Child_Dev_research_170321-25-croppedHeather Bortfeld is a Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of California, Merced. She completed her PhD in Experimental Psychology at SUNY, Stony Brook, followed by postdoctoral training in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University supported by a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Bortfeld was on the faculty at Texas A&M University and the University of Connecticut prior to arriving at UC Merced in 2015. Her research examines both healthy and atypical development with a focus on language.




Cerena (Sejin) Lee

250pixel ID Photo

Hello, my name is Cerena (Sejin) Lee. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from Boise State University in May 2018. I am interested in a multitude of topics in psychology such as Development, Cognition, Neuroscience, Social, and more. I am most interested in underserved/minority populations and applied research. Currently, I am working on bilingualism and its effects on certain cognitive processes, such as speech segmentation




Allison Gabouer

[Dissertation completed 2021]



My name is Allison Gabouer. I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Purdue University in December 2015. Broadly, I am interested in language acquisition in typically and atypically developing infants and children. Right now, my focus is on how social, informal communication contributes to language learning in young children.



Pradyumna Lanka

[Dissertation completed 2022-postdoctoral researcher at Northeastern University]

PradyumnaI am Pradyumna Lanka. I graduated with a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University, Alabama. My research interests include functional neuroimaging, machine learning, image/signal processing and computational modeling. I aspire to understand human cognition through brain imaging and computational modeling. I am currently working on understanding neural representations of the second language in bilinguals.



Ali Rahimpour

[Dissertation completed 2022-postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University]

S100263829I am Ali Rahimpour. I graduated with my master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran in August 2016. I have carried out a number of research projects in biological signal processing, pattern recognition, and also cognitive science. In addition to developing an in-house functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) system, I have applied fNIRS in research with infants for my master’s thesis. Now, I am working on cortical source localization using both EEG and fNIRS modalities.



We employ Undergraduate Research Assistants in the lab every semester. We require a commitment of 2+ semesters. Please email with inquiries.




Back row, left to right: Alondra Del Real, Allison Gabouer (graduate student), Heather Bortfeld

Middle row, left to right: Mercedes Pineda, Maya Gonzales, Alyssa Gutierrez

Bottom row, left to right: Daisy Pineda, Sarah Courtney.






spring-2017-crewFrom back, left to right: Heather Bortfeld, Daisy Pineda, Raveena Singh, Valeria Rodriguez-Del Rio, Cristal Urias, Maya Gonzales, Allison Gabouer (graduate student), Tania Arellano Correa, and Mayra Saavedra.







img_1672-2Back row, left to right: Cristal Urias, Valeria Rodriguez-Del Rio, Nadia Alazzeh, and Raveena Singh.
Front row, left to right: Mayra Saavedra, Tania Arellano Correa, Allison Gabouer (graduate student), and Heather Bortfeld.