Bob McMurray

Prof. Bob McMurray is the director of the MACLab. He's a member of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences with appointments in Linguistics, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program.  Bob is currently the reigning champion in the lab at Klatt Synthesis and Excel. 

Email: bob-mcmurray at uiowa dot edu | Website

Postdoctoral Researcher

Sarah Colby

Sarah Colby is a postdoc in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Originally from southern Ontario, she completed her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University in Montreal. Her research interests include speech perception and lexical processing in aging and hearing impaired populations, and the interaction between cognitive and sensory factors for these processes. As part of the CI Language Lab, she is currently working on projects investigating the dynamics of lexical processing in individuals with cochlear implants.

Email: sarah-colby at uiowa dot edu

Graduate Students

picture of Francis

Francis Smith is originally from Cleveland and earned his B.A. in English (with a focus on education) from Ohio Wesleyan University and his M.A. in Educational Psychology from Kent State University. Outside of the lab, Francis spends a good deal of his time caring for his dog-- but he also enjoys snowboarding, board games, and pub quizzes.

Email: francis-smith at uiowa dot edu

Tanja Roembke

McCall Sarrett is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program. She has broad interests in word learning, speech perception, lexical integration, and sound symbolism, and in using techniques such as eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), and electrocorticography (ECoG) to explore the perceptual timing and neuroanatomical correlates underlying these processes.

McCall is a Nashville native and completed her B.A. in Neuroscience and the Perception of Language at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, whistling, and making ice cream. 

Email: mccall-sarrett at uiowa dot edu | Website


Kelsey Klein is originally from Hoquiam, Washington, and studied Psychology and Linguistics at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She is a graduate student in audiology and is completing an integrated AuD/PhD program. Broadly, she is interested in how children with hearing lost utilize cognitive and linguistic abilities to develop language and understand speech. In her free time, you can often find Kelsey training and competing in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Email: kelsey-e-klein at uiowa dot edu



Keith Apfelbaum is a research scientist in the MACLab, as well as an adjunct assistant professor for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. His research interests include mechanisms of learning, reading and speech perception. 

Email: keith-apfelbaum at uiowa dot edu


Jamie Klein-Packard manages the Spence Labs location of the MACLab. She coordinates our eyetracking research on language and cognitive processing in typical adults and also manages the Growing Words Project (website).

Contact Jamie with questions about Growing Words, adult studies, typically-developing children studies, Sona, or if you are an undergraduate student interested in joining the lab.

Email: jamie-klein-1 at uiowa dot edu


Kristin Rooff is a native Iowan and earned her M.A. in Psychology (with an emphasis in Clinical Science) at the University of Northern Iowa. She manages the CI Language Lab at the University of Iowa Hospital, where she conducts speech processing research with individuals who use cochlear implants or have hearing aids. Her personal research interests include exploring the neurobiological basis of psychopathologies and the impact of psychosocial stressors on neuroendocrine functioning. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and working in wildlife conservation.

Contact Kristin with questions about studies involving adults or children with cochlear implants, hearing aids, or normal hearing.

Email: kristin-rooff at uiowa dot edu


Samantha Chiu is a research assistant in the MACLab and the research coordinator for EEG studies. Originally from NYC, she completed her B.A. in Psychology at the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY. Her research interests lie in the intersection of music and speech perception. In her free time, you can find her singing pop songs and showtunes at the top of her lungs.

Email: samantha-chiu at uiowa dot edu


Sneh Jhaveri is a research assistant for the Cedar Rapids branch of the Growing Words Project. She has both a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Pune in Pune, India and an M.S. in Psychological Sciences/Developmental Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas. Sneh has worked as a behavior therapist and is particularly interested in communication skills in children. Outside of the lab, Sneh enjoys dancing to Bollywood songs and singing to Taylor Swift songs in her car.

Contact Sneh if you have a child in the Cedar Rapids area who might be interested in participating in the Growing Words Project.

Email: sneh-jhaveri at uiowa dot edu


Alex Fell is a research assistant for the Cedar Rapids branch of the Growing Words Project. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Reading Endorsement from Iowa State University and an Ed. M in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has worked for 10 years as a kindergarten teacher, in addition to work in education research and policy.  Her interests lie in language development and the neuroscience of early childhood education and intervention. Outside of the lab, Alex enjoys spending time with her family, especially her two young children, as well as reading, writing, cooking, and being outdoors.

Contact Alex if you have a child in the Cedar Rapids area who might be interested in participating in the Growing Words Project.

Email: alexandra-fell at uiowa dot edu

  Undergraduate Research Assistants

Emily Domabyl
        Emily Domabyl


Hianca Pinho

Emily Kaplan

Mara Halverson

Jadie Knobbe