Our Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. Claude Alain

Dr. Claude Alain is a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute. His research is in the field of cognitive neuroscience and focuses on the brain processes supporting auditory scene analysis. He uses a combination of neuroimaging techniques (e.g., EEG, MEG and fMRI) to investigate which, and how, different brain areas work together when we perceive, attend to and remember auditory objects. He is interested in how these processes changes as we age and how these age-related changes may be impacted by experience such as bilingualism and musicianship. His lab is also investigating the interplay between attention and memory, speech in noise comprehension and new EEG measures of perception and cognition for possible clinical applications. He has mentored and continue to train students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world, with many of his trainees having successfully moved on to careers in academic or health care facilities.

Cross-Appointments

  • Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto
  • Music and Health Sciences, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
  • School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Memphis, Tennessee
To view a full list of his publications, visit his Rotman Research profile here.

Research Fellows

Lei lab photo

Dr. Lei Zhang

Lei is a postdoctoral fellow working with Claude Alain. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience in 2023. His research interests lie in auditory processing, specifically speech and music, and multimodal influences (e.g., visual, motor information) on them through using different techniques like EEG, MRI, and psychophysics. He is also investigating how musical training and aging interactively influence auditory processing. When he is not in the lab, he will make some noise with his violin and go sightseeing in both the real and the fantasy world. To view his publications, please see here.

Graduate Students

Mello Mo

Phd Student in the Medical Sciences Program at the University of Toronto

Maxiime lab photo

Maxime Perron

Maxime is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the laboratory, he completed a master’s degree in Clinical and Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Rehabilitation at Université Laval, in which he studied the structural neuroplasticity induced by amateur singing and its effects on speech-in-noise in aging. Currently, his doctoral projects focus on the impact of hearing loss and hearing devices on auditory perception, cognitive processing, and brain function in older adults using behavioural, EEG, and MRI methods. When Maxime is not in the lab, he enjoys baking, playing board games and spending time with friends. To view his publications, please see here.

Veronica Vuong

Veronica is a PhD student in Medical Science and a research coordinator at the Music and Health Science Research Collaboratory, University of Toronto. Through her research, she aims to use various neuroimaging techniques to gain a greater understanding of the neural mechanisms by which long-known music listening may promote changes in the brain and result in cognitive improvements, such as memory, in persons with dementia. Veronica is a professional musician (pianist) and enjoys travelling, hiking, gardening, art, and exploring new and diverse food.

Sara Jani

Sara is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto

Collaborating Students & Scientists

Bugos lab photo

Dr. Jennifer Bugos

Jennifer Bugos is a Professor of Music Education at the University of South Florida where she directs an interdisciplinary research lab (Coordination and Cognition Across the Lifespan in Music; CALM lab).  After completing professional studies in music education (BM, MM, Ph.D.), Bugos completed post-doctoral work at UF in Clinical-Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Bugos’ research interests include the neurological basis for music perception and cognition with regard to human development, lifelong learning, and cognitive transfer. Her interests have led to the development of new music education programs for healthy and clinical populations of children (Multimodal Music Training), and for adults (Keys to Staying Sharp; Piano for Parkinson’s). In 2020, Bugos served as a Visiting Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute and worked with Claude Alain. In 2023, she received a Fulbright Research Chair Award in Psychology to support collaborative research on neural pattern separation with Shayna Rosenbaum and Claude Alain.

Ricky lab photo

Ricky Chow

Ricky Chow is a PhD student in the Clinical Neuropsychology program at York University under the supervision of Shayna Rosenbaum and co-supervision of Claude Alain. As a former lab manager of the Alain Lab, his past research examined how sensory-evoked potentials to vision, hearing, and touch, in addition to EEG and behavioural measures of inhibition performance, vary in aging and among individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). His current research lies in the cognitive neuroscience of memory and aging, specifically how event-related potentials (such as the mismatch negativity, or MMN) can inform memory changes associated with aging, MCI, amnesia, and musical training. In his spare time, Ricky enjoys exploring Toronto’s food scene, playing piano, hiking, squash, undergraduate peer mentorship, and performing oboe/clarinet in wind orchestras.

Lauren lab photo

Lauren Cole

Lauren is an accredited Neurologic Music Therapist and a current PhD student. She completed her Master of Arts in Music and Health Sciences (MA) at the University of Toronto, as well as her Hon. B.A in Music Therapy at Acadia University. Lauren has experience working as a Research Coordinator with Dr. Michael Borrie’s Cognitive Clinical Trials Group in London, Ontario. She hopes to contribute to the advancement of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research, exploring music as a non-medicinal therapeutic approach. Lauren enjoys travelling, dog walking, and exploring new neighborhoods in the city!

Brenna Wong – Sam & Ida Ross Memory Clinic, Dr. Morris Freedman

Research Assistants

Mary lab photo

Mary O’Neil

Mary is a research assistant at the Alain Lab. She is currently working for Veronica Vuong on her study looking at the effects of a listening program of autobiographically salient music on cognitive measures and underlying neural mechanisms in early-stage dementia. When Mary is not at the lab, she enjoys reading, running, and traveling.

Staff

Brian lab photo

Brian Lau

Brian is the Lab Manager for the ERP lab at the Rotman Research Institute, collaborating closely with Claude Alain. He recently completed his studies in the Specialist Co-op Mental Health Studies program at the University of Toronto. Leveraging his background in experimental neuropsychology, clinical assessments, and neuroimaging techniques, he assists in the analysis and coordination of research projects within the lab. In his leisure time, Brian enjoys playing the guitar, exploring video games, and cherishing moments with his triplet siblings. (P.S. They are non-identical).

Staff Alumni

Madison Grassi – Research Assistant
Ashna Imran – Lab Manager
Ricky Chow – Lab Manager
Victoria Nieborowska – Lab Manager
Jeffrey Wong – Lab Manager
Claire Salloum – Lab Manager
Patricia Van Roon – Lab Manager
Yu He – Lab Manager
Ayomide Fakuade – Research Assistant
Alix Noly-Gandon – Research Assistant

Student & Scientist Alumni

Amisha Ojha
MSc Student, University of Toronto
2021 – 2023

Manda Fischer
Ph.D Student, University of Toronto
2019 – 2023

Dawei Shen
Postdoctoral Fellow
2010 – 2023

William Ji 
Volunteer Summer Student
2022

Martin Soto
Research Assistant, University of Toronto 
2020 – 2022

Shahier Paracha
Research Assistant, University of Toronto
2018-2021

Miriam Taza
Research Assistant
2019-2021

Vivek Sharma
Ph.D Student, University of Toronto
2014-2019

Parnian Tajbakhsh
Research Assistant, University of Toronto
2019-2020

Karishma Ramdeo
Research Assistant, University of Toronto
2019-2020

Vanessa Chan
Ph.D Student, University of Toronto
2016-2020

Phil Johnston
M.A. Student, University of Toronto
Collaborating Student, McIntosh Lab
2019

Farnosh Hakimy
Volunteer
2019

Emily Alexander
M.A. Student, University of Toronto
2018 – 2019

Vivek Sharma
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto
Co-supervised, Music and Health Research Collaboratory
2019

Leah Monson
Summer Volunteer
2019

Chloe Orsini
Visiting Student, Imperial College London, UK
2019

Katharina Goeke
Visiting Student, University of Cologne
2019

Cassandra Skrotzki
Summer Practicum, Ryerson University
2019

Olivia Podolak
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto
Co-supervised, Music Cognition Lab
2017-2019

Alexandra Beltran Montoya
Volunteer
2019

Susan Gillingham
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto
2013-2019

Jing Lu
Visiting Scientist, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
2019

Joan Ngo
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
Co-supervised, Hasher Aging & Cognition Lab
2013-2018

Jacqueline Zimmerman
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto
2014-2018

Gabrielle Katz
Summer Volunteer
2018

Ayomide Fakuade

Volunteer and Summer Student
2017-2018

Linda Garami
Postdoctoral Fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2015-2017

Nasim Sham
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
Co-supervised
2011-2016

Jiaxin Peng
Visiting Ph.D. student, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
2016

Karen Banai
Visiting Professor, University of Haifa, Israel
2015-2016

Thijs Barten
Visiting Student, Radboud Univsersity, The Netherlands
2015

Yanmei Feng
Visiting M.D. Professor, Shanghai University
2015

Stefanie Hutka
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
2012-2015

Yi Du
Ph.D. Student & Postdoctoral Fellow, Pekin University
2012-2015

Madeline Cusimano
Summer NSERC Create Student, University of Toronto
2014

Zsuzsanna Kocsis
Visiting Student, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
2014-2015

Hannah Stewart
Ph.D. Visiting Student, Nottingham University, UK
2014

Bettina Habelt
Visiting Student, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany
2014

Laura Oliva
Visiting Student, University of Victoria, BC
2014

Guillaume Cheung
Summer Student
2013

Sandra Campeanu
Ph.D. Student
University of Toronto
2008-2014

Kristina Backer
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
2009-2014.

Alice Kim
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
2008-2013

Anja Roye
Ph.D. Student & Postdoctoral Fellow, Leipzig University
2011-2013

 Claudia Freigang
Visiting Student, Leipzig University
2012-2013

Adam Cadesky
Summer Student
2012-2013

Dean Carcone
Summer Student
2012

Laura Sokka
Visiting Student, Helsinki University
2012

Gavin M. Bidelman
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
2011-2012

Stefanie Hutka
M.A. student, University of Toronto
2010-2012

Ben Zendel
Ph.D. Student, University of Toronto
2006-2011

Sylvain Moreno
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
2008-2011

Ada Leung
Postdoctoral Fellow
2008-2011.

Olga Kciuk
4th year Undergraduate Thesis Student
University of Toronto
2009-2010

Kuang Da Zhu
M.A. student, University of Toronto
2008-2009

Boaz M. Ben-David
Postdoctoral Fellow
2007-2008.

Alina Gheorghe
M.A. student, University of Toronto
2007-2008

Sandra Campeanu
M.A. student, University of Toronto
2007-2008.

Zofia Wodniecka
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
2007-2008

Dawei Shen
Ph.D. Student & Postdoctoral Fellow
2006-2009

Laura Vecchio
4th year Undergraduate Thesis Student, University of Toronto
2006-2007.

Jessica Quan
4th year Undergraduate Thesis Student
University of Toronto
2006-2007

Ben Zendel
M.A. student
University of Toronto
2005-2006

Anthony Shahin
Postdoctoral Fellow
2005-2006

Roxanne Itier
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
2005-2008

Sandra Priselac
M.A. student, University of Toronto
Co-supervised
2004-2006

Ranil Sonnadara
Ph.D. student, McMaster University
Co-supervised
 2002-2006

Asaf Gilboa
Postdoctoral Fellow
2004-2005

Stephen Arnott
Ph.D. student, University of Toronto
1998-2005

Joel Snyder
Postdoctoral Fellow
2003-2005

Ben Dyson
Postdoctoral Fellow
2003-2005

Aaron Izenberg
Summer Student
2002

Karen Reinke
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
2001-2004

Kelly McDonald
M.A. student, University of Toronto
2002-2004

Heather McNeely
Postdoctoral Fellow
1999-2001

Janine Hay
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
1998-2000

Jodi Ostroff
Postdoctoral Fellow
1998-1999

Alessandra Schiavetto
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
1997-1999.

Robert West
Postdoctoral Fellow
Co-supervised
1997-1999

 

 

LOCATION

Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences
3560 Bathurst St. Toronto, ON  M6A 2E1

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