Principal Investigator

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

Graduate Students

John Yang
John is a MA student in Educational psychology. He is currently a research assistant in the lab with particular interest in social perception in people with ASD



Research Assistants

Kari Gustafson
Kari is a PhD student in Faculty of education at SFU. Her focus is qualitative and ethnographic-based research with persons with ASD and their experiences with education and social inclusion / exclusion. Kari is working as an RA in SARG on the sound sensitivity project.


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 research assistantship co-supervised by Dr. Birmingham and Dr. Arzanpour (MSE).


Behnaz Bahmei



Junette Gonzales



Rebecca Fisher
Rebecca completed her undergraduate degree at SFU, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Kinesiology. Rebecca is currently working as an Infant Development Consultant in the city of Burnaby and hopes to continue her education by pursuing her Masters of Occupational Therapy, in the future.


Lab Alumni

Dominic Trevisan
email: dtrevisa[at]
Dominic completed his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled, Alexithymia and Atypical Facial Expressions in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, under the supervision of Dr. Birmingham. Dominic’s research was supported by a SFU Multi-Year Funding Award and the Autism Research Training (ART) program. In addition to his research, Dominic served as an editor for the SFU Education Review, and as a research coordinator and mentor for SFU’s Autism Mentorship Initiative. He also founded the SFU Social Behaviour Colloquium. Dominic is now a Hilibrand Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale School of Medicine in Dr. James McPartland’s lab.

Cindy Shi
email: qiwans[at]
Cindy was 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.


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.


Zoe Crane
email: zcrane[at]
Zoe was an undergraduate student at SFU completing the Psychology major, Counselling and Human Development minor, and Certificate in Liberal Arts programs. Zoe was interested in learning more about ASD research through SARG and began volunteering in the lab in Fall 2017. She helped with research projects on ASD and the display of facial expressions.

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


Pamela 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 was a privilege on this journey.

Cathy Lin
: 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
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 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 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!