Phil Holcomb

Phil Holcomb, Ph.D.

Professor, SDSU School of Speech, Department of Psychology

Seana Coulson

Seana Coulson, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Joint Doctoral Program
Professor, UCSD Department of Cognitive Science

Eileen Pitpitan

Irina Potapova, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Director, Joint Doctoral Program
Clinical Faculty, SDSU School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

SDSU – Active Doctoral Program Faculty

  • Alyson Abel-Mills, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Behavioral and neurophysiological methods to examine 1) word learning, particularly verb learning, and 2) interactions between word learning and other linguistic domains in typically developing children and children with specific language impairment.
  • Crystle Alonzo, PhD, CCC-SLP (Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences) – Child language and literacy development and disorders and the many contextual factors that influence them such as cognitive abilities, linguistic variation, and disparities. Research is focused on advancing the understanding of comprehension models of language and reading to improve assessments and interventions for young children with developmental language disorders and dyslexia. With an emphasis on accessibility, feasibility, and sustainability for practicing clinicians. She is committed to the translation of research into practice and thus also incorporates implementation science frameworks into her research by creating productive and mutually beneficial researcher-practitioner partnerships in our local communities and beyond.
  • Ashkan Ashrafi, Ph.D. (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) – Research focuses on stochastic signal processing, estimation theory, graph signal processing, graph inference algorithms, brain signal analysis, brain functional connectivity, matrix theory and applied linear algebra.
  • Henrike Blumenfeld, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Influence of bilingualism on language and cognition across the lifespan; bilingual aphasia. Behavioral and eye-tracking methodologies.
  • Karen Emmorey, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Research interests include the study of signed languages and how it provides a window into the nature of human language, into the relation between language and spatial cognition, and into the determinants of brain organization for language.
  • Inna Fishman, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Neurocognitive development in early childhood, with a particular focus on neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum and other related disorders with sociocommunicative challenges. Research methods include neuroimaging (functional, diffusion, structural MRI) in combination with clinical neuropsychology tools and behavioral assessments. 
  • Margaret Friend, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Developmental psychology, processes of language comprehension and the developmental relation between language and emotion in communication.
  • Gregory D. Keating, Ph.D. (Linguistics) – Second language acquisition and heritage speaker bilingualism. Focuses on sentence processing in monolingual and bilingual speakers of Spanish and English and the factors that bear upon it, such as individual differences in working memory capacity and age of onset of bilingualism. Research techniques include eye-tracking (with text) and other behavioral techniques. 
  • Tracy Love, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Language processing in both language impaired and language unimpaired child and adult populations. Focuses on examining the nature of the information used during on-going language and cognitive processing.
  • Ksenija Marinkovic, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Spatio-­temporal characteristics of distributed neural circuits underlying cognition with special emphasis on language and cognitive control.  This work focuses on the use of anatomically constrained MEG (aMEG) method which offers insight into the temporal sequence (“when”) of the on-­line dynamics and the functional anatomy (“where”) of the multistage word comprehension process as it unfolds in time.
  • Katherine J. Midgley, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Research interests include the cognitive and neural processes involved in language comprehension and production in monolingual, bilingual and deaf populations as well as those involved in acquiring a vocabulary in a second language.
  • Ralph-Axel Müller, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Brain Development Imaging investigates the plasticity of the brain organization for language in healthy children, children and adults with focal brain lesion, and in patients with autistic disorders.
  • Ignatius Nip, Ph.D. , CCC-SLP (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Speech motor development in typically-developing children and children with motor speech disorders. Relations between speech motor, language, and cognitive skills.
  • Giang Pham, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Speech, Language, and Hearing  Sciences) – Language development and disorders among bilingual children.  Her research interests include first and second-language developmental trajectories, cross-linguistic transfer, ethnic identity, and treatment for bilingual children with language impairment.
  • Sonja Pruitt-Lord, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Child language development in disorders, in particular, language development in the context of linguistic diversity and poverty, detailing the morphosyntactic abilities of children diagnosed with language impairments, and examining the efficacy of prevention models for “at-risk” populations.
  • Stephanie Ries, Ph.D. (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Research focuses on the brain dynamics of control processes in language production in healthy and impaired speakers using behavioral measures, neuropsychology, surface and intracranial electroencephalography and electromyography. Of particular interest are word retrieval and the compensatory mechanisms engaged when this process is altered.
  • Ashley Sanabria, PhD, CCC-SLP (Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences) – The intersection of bilingual language, literacy, and language impairment. Her work addresses assessment, intervention, and observation techniques for this population.
  • Marty Sereno, Ph.D. (Psychology, Director MRI center) – Cortical-surface-based methods for mapping visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor areas in relation to scene understanding and language comprehension. Understanding the architecture of naturally-occurring symbol-using systems via predictive analogy.
  • JoAnn Silkes, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences) – Research focuses on implicit language and cognitive processing in aphasia. In particular, she is interested in understanding language-specific versus domain-general processing impairments in aphasia, the interface between implicit and explicit processing, and methods of improving aphasia treatment by targeting implicit processes directly.

UCSD – Active Doctoral Program Faculty

  • Timothy Brown, Ph.D.(Neuroscience) – Research interests include characterizing developmental changes in the structural and functional organization of the brain from infancy into young adulthood and relating these changes to different aspects of psychological development. A primary goal of this work is to integrate information from across different anatomical and physiological imaging and recording modalities in order to capture multidimensional metrics of distinct developmental phases. Dr. Brown uses multimodal and multidimensional imaging techniques to characterize phases and changes in the growing brain’s anatomy.
  • Leslie Carver, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Research on the brain basis of cognitive and social cognitive development using behavioral and electrophysiological (ERP) measures.
  • Seana Coulson, Ph.D. (Cognitive Science) – Research addresses the cognitive and neural basis of meaning construction using linguistic, behavioral, and electrophysiological (ERP) techniques. Interests include embodied metaphor theory and the comprehension of jokes, sarcasm, and iconic gestures.
  • Sarah Creel, Ph.D. (Cognitive Science) – Uses eye tracking and behavioral methods to examine how typically developing children and adults learn and comprehend language. In particular, she investigates how learners represent sound patterns in language (phonemes, words, accents, voices) and how this changes over time and with exposure to particular languages. Her work also extends into comparing sound pattern learning language to sound pattern learning in music.  
  • Gedeon Deák, Ph.D.(Cognitive Science) – Research interests include cognitive and language development in preschool children including, for example, children’s ability to name or categorize an entity differently across situations, or to shift responses across changing problem. Also, how preschoolers learn the meanings of related words. A third line is infant communication, specifically the emergence and development of episodes of shared attention between infants and caregivers.
  • Victor Ferreira, Ph.D. (Psychology) – Research interests include investigations of the mechanisms of language production, computational and quantitative modeling of cognitive processes, and development of methodological tools for investigation of cognitive and perceptual processes.
  • Marc Garellek, Ph.D. (Linguistics) – Phonetics and laboratory phonology, in particular phonation types or voice quality: the ways in which speakers manipulate their vocal folds to produce sounds, and how listeners perceive these manipulations.
  • Tamar Gollan, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) – Using bilingualism as an experimental tool for revealing the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying proficient language processing. Studies designed to reveal the joint consequences of bilingualism, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease for language production, language comprehension, and cognitive control.
  • Frank Haist, Ph.D. (Psychiatry & Center for Human Development) – Brain basis of language, perception, and social cognition in typically developing child and adult populations, and in populations with neurological impairments. My work uses behavioral assessments together with functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Eric Halgren, Ph.D. (Neurosciences) – Research into the neural mechansisms of language and other cognitive processes, using magnetoencephalography, intracranial recordings in humans, and other techniques.
  • Rachel Mayberry, Ph.D. (Linguistics) – First and second-language acquisition in children and adults with an emphasis on age of acquisition effects on language knowledge and processing. Psycholinguistics of sign language, speech-gesture, and reading development in deaf and hearing populations.
  • Jeanne Townsend, Ph.D. (Neurosciences) – The focus of research is the identification of brain structural and functional correlates of cognitive function, particularly the bases of attentional processes, and developmental changes in these relationships. Employ a variety of methods and techniques including neuropsychological and behavioral testing, neurophysiological recordings (EEG, ERP), structural and functional MR imaging.

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