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Principal Investigator: Dr. Marisa Casillas

Marisa (she/her) is an assistant professor in the University of Chicago’s Comparative Human Development department. Before coming to Chicago, she completed her BA (UCLA) and PhD (Stanford University) in Linguistics, followed by postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. Her research draws on linguistics, psychology, and conversation analysis to investigate the foundations of human language cognition. She conducts observational and experimental work on adult and child language behavior in American English, Dutch, Tseltal (Mayan), and Yélî Dnye (isolate; Papua New Guinea), but maintains active collaborations with researchers working on other languages, including Sign Language of the Netherlands and Tsimane’. Her work, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Acoustical Society of America, and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, touches on a wide range of language topics, from comparative developmental language theory to open-source speech technology. You can learn more about the Dr. Casillas on her personal page.

PhD applicants interested in working with Dr. Casillas should contact her directly.

Lab manager

Subin Kim


Natalie Dowling

PhD students

Yuchen Jin

Masters students

Yiqun (Mia) Zhang

Kaiwen (Katia) Yang

Research assistants


Jordyn Martin

Senior honors students

Lizzie Mickiewicz

Sarah Kelso

Undergraduate students

Sarah Sommer

Alexander Stern

Carla Escalante

Alex Klerman

Dalia Querenet

Ariel Wang

Eva Smolen

Egheosase (Osa) Odiase

Marvin Diaz

Former members

Some recent and frequent collaborators

Turn taking

Imme Lammertink, Connie de Vos, and Sara Bögels.

Early language environment

Elika Bergelson, John Bunce, Alex Cristia, Okko Räsänen, Celia Rosemberg, Caroline Rowland, Camila Scaff, and Melanie Soderstrom

Tseltal/Rossel language research

Penny Brown, Steve Levinson, and Gabriela Garrido Rodriguez