Daniel Ansari

Principal Investigator

Curriculum Vitae

I have the great privilege to work with all the brilliant people in this laboratory on questions such as: "How are number represented in our brains?", "How does the brain change with learning and development?" and "How can we use what we are learning about the basic mechanisms underlying our numerical abilities to inform education?". I have been working on these problems together with amazing students (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels) as well as post-docs for the past decade. We adopt a 'Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience' approach in our research program. By doing so, our lab seeks to understand more about how children learn about numbers using both behavioural and brain-imaging methods. We are committed to making contributions to basic knowledge as well as finding ways to translate what we learn in the laboratory into the classroom. In this way, we are committed to the emerging fields of 'Mind, Brain and Education' and 'Educational Neuroscience'.


Celia Goffin

Post-Doctoral Fellow

​Curriculum Vitae

​​I am a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellow, partnered with a non-profit math education company called JUMP Math. I completed my PhD and Msc in developmental psychology, also in the Numerical Cognition Lab. My PhD work investigated how numerical symbols (i.e., Arabic digits) are represented in the human brain, both across development and in adults.

My current research focus is on furthering our understanding of math learning in young children. Through a collaboration with the school board, I am evaluating the JUMP Math program in the classroom. I am also interested in developing knowledge translation tools to bridge the gap between research and education.

Bea Goffin

Laboratory Manager

I have been extremely fortunate to have spent the last 13 years working behind the scenes with an amazing research team that keeps me young(er) and on-my-toes! I have been involved in the development of study procedures, particularly the preparation of child participants for neuroimaging experiments, preparation of research ethics applications, data management, teaching of standardized testing procedures, administration of laboratory finances and proofreading of manuscripts and grant applications. On occasion, I have been known to step in when needed for recruitment and testing of participants.  Every day brings something different and one of the highlights of my time spent in the lab is watching the students develop into strong, accomplished researchers.

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Mojtaba Soltanlou

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist focused on understanding how children acquire knowledge and learn in early development, and how disabilities interfere with their cognitive development.

My academic journey started with completing my BSc and MSc in Occupational Therapy in Iran, and then my PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, where I remained for two more years as a postdoc. I started as a postdoc in the Numerical Cognition Lab in January 2020.
My research focuses on the neurocognitive mechanisms of processing numbers in early development and before school entry. In a simple word, I am interested in understanding what happens in the brain when children process numerical magnitudes and comprehend their meanings. I have used behavioral and neuroscientific methods including functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and EEG/ERP. I am strongly committed to Open Science, which makes scientific research accessible to everyone.

Eric Wilkey

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist focused on understanding how children learn and how disabilities may interfere with their educational goals. I started as a postdoc in the Numerical Cognition Lab in 2018. Before I moved to Canada, I completed my PhD in Neuroscience with Gavin Price at Vanderbilt University, and an M.Ed. at Harvard University.

My research primarily focuses on the development of mathematical skills and the neurocognitive mechanisms that enable this type of cognition. Sometimes this means I am collaborating with intervention specialists to do school-based research about why some children are struggling to learn. Other times, this means that I am running a neuroimaging experiment with typically developing adults to understand the basic science of how a specific brain mechanism works. I also use techniques such as eye-tracking, structural brain imaging, and meta-analysis of behavioral and neuro-imaging data.


Tsz Tan Lau
Graduate Student

I am a PhD Student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Western Ontario since September 2017.  I completed my Masters at the University of Hong Kong and my Undergraduate at McMaster University.  

My main area of interest is how children acquire mathematical competencies from home and school environments. I am especially interested in exploring how our non-symbolic magnitude processing abilities and symbolic magnitude processing abilities develop in tandem, and how these two systems may be helpful in predicting future academic achievement.  I am also interested in examining how children acquire higher-order mathematical skills, for example, the strategy choice in solving systems of equations.

Aymee Alvarez

Graduate Student

Curriculum Vitae

I am a Masters student at the Numerical Cognition Lab. I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Havana. After that, I worked for five years as a Research Assistant in the Educational Neurosciences Department at the Cuban Neuroscience Centre. There, I had the opportunity to participate in the development of a program focused on the early detection and assessment of learning disorders.  It was during that time that I became fascinated by the study of numerical cognition and Dyscalculia.

As a graduate student, I am interested in learning about the neural foundations of number processing; in particular, how number symbols are represented in the brain and how this representation evolves through development, using neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and fNIRS. My master thesis will be focused on how the activation of the IPS, and other brain regions involved in numerical cognition, change in response to visually deviant numerical symbols. 

Lien Peters 

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

I am a postdoctoral associate in the Numerical Cognition Lab since September 2017. I completed my Masters and Doctorate in Psychology at the University of Leuven, under supervision of Bert De Smedt and Hans Op de Beeck.

My primary interest is understanding how children develop arithmetic skills and what neurocognitive and environmental mechanisms underlie arithmetic development. I am also interested in what underlies the overlap between arithmetic and reading and the comorbidity between learning disorders such as dyscalculia and dyslexia. I use both behavioral and brain imaging methods, and am also very interested in the use of multivariate methods to analyze neural data.