Chait Lab


Chait lab team

Maria Chait

Head of Lab


I am a Reader (Associate Professor) in auditory cognitive neuroscience at the Ear Institute, UCL. I moved to UCL in 2007, as a Marie Curie research fellow, following a short post-doc at Ecole normale supérieure, Paris.

My PhD research (2006) was conducted at the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program, university of Maryland College Park, USA under the supervision of Jonathan Simon and David Poeppel. My undergraduate background is in Computer Science, Economics, and East Asian Studies.

Among my UCL responsibilities is the co-direction of the Sensory Systems, Technologies and Therapies (SenSyT) PhD program  and the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences. I am also a member of the UCL Neuroscience domain steering group.

Ediz Sohoglu

Ed Sohoglu

Research Associate; Co Supervised with Prof. Tim Griffiths

I'm a Post-Doctoral researcher working on a BBSRC-funded project investigating auditory change detection (with Maria Chait). Prior to this, I completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience with Matt Davis at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge; an MSc in Music Technology at the University of York; and a BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Sussex.

I aim to understand how the auditory system achieves the task of processing the many sounds we encounter in everyday listening, such as music and speech. A recurring question in my research is how and in what conditions is the auditory system able to successfully process sound in "challenging" listening situations, such as when multiple sounds are present or when sensory information is highly degraded. Ultimately, I hope this research will lead to improved perceptual outcomes in the hearing impaired.

Ulrich Pomper

Research Associate

Ulrich Mag Pomper

I’m a post-doctoral researcher interested in auditory attention and the underlying oscillatory neural mechanisms. Part of my work focuses on finding electrophysiological markers of auditory attention that can be used to steer hearing aids. Also, I’m fascinated by the question of how the brain state prior to an event shapes the processing and perception of that event (e.g. via expectations or predictions).

I did my Diploma in Psychology, at the University of Vienna. After that, I went to do a PhD with Prof. Daniel Senkowski, first at the University Medical Center Eppendorf, Hamburg (Department of Prof. Andreas Engel) and later at the Charité, Berlin.

Apart from attention, my research previously concentrated on multisensory integration between the visual, auditory and somatosensory domains, and involves both EEG and behavioural measures.

Daniel Bates

Daniel Bates

Research Assistant + PhD Student

I am interested in how we are able to interact with (and build an understanding of) the world through our auditory and visual experiences.

My research utilises psychophysics and brain imaging to understand what a listener can attend to, how selective attention is affected by different sound contexts and what brain mechanisms may be involved in this process. This work is part of a European Commission funded project aiming to understand how listener’s attentional state can be ‘read-out’ in real time to steer a hearing aid. 

I have a BSc in Psychology from the University of Liverpool (2013) and MSc in Neuroscience, Language and Communication from UCL (2014).

Katharine Molloy

Kate Molloy

PhD Student; Co Supervised with Prof. Nilli Lavie

My research focuses on how well we perceive sounds when our attention is engaged in a visual task. Our hearing system is often regarded as an early warning system which reacts to unexpected sounds even when we are busy elsewhere. However, it has recently been shown that very demanding visual tasks can cause deficits in our auditory perception. I am investigating which auditory processes are susceptible to this interference, using psychophysics to determine when behaviour is affected, and MEG to measure brain responses.

I studied Maths at Cambridge for my undergrad degree, followed by an MSc in Experimental Psychology at Sussex. I then worked as a Research Assistant for the MRC Institute of Hearing Research for three years, before starting at UCL. I am jointly supervised by Nilli Lavie at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Maria Chait at the Ear Institute.

Sijia Zhao

Sijia Zhao

PhD Student

My research focuses on understanding how sensitivity to acoustic patterning arises in the auditory cortex and the degree to which regularity attracts auditory attention, by utilising functional brain imaging techniques (fMRI, EEG, MEG) and psychophysics. I am part-funded by a partnership contract with NTT, Japan

I have BSc Neuroscience and MSc Computer Science degrees, both from UCL.

I am broadly interested in the interdisciplinary areas of auditory neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

Rosy Southwell

Rosy Southwell

PhD Student

I am interested in the sensitivity of the human brain to patterns and regularity in sounds, and the effect of attention in recognising these patterns. I use psychophysics, EEG and MEG. 

Before joining the Ear Institute, I completed short projects in two other UCL research groups: with Sven Bestmann on the pharmacology of signalling uncertainty, and with Dimitris Pinotsis on modelling neural dynamics in visual cortex.

I have a BA (2012) in Natural Sciences and an MSc (2013) in Systems Biology from Cambridge University. I have also worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Bob Carlyon's group at the Cognition and Brain Sciences unit in Cambridge, developing psychophysics tasks for assessing auditory perception in cochlear implant users.

Mathilde Le Gal de Kerangal

PhD Student


My research focuses on evaluating hearing impaired listeners’ sensitivity to changes in multi-object acoustic scenes that model the complex acoustic environment encountered during every day listening (e.g a crowded street or a busy restaurant). My project involves EEG and behavioural experiments.

I did a Bachelor degree in Mechanical engineering (UPMC, Paris), following Musicology courses in parallel (La Sorbonne, Paris). I obtained a MSc degree in Acoustics and signal processing (IRCAM, Paris) before joining the Ear Institute.

I am funded by an Action on Hearing Loss PhD stundeship.

Candida Tufo

MSc Student


I am studying towards an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at UCL, Institute of Neurology. In the Chait Lab my project (co-supervised by Rosy Southwell) involves the use of EEG to understand how the brain detects predictable structures in sound sequences.

I got a BSc in Neuroscience from King's College London (2016). During my undergraduate research project I investigated activity codes and molecular determinants of axon initial segment plasticity. 

Rui Wang


MSc Student

I am an MSc Neuroscience student at UCL. 

Before joining UCL, I obtained a BSc in Biosciences from WuHan University, China. My research project at Chait lab (co-supervised by Sijia ZHAO), investigates auditory distraction using eye tracking methods.

Robert Jagiello

MSc Student


I am a MSc student in the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences program at the UCL Institute of Neurology (ION). My background is in Psychology, of which I have a BSc from the University of Warwick.

My work at the Chait lab (co-supervised by Ulrich Pomper) uses EEG and eye tracking to investigate music familiarity.

Elia Benhamou


PhD (rotation) Student

I am interested in how human brains process salient events in complex acoustic scenes. My previous research projects tried to relate highly dissonant melodic stimuli and activation of the salience network (fMRI experiments). 

I am now pursuing a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences funded by the Brain Research Trust. Before joining the Ear Institute, I will work at the Dementia Research Centre with Professor Jason Warren, focusing on “leaky” template-matching for perceptual and semantic categorization of auditory objects by patients with a fronto-temporal degeneration. I will then learn with Dr Sven Bestmann how to build a computational model describing the effect of tDCS on value decision-making process. 

I hold a BSc and MSc in Bioengineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland), completing a BA in Music at the same time. I was a research fellow at the Centre for Music and Science (University of Cambridge) supervised by Professor Ian Cross in 2013-2014. I also have a Master of Performance of Cello from the Royal College of Music of London.

Henry Hill


Integrated BSc Student

I am a 3rd year UCL Medical Student and am taking an intercalated BSc in Neuroscience. I am also passionate about music. Working with Chait lab has given me the perfect opportunity to combine the two. My research (co-supervised by Daniel Bates) is focusing on EEG correlates of attentional states.

PhD/Post Doc Alumni

Nicolas Barascud - PhD 2015

Thesis title: "Auditory Pattern Detection"

Nicolas Barascud

I am generally interested by how behaviourally relevant information is derived from sound. My PhD work focused on understanding sensitivity to patterns in sound sequences.

I joined the UCL Ear Institute as a PhD student in 2011 and moved on to a Post Doc position (co-supervised with Prof. Tim Griffiths) in end of 2014. I have an MSc in Acoustics and Signal Processing (IRCAM, Paris), and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris). I also have a Magistère in Theoretical Physics (Université Paris Sud 11, Orsay).

Lefkothea Vasiliki Andreou- PhD 2016


Thesis title: "Sensitivity to temporal structure supports auditory scene analysis - a Psychophysics and MEG investigation"

I study the effect of temporal regularities on the analysis of auditory scenes and the neural bases of rhythm perception. My methodology combines psychophysics and brain imaging (MEG) in normal listeners.  A specific challenge and methodological goal is to design behavioural paradigms, which are not dependent on purely subjective reports, to measure listener’s perceptual organization.

I have a BSc in  Biochemistry (2002) and an MSc in Biotechnology (2005), both from the School of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Greece. I also have a BA in English Language and Literature (2008) from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

MRes/MSc Alumni

Alumni 2015/16

Andrea Perrottelli


MRes Student

I am a MRes student in Brain Sciences at the Institute of Neurology, UCL.

My research project at the Chait Lab (in collaboration with Fred Dick, BUCNI) investigates top-down driven attetion to patterns in sound sequences.

I have a Bsc in Biomedical Sciences (2015) from the University of Manchester, UK.

Yinuo Zhou 


MRes Student

I am a MRes student in Brain Sciences at the Institute of Neurology, UCL.

My research project at the Chait Lab (working together with Sijia Zhao and in collaboration with Fred Dick, BUCNI) investigates learning of complex statistics in rapid, random, sound sequences.

I have a Bsc in Biochemistry (2014) from the University of Bristol, UK.

Zaira Curetti


MSc Student

I am a MSc student in Advanced Neuroimaging at the UCL Institute of Neurology.

My research project at the Chait Lab employes behavioral and brain imaging tools to understand how the processing of sound patterns is affected by listeners' attentional state and behavioral goals.

Before joining UCL I obtained a BSc in Physics from the University of Turin, Italy.

Alumni 2014/15

Theofilos Petsas

Theofilos Petsas

MPhil Student

I joined the Ear Institute  at the beginning of the academic year in 2014. My scientific background is based on acoustic engineering and signal processing. My project at UCL investigates auditory salience using non-invasive psychophysical experiments and neuroimaging techniques.

I have a BSc in Music Technology (University of York) and an MSc in Sound & Vibration (Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton). Apart from my scientific interests in the auditory neuroscience and the broader field of sound, I am also active as a music artist (q-funktion).

I am funded by an IMPACT studentship, in partnership with NTT, Japan

Anna Baumann

Anna Baumann

MSc Student

I am a MSc student in Clinical Neuroscience at the Institute of Neurology, UCL.

Before starting at UCL I trained (University of Cape Town) and worked as a medical doctor in Cape Town, South Africa.

My Msc project in the Chait lab explores the auditory system's function in change detection and its susceptibility to distracting stimuli.

Cecile Gal

Cecile Gal

MSc student

I am a MSc Student from the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences, currently pursuing my first year at UCL's Institute of Neurology.

My project uses EEG to identify sensitivity to patterns in sound sequences.

I have a BSc in both Chemistry and Biology (UPMC, Paris) and will be doing my second year of master in Paris (ENS, UPMC) next year.

Alumni 2013/14

Samuel Picard

Samuel Picard

MSc Student; co-supervised with Prof. Tim Griffiths

I’m an MSc student in the Dual Master’s in Brain & Mind Sciences program, currently in my first year at UCL.

I am broadly interested in how temporal information is represented in auditory perception and motor control.

My Research Project focuses on the effects of temporal coherence on auditory figure-ground segregation. Using MEG and psychophysics, I aim to elucidate some of the mechanisms by which the brain detects auditory “objects” in complex acoustic scenes.

I have a BSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (2011) from University College Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Before coming to UCL, I spent two years in Prof. Chris De Zeeuw’s lab at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (Amsterdam), working with cerebellar patients, and at the Erasmus MC (Rotterdam), working on in vivo electrophysiology in the mouse cerebellum.

Anissa Bellahcen

Anissa Bellahcen

MSc student

I’m an MSc student in the Dual Master’s in Brain & Mind Sciences program at the Institute of Neurology, UCL.

For my research project at the Ear Institute, I am investigating listeners’ ability to detect changes (appearance, disappearance or replacement of objects) in busy auditory scenes.

I obtained a BSc in Life Sciences in 2013 (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France) before joining UCL.

Lucie Aman

Lucie Aman

MSc student

I’m an MSc student in the Dual Master’s in Brain & Mind Sciences program.

My MSc project investigates how listeners use patterns in sounds in the context of a change detection task.

My BSc (2012) background is in Biology, with a specialty in physiology and genetics (Versailles University, France).

Jemma Harrison

Jemma Harrison

MSc student

I have a BSc in Biology from the University of Durham (2012) and currently studying for a Masters in Audiological Science at the UCL Ear Institute.

My MSc project is looking into listeners’ susceptibility to distraction in the course of auditory scene analysis.

Celia Loriette

Celia Loriette

MSc student

I am an internship student from École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France.

I have a BSc in Biology and currently pursuing an MSc in Neurophysiology.

My project in the Chait lab investigates temporal factors in auditory figure-ground segregation.

Fiona Henderson

Fiona Henderson

MSc Student

I am an internship student from  University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris, France. I have a BSc (Hons) in Life sciences from UPMC and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Integrative Biology.
My Project in the Chait lab, co-supervised by Nicolas Barascud, examines sensitivity to auditory and visual temporal patterns.

Sana Atik

Sana Atik

MSc Student

I am an internship student from  University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris, France. I obtained a BSc in Neuroscience from UPMC and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Integrative Biology and physiology.
My Project in the Chait lab, co-supervised by Dr. Ediz Sohoglu, investigates the effect of visual distractors on listeners’ ability to detect changes in auditory scenes.

Alumni 2008-2012:

  • Francisco Cervantes Constantino
  • Celine Ngon
  • Marija Cauchi
  • Charlotte Smith
  • Keiko Masutomi
  • Supathum Paranamana
  • Chris Payne
  • Leyla Pinggera
  • Aiyisha Siddiq
  • Manisha Gossain
  • Katharine Green
  • Zaharah Jaunmohomed
  • Ashley Christophe
  • Minal Patel
  • Patrick Burniston