Principal Investigator

Elina Birmingham
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Education
Simon Fraser University
email: ebirming[at]

Graduate Students

Dominic Trevisan
email: dtrevisa[at]
Dominic is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education at SFU, and completed his MA thesis, entitled University Adjustment is Explained by Autistic Traits in the General Student Population under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham.  His current research investigates how people with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) process social and emotional information. Some of his research questions include:

• How do abilities to identify and communicate one’s emotions impact social cognitive development?
• Do social cognitive deficits underlie the broader social difficulties of ASD?
• Do difficulties understanding emotions extend to both the self and others, and how are these mechanisms related?
• What does “social competence” mean, and how do you operationalize and measure it?

Dominic’s research is supported by an SFU Multi-Year Funding Award and the Autism Research Training (ART) program. In addition to his research, Dominic serves as an editor for the SFU Education Review, and as a research coordinator and mentor for SFU’s Autism Mentorship Initiative. He also organizes the Social Behaviour Colloquium:

Research Assistants

CindyCindy Shi
email: qiwans[at]
Cindy is a MA student in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Richard Wright. Cindy has been helping to collect and analyze data for an outside eye tracking project under the supervision of Drs. Birmingham and Iarocci.


Emerson Gaglardi
: egaglard[at]
Emerson is an undergraduate student at SFU studying Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He is excited about helping out with research on ASD at SARG as a Work-Study student in Summer 2017. He hopes to pursue a career in teaching.

Sherif Hussein
email: sherifh[at]
Sherif is a Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) undergraduate interested in incorporating embedded technology with neuropsychology to implement feasible solutions for auditory hypersensitivity/hyperacusis in ASD. Sherif is completing a co-op position co-supervised by Dr. Birmingham and Dr. Arzanpour (MSE).

Lab Alumni

Nicole Roberts
Nicole completed her MA thesis, entitled Conceptualizing a Mentorship Program for University Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham.  She currently works as a Behaviour Consultant at Salish Sea Behaviour Consulting.

pamela_smallPamela Plantinga
email: pplantin[at]
Pamela began volunteering with SARG by assisting in Social Science Summer camp July 2016. Pamela helped analyze data for an emotion-recognition study. Her school Co-ops and non-school related work experiences have largely been with children and adults with developmental disabilities which has inspired her to pursue an eventual Masters in Occupational Therapy. Getting hands-on experience in ASD research here at SARG is a privilege on this journey.

Cathy LinCathy
: chl32[at]
Cathy was an undergraduate student of Linguistics. Cathy helped helping to collect and analyze data for a project on the subjective experiences of eye contact in individuals with ASD.  She will be entering  as a student in the Speech Sciences Masters program at UBC in the Fall of 2017.


Marleis Bowering
email: mbowering919[at]
Marleis was an undergraduate student of Linguistics at SFU. Her main research interests include both the linguistic and psychological aspects of First Language Acquisition, how children develop skills for effective communication, and practical intervention strategies for teaching those skills.  She is currently in the Speech Sciences Masters program at UBC.

Dominic Wong_smallDominic Wong
Dominic was an undergraduate student in Psychology, with a minor in Counselling and Human development. His main research interests are related to how mental disabilities and learning disabilities affect attention, memory and perception of stimuli. He also works as a mental health worker at Coastal Mental Health.

vivian's photo_croppedVivian Qi
email: qixx8480[at]
Vivian was an RA for SARG in 2014/2015 and collected data for several studies on facial emotion recognition. She is now a graduate student at Wilfred Laurier University (WLU) in the Child Memory Lab.


Dawn Chan
email: dawn_chan[at]
Dawn is a graduate student at Simon Fraser University.  She spearheaded several studies in SARG in 2012/2013 when the lab was just starting up!

tori cropTori Kling

email: torik[at]
Tori was the lab manager for SARG from 2012-2014.  She also completed her MEd. at SFU.  She left the lab to pursue motherhood, among many other things!

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