Lab Director

yangMEG The Lab Director, Yang Zhang, is a full professor with tenure in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences and the Center for Neurobehavioral Development, and an affiliated professor with the Center for Applied Translational Sensory Science, University of Minnesota. Zhang obtained his PhD in Speech & Hearing Sciences from University of Washington, Seattle (Committee members: Patricia Kuhl; Toshiaki Imada; David Corina; Lee Osterhout; Margaret Rogers) and did postdoctoral research at the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS), University of Washington. He also received brain imaging training (1999 ~ 2001) at the Communication Science Laboratories and Basic Research Laboratories of Nippon Telephone & Telegraph Corporation in Japan. During his postdoctoral training, Zhang worked with world-leading scientists at Hitachi Medical Systems, BioMag Laboratory (Helsinki), and Eleka Neuromag (including Dr. Samu Taulu, current director of the I-LABS MEG Brain Imaging Center) on infant MEG and Optical Topography (also known as NIRS) projects. Zhang conducts an active research program on the neural basis of speech communication and language acquisition with collaborators home and abroad.
Yang Zhang

Visiting Scholar

Fei_Chen.jpg Fei Chen received the M.S. degree in linguistics from Nankai University, Tianjin, China. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, Research Centre for Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His current Ph.D. project is on 'Speech sound perception and production in tone language speaking children with autism spectrum disorders'. He is visiting Zhang Lab from September 2019 to March 2020. His current research interests include psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and pathological linguistics.
Fei Chen

PhD Students

Chieh.jpg Chieh Kao: Chieh received her bachelor degree in Psychology at National Taiwan University. She had research experiences with infants, children with cochlear implants, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, focusing on their emotional and tonal speech perception. She is interested in how preschoolers process speech sounds under complex situations, and the neural network underlying that processing.
Chieh Kao

Undergraduate Research Assistants

2020 CLA DRFACS Award Recipient

  • Isabella Custodio
  • Lila Madson

2019-2020 UROP Award Recipient

  • Kailie McGuigan

2019 CLA Freshman Research Award Recipients

  • Kailie McGuigan
  • Natasha Stark
  • Shannon Hofer-Pottala

2019 Undergraduate RAs

  • Emily Krattley
  • Megan Peterson


Former PhD advisees:

  • 2018 Luodi Yu, PhD, Luodi Yu, faculty at South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

Dissertation: Yu, Luodi. (2018). An Electrophysiological Investigation of Linguistic Pitch Processing in Tonal-language-speaking Children with Autism. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

  • 2017 Tess Koerner, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, VA Portland.

Dissertation: Koerner, Tess K. (2017). Behavioral and Electrophysiological Measures of Speech-in-Noise Perception in Normal Hearing and Hearing Impaired Adults. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,

  • 2015 Sharon Miller, PhD, faculty at University of North Texas.

Miller Dissertation: Neural Correlates of Phonetic Learning in Adult Listeners with Cochlear Implants

Stevens Dissertation: Control and disposal of demonstratives, with electrophysiological evidence from English and Japanese

Former visiting scholars/students:
2017 Visiting scholar: Dr. Min Guo is a medical doctor and the Director of the Psychological Education and Training Department at the university hospital, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, Si Chuan Province. She is visiting Zhang Lab from August 2017 to August 2018. Her primary interests are developmental neurbehavioral disorders including autism and ADHD.
2016 Visiting scholar: Xueping Xu, (PhD, Professor), comes from South China Normal University in Guangzhou City, China. His research interests are cognitive linguistics, pragmatics, language acquisition and teaching. He has published many research papers in Chinese and English, and his monograph book in English entitled “An Experimental Pragmatic Study of Spatial Demonstratives” was published by China Social Sciences Press in 2011 in Beijing. He is currently doing a project with Dr. Zhang on the use of spatial demonstratives in social communication.
  • 2014-2015 Xiaohu Yang, PhD, Associate Professor, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China.
  • 2013-2014 Bing Cheng, PhD, Associate Professor, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China.
  • 2015 Xiaoyue Wang, MA student, South China Normal University.
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