Birmingham Language Learning and Bilingualism Lab

Current lab members

Vincent DeLuca


Vincent is a postdoctoral researcher on the ESRC funded Bilingualism and Individual Differences (BID) project. His research interests are bilingualism and its effects on brain structure and function. He is specifically interested in different aspects of bilingual language experience (e.g. age a second language is learned, frequency and intensity of use, etc.) and how they might differently impact brain and/or cognitive adaptations. He is also interested in how these adaptations dynamically shift over time and/or with any changes to patterns of language use. He uses a combination of behavioral and brain imaging (EEG, MRI) methods to examine this.

Zlatomira Ilchovska


Zlatomira is a PhD student who's current research is based around bilingual language switching. In particular, she is trying to identify how switching experience and amount in daily life reflect onto the performance of bilinguals when they are asked to produce words in their two languages and switch from one to the other. Also, she is interested in how other bilingual-experience factors, such as language proficiency or age of acquisition affect that performance, and whether bilinguals' individual differences in more general inhibitory abilities could explain the variation of their language switching abilities.

Yifan Wang


Yifan's PhD research explores the role of bilingual biculturalism in perspective-taking. Bilingual learners have been shown to outperform their monolingual peers in various perspective-taking tasks. These effects might stem from bi-culturalism, which forces bilinguals to view the world from different perspectives and requires a high level of mental flexibility. Her research will compare various groups of English second language learners with a strong command of English in a bicultural and monocultural setting. The results will help us understand what makes bilingual speakers better communicators and more flexible thinkers.

Katie Jobson


Katie is a first-year PhD researcher. She is currently investigating the neurological differences between dyslexic children who respond well to reading interventions and those who struggle to make progress. She is also interested in establishing predictors of positive response to reading intervention in children with dyslexia.  

Cecilia Zuniga Montanez


Cecilia is a PhD student in the lab. She is interested in the language development of typically developing infants and infants with language delays. In her research project, she investigates the role of attention to object function as a word learning strategy for generalizing labels. She is also looking at how the 'shape bias' in early word generalisation can be used as an intervention for infants with language delays. 

Valeria Agostini


Valeria is a PhD researcher in the lab. She is interested in the effects of teaching a foreign language at early years in School on cognitive and social-communicative skills. 

Asma Assaneea


Asma joined the lab as a PhD student and studies lexical access in bilingual speakers during high lexical competition demands. She investigates the semantic blocking effect when bilinguals switch between their languages, and whether it makes a difference if bilinguals speak typologically similar (German/English) or dissimilar (Arabic/English) languages.


Zheni Goranova


Zheni is a PhD reseracher. Her main research interest relates to the role of cognitive control in developmental dyslexia. In her research she has compared highly functioning adults with and without dyslexia in terms of their lexical competition resolution, non-verbal conflict resolution, top-down control and response suppression. She is interested in the potential relationship between the lexical and sub-lexical skills of dyslexics with these cognitive control functions.

Previous lab members

(PhD students and postdoctoral fellows)

Dr. Isabella Fritz, now postdoctoral fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Dr. Beinan Zhou, was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford


Dr. Simon Snape, now lecturer (assistant professor) at the University Centre Shrewsbury


Dr. Riadh Lebib, now consultant at SBT Human(s) Matter


Dr. Helen Breadmore, now researcher at Coventry University