Laura Cirelli, PhD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Cirelli received her PhD in psychology from McMaster University. She began directing the TEMPO lab at the University of Toronto, Scarborough in 2018. Her previous research explored how musical activities promote infant prosociality, and how parental song regulates both parent and infant emotional responses. These findings have been featured on David Suzuki’s “The Nature of Things” and National Public Radio’s “Hidden Brain.”

Angela Dou
PhD Candidate

Angela is a second-year PhD student in experimental psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her research interests focus on the intersection between developmental psychology and music engagement among young children. She is especially interested in how parental cues affect song familiarity, and in turn how song recognition affects attentive, emotional, and kinetic expression in infancy. Outside of the lab, Angela enjoys playing the piano, swimming, and watching sci-fi movies.

Matt Eitel, MSc
Lab Coordinator


Matt completed his MSc in the Music, Mind and Brain program at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. His main research interests focus on the perception of chord progressions and how we interpret harmonic content in music. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing the classical guitar, reading about history, and pondering anything related to music theory.

Catherine Tan
Research Assistant

Catherine is an undergraduate student majoring in Music Education and minoring in Psychology at the University of Toronto. Upon her anticipated graduation in 2023, she hopes to continue to explore her interests in education, music cognition and musics’ influence on well-being. Beyond her studies, she enjoys performing and teaching music, baking and traveling.

Alexander Withers
Research Assistant

“Alexander is currently a third-year student at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) specializing in Mental Health Studies with a Minor in Literature and Film Studies. He is interested in better understanding the complexities of cognitive development and mental health in children and adolescents. In his free time, Alexander enjoys watching movies, playing basketball, and listening to podcasts.”

Jerlene Pandian
Research Assistant


Jerlene is completing her third year specializing in CO-OP Psychology with a minor in Applied Statistics at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She is interested in pursuing her graduate studies within the realms of infant development and cognition. Apart from school, Jerlene enjoys learning the ukulele, listening to music, and spending time outdoors.

Brianna Wedderburn
Research Assistant


Brianna is a fourth-year student in the Psychology Specialist program. She is passionate about creating inclusive spaces for children with disabilities, and hopes to explore this more in graduate studies and throughout her career. In her free time, Brianna enjoys listening to music, cooking, and playing video games. She is excited to be a part of the TEMPO Lab sharing her love of music and research with the community!

Kaynaat Abrar
Research Assistant


Kaynaat is a second-year student completing her BSc pursuing Psychological and Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is interested in how different exposures to music play a role in the development of children. She enjoys working with young children and is passionate about creating safe spaces for diverse communities. Aside from academics, Kaynaat enjoys making jewelry, listening to music, and participating in outdoor activities.

Makeda Ralph
SROP Student


Makeda is currently a fourth- year student at the University of Guelph specializing in Psychology. Makeda has chosen to dedicate her studies to the vast realm of early childhood development. With her studies, she is determined to uncover the cognitive, emotional and developmental formative years of childhood. She is passionate about creating an inclusive, warm and diverse integration of understanding mental health and well-being within BIPOC communities. Makeda has a natural connection with children and during her free time, she enjoys listening to music, sketching, creating lo-fi study playlist and playing the flute. She is excited to be a part of the TEMPO lab, as she learns how music can connect us one note at a time.

Past Members

Haley Kragness, Post-doc Fellow 2019-2022

Nekeisha Jean-Baptiste, Research Assistant 2021-2023

David Wang, Research Assistant 2022-2023

Areeba Qureshi, Research Assistant 2020-2022

Irene Guerrero, Research Assistant 2021-2022

Aghilan Aiyadurai, Research Assistant 2021-2022

Emma Chan, Volunteer 2021-2022

Arooba Mansoor, Thesis Student 2021-2022

Faith Anantharajan, Thesis Student 2021-2022

Farhat Ullah, Project Student 2020-2021

Parjanya Parikh, Project Student 2020-2021

Hanqi Chen, Project Student 2020-2021

Jeffnie Fernando, Project Student 2020-2021

Anusha Dath, Research Assistant 2020-2021

Mikayla Samuel, Lab Coordinator 2020, Research Assistant 2021

Idila Yogeswaran, Research Assistant 2019-2021

Marisa Oliveros, Research Assistant 2019-2021

Sydney Chiu, Research Assistant 2020-2021

Fatima Ali, Research Assistant 2020

Calpanaa Jegatheeswaran, Project Student 2019-2020

Deepika Elango, Lab Manager 2018-2019

Ella Lawrence, Research Assistant 2018-2019

Esther Chow, Summer Intern 2020

Heala Maudoodi, Project Student 2019-2020

Joey Ball, Summer Intern 2020

Julia Santiago, Project Student 2019-2020, Research Assistant Summer 2019

Kevin Naismith, Volunteer 2019

Labeeb Talukder

Lanyi Lin, Lab Coordinator 2019-2020

Laiba Rizwan

Lucy Anderson, Summer Intern 2020

Mishal Dar

Neena Jegandran, Thesis Student 2019-2020

Rachel Moses, Summer Intern 2020

Rachel Peiris, Thesis Student 2019-2020, Project Student 2018-2019

Saghar Baqizada, Research Assistant 2018-2020

Sangavi Sivananthan

Sankeetha Kathir, Project Student 2020

Shreya Jha