Faculty Research Areas

Farrell Ackerman, Professor

Department of Linguistics | fackerman@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Farrell Ackerman's research explores the relationship between lexical semantics, morphology, and syntax – specially focusing on Uralic languages. More recently, Ackerman’s work has looked at language acquisition.

Natacha Akshoomoff, Associate Professor

Department of Psychiatry | nakshoomoff@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Natacha Akshoomoff's current research focuses on various aspects of pediatric neuropsychology. Specifically her work looks at identifying normal variations in neural and neuropsychological development and their genetic associations, identifying how those factors are associated with variations in academic skill development in children, and the neural and neuropsychological impact of significant preterm birth on math skills.

Mark Appelbaum, Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology | mappelbaum@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Mark Appelbaum’s research explores the application of quantitative and data analytic methods to a wide variety of problems in psychology and the behavioral sciences; such as the development of quantitative methods for the study of small samples, for dealing with problems of variability, for understanding growth and change, and for the integration of biological and behavioral data.

David Barner, Associate Professor

Department of Linguistics and Department of Psychology | dbarner@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. David Barner’s research focuses on language and conceptual development in children and the interface between language structure and meaning.

Ursula Bellugi, Adjunct Professor

UC San Diego Health Sciences Neurograd Program | ubellugi@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Ursula Bellugi is a pioneer in the study of the biological foundation of language. She is regarded as the founder of the neurobiology of American Sign Language. Bellugi is currently studying individuals with Williams Syndrome.

Benjamin Bergen, Associate Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | bkbergen@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Benjamin Bergen’s research focuses on language, cognition, computation, and the brain.

Angela Booker, Assistant Professor

Department of Communication | angelabooker@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Angela Booker’s research explores the ways youth, families, and schools make use of media and technology for participation, learning, and community development.

Mark Bondi, Professor

Department of Psychiatry | mbondi@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Mark Bondi’s research investigates the preclinical period of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In addition, his research has examined the concept of Mild Cognitive Impairment, and the role of genetic and neurobehavioral factors in recovery following traumatic brain injury.

Lera Boroditsky, Associate Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | lera@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Lera Boroditsky’s research investigates the relationship between the mind, world, and language. In addition, her research looks at how humans create meaning, imagine, use knowledge, and how the languages we speak shape the ways we think.

Leslie Carver, Professor

Department of Psychology | ljcarver@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Leslie Carver studies the brain basis of cognitive and social developmental change in the transition from infancy to the early toddler years. In addition, her research examines the changes in the brain that allow long-term memory to develop.

Aaron Cicourel, Professor Emeritus

Department of Cognitive Science and Department of Sociology | acicourel@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Aaron Cicourel's areas of specialization are: sociolinguistics, medical communication, decision-making, and child socialization.

Shana Cohen, Assistant Professor

Education Studies | src004@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Shana Cohen’s research examines Mexican heritage families’ beliefs and experiences with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is particularly interested in how parents’ beliefs about ASD causes, symptoms, and treatments shape parents’ educational decisions, childrearing goals, and parenting practices.

Michael Cole, Professor Emeritus

Department of Communication | mcole@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Michael Cole’s research focuses are on cross-cultural cognitive development, specifically looking at how development relates to the roles of literacy and schooling. In addition, his research investigates the intellectual and social development of children.

Sarah Creel, Associate Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | screel@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Sarah Creel’s research interests are: language development, word recognition, eye tracking, cognitive control, and music perception.

Gedeon Deak, Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | gdeak@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Gedeon Deak’s research interests are: categorizations and generalization in children, cognitive flexibility and its development in children, flexible cognition and human language, embodied learning models of social development, infant-parent communication and joint attention, logical skill and metacognition in children, and word learning in children.

Jeff Elman, Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | jelman@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Jeff Elman’s primary research interests are on language processing and learning. His work looks at language through computational models and through psycholinguistic and neuroimaging studies.

Pascal Gagneux, Associate Professor

Cellular and Molecular Medicine | pgagneux@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Pascal Gagneux’s research focuses on the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for generating and maintaining primate molecular diversity. The Gagneux lab looks at the roles of molecular diversity in protecting populations from pathogens as well as potential consequences for reproductive compatibility.

Grant Goodall, Professor

Department of Linguistics | ggoodall@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Grant Goodall’s research interests include: syntactic theory, experimental syntax, acquisition, Spanish linguistics, educational linguistics.

Frank Haist, Assistant Professor

Psychiatry | fhaist@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Frank Haist’s research focuses on developmental cognitive neuroscience – specifically characterizing development for face processing, social development, and identifying brain correlates of academic achievement for mathematics from early school age through adulthood.

John Haviland, Professor

Department of Anthropology | jhaviland@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. John Haviland’s research looks at the social life of language including gesture, emerging sign languages, and interaction. His research has focused on speakers of Tzotzil (Mayan) in highland Chiapas, Mexico, and its neighbors, as well as on communities of speakers of (Paman) languages from the area north of Cooktown, in far north Queensland, Australia.

Gail Heyman, Professor

Department of Psychology | gheyman@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Gail Heyman studies social and cognitive development – with a focus on children's reasoning about people. Her research looks at how children present information to others, and how they evaluate information that others present. Her other research interests include, beliefs related to achievement motivation, the relation between language and person perception, and flexibility in children's thinking.

Tom Humpheries, Associate Professor

Department of Communication and Education Studies | thumpheries@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Tom Humpheries research interests include communication and culture, deaf education, bilingual education, deaf studies, second language learning/teaching.

Terry Jernigan, Professor

Department of Cognitive Science, Psychiatry, and Radiology | tjernigan@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Terry Jernigan’s research investigates brain development and neuropsychiatric conditions using brain imaging techniques, specifically magnetic resonance imaging. Her work also looks at the development of human brain architectures, behavioral phenotypes, and individual differences in social, emotional, and cognitive functions.

William Kremen, Professor

Department of Psychiatry | wkremen@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. William Kremen is a a director for The Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA). His research focuses on behavior genetic studies of aging and psychiatric disorders.

Paula Levin, Teaching Professor

Education Studies | plevin@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Paula Levin has conducted research on language, schooling, and culture in the United States, as well as in French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea. Her research focuses on learning, early literacy, teacher preparation, home-school relationships, curriculum design, and social, linguistic, and cultural aspects of learning.

Rachel Mayberry, Professor

Department of Cognitive Science and Department of Linguistics | rmayberry@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Rachel Mayberry’s research interests include sign language acquisition and multimodal language development.

James Nieh, Professor

Department of Biology | jnieh@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. James Nieh’s research focuses on foraging communication and behavior in social bees and honey bee health – with specific interest in the selective pressures that have shaped behavior and the evolution of social communication, particularly referential communication, in highly social bees.

Jean Mandler, Professor Emeritus

Department of Cognitive Science | jean@cogsci.ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Jean Mandler’s research has focused on the development of concept formation during infancy.

James Moore, Professor Emeritus

Department of Anthropology | jjmoore@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. James Moore’s research looked at chimpanzee ecology in western Tanzania, with a focus on increasing understanding of Plio-Pleistocene hominids (and chimpanzee socioecology). In addition, his research looked at comparative behavioral data on temperament in nonhuman primates to clarify proximate mechanisms involved with the evolution of social systems.

Carol Padden, Professor

Department of Communication | cpadden@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Carol Padden’s research interests include language, communication, and culture –focusing mostly on American Sign Language (ASL).

Steven Parish, Professor

Department of Anthropology | sparish@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Steven Parish's research interests include cultural, medical, and psychological anthropology. His research has addressed a number of topics in psychological anthropology – with a central focus on the study of self, emotion, and moral experience.

Jaime Pineda, Professor

Department of Cognitive Science | jpineda@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Jamie Pineda’s research has investigated the neurobiology of social cognition, attention, face perception, addiction, monoamines, and brain-computer interfaces.

Mica Pollock, Professor

Education Studies | mipollock@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Mica Pollock’s research explores how diverse communities can come together in student support efforts. In multiple projects based in schools, districts, cities, community organizations, and the government, Pollock has asked how people might communicate so they can work together to support every young person’s talent development.

Stephen Potts, Lecturer

Literature | swpotts@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Stephen Potts work focuses on different topics in literature. His interests include topics such as children’s, adolescent, popular, and science fiction literature.

Clarissa Reese, Lecturer

Human Development Program | cjreese@ucsd.edu

Dr. Clarissa Reese's research interests focus on the development of spatial cognitive functioning, specifically examining processing differences in categorical and coordinate image generation. his includes studies with normal adults, typically developing children ranging in age from 8-15 years and children with prenatal focal brain injury. She also has broad interests in spatial cognitive development, and the brain-behavior relations that mediate spatial processing.

Adena Schachner, Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology | schacher@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Adena Schachner's work focuses on the development of social cognition; specifically, how infants, children, and adults infer mental states (like intentions, goals and preferences) to explain others’ actions and to understand the objects that people own and create.

Margaret Schoeninger, Professor

Department of Anthropology | mjschoen@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Margaret Schoeninger's research centers on subsistence strategies with applications to behavior and ecology in anthropological contexts. She has participated in archaeological, paleontological, and ethnographic fieldwork projects in North America, MesoAmerica, Pakistan, India, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Katerina Semendeferi, Professor

Department of Anthropology | ksemende@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Katerina Semendeferi’s work focuses on the comparative neuroanatomy of the human brain; specifically, exploring neural systems involved in complex cognitive and emotional processes in humans, apes and other primates, as well as in human mental disorders

Christo Sims, Assistant Professor

Department of Communication | chsims@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Christo Sims studies the relationship between changing media technologies, learning, and equity – specifically among children and young people coming of age in the United States.

Nicholas Spitzer, Professor

Department of Biology | nspitzer@ucsd.edu | 

Dr. Nicholas Spitzer’s work focuses on understanding the roles of electrical activity in the assembly of the nervous system; specifically, by analyzing the effects of calcium transients on neuronal differentiation and determining the molecular mechanisms by which they exert these effects.

Joan Stiles, Professor Emeritus

Department of Cognitive Science | jstiles@ucsd.edu website

Dr. Joan Stiles’s research interests include spatial knowledge acquisition, spatial analytic processing, pre-natal and peri-natal stroke, and fMRI.

Jessica Suhrheinrich, Assistant Adjunct Professor

Department of Psychiatry | jsuhrheinrich@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich’s research aims to improve community-based services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Stefan Tanaka, Professor

Department of Communication | stanaka@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Stefan Tanaka’s earlier work focused on the ways that history, pasts, and time were configured to define Japan's world and itself. Recently that inquiry has shifted to history as a technology of communication. This shift to history as media opens an inquiry into different ways that historical knowledge, categories, and practices are both tied to particular literary systems and might change in the digital age.

Olga Vasquez, Associate Professor

Department of Communication | ovasquez@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Olga Vásquez's research examines the intersection of literacy, language, and culture in intercultural settings. Specifically, her work covers bilingual education, culturally responsive curriculum, and access to educational resources by underrepresented groups. Currently, she is involved in the study of sustainable innovative educational activities that provide a range of literacy activities through computer and telecommunication technology.

Caren Walker, Assistant Professor

Department of Psychology | cmwalker@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Caren Walker’s research explores how children learn and reason about the causal structure of the world. In particular, her work focuses on how very young learners are able to acquire abstract representations that extend beyond their observations, simply by thinking.

Alison Wishard Guerra, Associate Professor

Education Studies | awishard@ucsd.edu | website

Dr. Alison Wishard Guerra’s research focuses on culture and development in early childhood – with particular focus on social and language development among Latino children from low-income families. Her research looks specifically at how social relationships and interactions may serve as protective factors for later cognitive development among at-risk children.