UCL Ear Institute





Chait lab team…

Maria Chait

Head of Lab


I am a Professor of 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.

Alice Milne

Research Associate


I’m a post-doctoral researcher looking at auditory attention. I am interested in how we attend to sounds in noisy environments and how the patterns present within auditory sequences might modulate our attention. I am also keen to understand how different mechanisms and brain networks interact to allow us to extract complex statistical information from the fast temporal changes that occur as we analyse auditory scenes. 

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Durham where I remained for a Master’s degree in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. I then moved to the Newcastle University to do a PhD with Prof. Chris Petkov, there I conducted comparative research using EEG, fMRI and eye-tracking to better understand how the brain processes sequential relationships in streams of auditory and visual stimuli. 

Roberta Bianco

Research Associate


I’m a post-doctoral researcher investigating how the brain detects statistical regularities within on-going auditory signals and how this process is subject to attention or prior knowledge. My research combines behavioural, electrophysiological and neuroimaging methods in order to understand the neural mechanisms that underpin this function in humans. 

I hold BA in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Milan (Italy), a M.Sc. in Neurobiology from the University of Pavia (Italy), a Music Diploma in flute from the “Istituto Musicale Vittadini” of Pavia (Italy), and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the University of Leipzig (Germany). Before starting the current position, I held a short postdoctoral fellowship at Concordia University of Montrèal (Canada).


Alex Billig

Research Associate (co-supervised with Tim Griffiths)


I am a postdoctoral research associate interested in how the human brain supports the perception and memory of sound. Much of my work has focused on the way that attention and experience influence our interpretation of ambiguous auditory scenes.


Following my undergraduate training in mathematics at Oxford I worked for several years in finance and as a musician. I took a masters in Music, Mind & Brain at Goldsmiths College then worked as a research assistant at the MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, with listeners whose hearing had been partially restored through a cochlear implant. This led to a PhD in auditory stream segregation with Bob Carlyon, using psychophysics and MEG. I then joined the lab of Ingrid Johnsrude at the Brain and Mind Institute at The University of Western Ontario, where I had the opportunity to study speech perception with some of the pioneers of functional neuroimaging. My position in the Chait lab at the UCL Ear Institute is supported by a Wellcome Trust grant to Tim Griffiths of Newcastle University.

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. [personal website]

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 studentship.

Lucas Benjamin

Internship  Student 


After two years of prep-school in math and physics, I began an engineering education at CentraleSupélec (France) focused on signal processing and control theory. My background is applied physics and engineering.  I work in the ChaitLab as an intern during my gap year between first and second year of engineering MSc. My work consists of eye tracking recording during sound stimulation. 

Nga Wai (Michelle) Yum


MRes Student

I am an MRes student in Brain Sciences at UCL. 

My research project in the Chait Lab uses eye tracking (pupillometry) to investigates sound salience and distraction.

Before joining UCL, I obtained my BSc in psychology at Durham University (2017).

Sami Picken

MSc Student


I am interested in how the brain makes sense of, and predicts complex patterns in sound. I am also

interested in the evolutionary basis of this phenomenon in humans, as well as the shared processing between language and music. By utilizing behavioural experiments and neuroimaging.I studied my BSc in Neuroscience with Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, before moving to London to study for my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience.

PhD and Post-Doc Alumni

Ulrich Pomper

Research Associate (2015-2017)

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.

(Now at Cognition Research Lab, University of Vienna, Austria)

Ediz Sohoglu

Ed Sohoglu…

Research Associate (2012-2017)


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.

(Now at MRC CBU Cambridge)

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).

(Now at ENS Paris France)


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.

(Now at University of Ioannina, Greece)

Masters and Internship Alumni

Alumni 2016/17

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.

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.

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.


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.


Nicolas Abichacra

Internship student 

Nicolas Abichacra…

I am an Msc Student in Neuroscience from Paris Descartes University in Paris. I also hold a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the same university. My undergraduate project focused on the plasticity of the central vestibular neurons. As a trained cello player, research on auditory processes is important to me. Joining the Ear Institute is a great opportunity to integrate my passion to my work.


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

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