with 'Infosys Limited' in India, for three years in the Microsoft Business Intelligence department. 

Ryan Wilson

PhD Student, Clinical Psychology - Ryan's current research interests are focused on improving people's working memory ability through training them to ignore irrelevant, and often distracting, information and focussing only on the critical information in a visual scene. He is also interested in understanding the underlying neurophysiological processes that  are affected by this type of training. He has conducted research in other areas such as aphasia therapy, colour perception and memory, binocular vision, reaching and grasping, and protein expression in avian models of learning.  

Heath Matheson

Postdoctoral fellow - Heath was a postdoc in Dr. Shannon Johnson's lab, collaborating with NCIL on a project related to face perception in autism. He has now moved on to expand his training in fMRI with Dr. Sharon Thompson-Schill at the University of Pennsylvania where he is studying the neural basis of conceptual representations.

Therese Chevalier

Postdoctoral fellow - Therese was a PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program. She worked on a project that compared deaf and normally hearing individuals using DTI to examine structural changes that occur in the brain in response to auditory deprivation. She also worked on a treatment study using TMS as a supplementary treatment for aphasia following stroke.

Katharina Bulles

Exchange Student - Katharina is a third year Psychology BA exchange student from the Netherlands. Presently, she is conducting an independent research project in the NCIL, investigating individual differences in language processing in native English speakers. After finishing her final year of BA, she plans continuing with a Master’s degree in Neuropsychology in Maastricht.

Marie-Elssa Morency

Honours Student - Marie-Elssa was a Neuroscience honours student. Her thesis research involves developing and testing fMRI language mapping paradigms optimized for pediatric populations. Marie-Elssa attended Maastricht University in the Netherlands in her third year through the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience's exchange program, and plans to go back for her Master's degree. She is also an avid photographer and active in the Rotaract Club.

Andrea Civitarese

Project Student - Andrea hails from Calgary, AB and is completing her degree in Neuroscience. She is helping to develop and test fMRI language mapping paradigms optimized for pediatric populations. 

Anne Johnson

Research Assistant - Anne has a MSc in Linguistics from the University of Toronto and worked for IBM before coming to NCIL. She is applying her Linguistics training to studies of speech production and becoming adept in EEG and MEG research.

Amit Bansal

Visiting Graduate Student – University of Oslo - Amit is pursuing Graduate Certificate in Translational NeuroTechnology at Dalhousie University. Supervised by Dr. Newman, he is conducting a study to determine whether playing certain computer games can improve adult cochlear implant and hearing aid users’ memory, attention, and hearing.

Kate Thompson

PhD Student - Kate is a PhD student in the experimental program. She is completing a comprehensive project investigating the neural correlates of second language acquisition in the lab. Her primary supervisor is Tracy Taylor-Helmick, and her main area of research focuses on memory and attention.

Vivian Eng

BSc (hons), 2013 - Vivian hails from Malaysia and has completed her BSc (Honours) in Psychology at Dal. She currently works as a research assistant in Signapore and plans on doing her PhD in Malaysia. When not befuddled by cultural references, she enjoys sci-fi, travelling and a good conversation. Her honours thesis tested LANGA, a set of video games to teach second languages that was developed by Copernicus Studios, Inc..

Max Hauser

MSc Exchange Student, Maastricht University - Max is working on a MEG study of second language acquisition using LANGA.

Julia Fuchs

Research Assistant - Julia completed her MSc in Psychology at the Saarland University in Germany. Before moving on to a clinical and doctoral training programme she welcomed the work at NCIL to gain practical experience in neuroscientific research methods.

Amanda Williams

PhD Student - Amanda is a PhD student in the experimental psychology program. She worked on a comprehensive project using fMRI to map patterns of language activation across different tasks related to speaking, reading, and listening in children. Her primary supervisor is Dr. Chris Moore, and her main area of study is prosocial development in children.

Emily Jarvis

Research Assistant  - Emily has just finished the second year of her Psychology degree at Mount Allison University. She was a recipient of a RADIANT Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work and learn in the lab over the summer of 2013.

Chris Cowper-Smith

PhD - Chris is finishing his PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie, as well as launching the med-tech startup company Spring Loaded. His research is broadly focused on the control of motor behaviour and has experience using a variety of behavioural (e.g. eye tracking & motion kinematics) and neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, DTI, & EEG).

Jonathan Fawcett

PhD 2012 - Jon is currently a postdoc with Dr. Michael Anderson at Cambridge University in the UK. 

Erin Mazerolle

PhD 2012 - Erin is currently a postdoc with Dr. Bruce Pike at the University of Calgary.

Lauren Dunphy

Graduated Honours Student - 2012 - Lauren was a double honours Psychology and Economics student. After completing a MSc in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, she is returning to NCIL to work as a Research Assistant!

Lu Han

 Graduated Undergrad Student - 2012  

Lindsay Taylor

Summer Research Assitant (RADIANT SURF fellowship), 2012  

Cassie Taylor

Honours Student, graduated 2012 - Cassie did her Neuroscience honours thesis working on functional connectivity in reading.

Sarah Anschutz

Exchange Student, 2011

Ramz Aziz

Volunteer Student, 2011-2012 - Ramz is an aspiring medical researcher who has a thirst for knowledge and all things unknown. When not playing with motion capture equipment and creating point-light ASL stimuli, he is occupied with running a number of Dal societies and looking for new ways to make an explosive impact in the community.

Hazlin Zaini

Research assistant and lab mom. After leaving NCIL, Hazlin completed her Master's in Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Nicole White

Honours Student - 2010. After leaving NCIL, Nicole went to the University of Toronto where she is completing her PhD in Psychology.

Janet Green

Graduated Honours Student - 2009. After graduating from NCIL, Janet obtained a MSc in Psychology from York University then returned to Dalhousie where she now works in the Laboratory for Brain Recovery and Function.

Heather O'Rourke

Graduated Honours Student - 2009. Heather went on to complete her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology

Sarah Massoud

Graduated Honours Student -  2009

Nathan Smith

Summer research student (NSERC USRA)  2008

Jonathan Dobbelsteyn

Graduated Honours Student -  2009

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