Lab Members
Dr. Naja Ferjan Ramírez
Principal Investigator

    Naja (pronounced Naya) Ferjan Ramírez is an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Washington and holds the Distinguished Professorship in Language Acquisition and Multilingualism Endowment. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. Naja's research focuses on understanding the extent and origins of variability in brain growth and linguistic development among young children of diverse backgrounds. She uses multiple methodologies, including naturalistic recordings in children's homes and early education centers, magnetoencephalography (MEG), and behavioral language measures in the laboratory. Naja is a proud mother of three young children who listen to and speak three languages at home: Slovene, Spanish, and English.

Dr. Akira Omaki
In Memoriam

    The Language Development and Processing Lab would like to remember and celebrate its founder, Akira, who passed away on August 6th 2018, following complications from lymphoma. We invite you to read this longer tribute to our inspiring colleague and friend.

Dr. Marina Oganyan
Naomi Tachikawa Shapiro
Graduate Student

    Naomi is a third-year Ph.D. student in Computational Linguistics at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on natural and artificial linguistic intelligence: how humans and machines understand and produce language. Prior to coming to UW for her Ph.D., she earned her master's in Symbolic Systems at Stanford University.

Sujin Cho
Undergraduate Student

    Sujin Cho is a senior pursing a degree in Linguistics at the University of Washington. She is fascinated by the brain sciences, and is particularly intrigued by humans' capacity to learn languages. This quarter, Sujin will be working with Naja Ferjan Ramírez to learn about coding and data manipulation, and to develop her skills in linguistic-related research methods. She plans on continuing her studies in the field of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and hopes her experience with Naja will expand her knowledge on child language development. Outside of the lab and classroom, Sujin enjoys vegetarian cooking, music, and movies.

Undergraduate Student

    Dominique is a senior at UW-Seattle and is double majoring in Korean and Linguistics. Her research interests include foreign language study, linguistics, and language acquisition. This quarter, Dominique is working with Naja to learn about analyzing data and extrapolating applicable data segments to help further ongoing research. She enjoys discussing and studying first and second language acquisition, acquiring English as a second language, and comparing English and Korean language usage in their respective cultural setting. Outside of the lab and classroom, she enjoys chatting with her friends from around the world, trying new cuisines, and traveling to all different parts of the globe.

Wenjun Ma
Undergraduate Student

    Wenjun Ma is a junior at UW-Seattle, currently working towards a double degree in Psychology and Linguistics. His research interests include the neurobiology of memory and language, neuroplasticity mechanisms of behavior, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and language processing and development. This quarter, Wenjun is working with Naja to learn about coding and data manipulation for ongoing research projects. He is intrigued by the cognitive and brain sciences as he learned about the unimaginable human capacity to learn new skills, retain memory, acquire multiple languages, etc. Outside of the lab and classroom, he enjoys reading, traveling the world, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family.

Jake McManus
Undergraduate Student

    Jake is a rising senior at the University of Washington, majoring in linguistics. His research interests include second language acquisition, natural language processing, and statistical learning. This year Jake is working with Dr. Ferjan Ramírez on a project investigating possible connections between certain linguistic aspects of the language input children receive and their acquisition of that language. In his free time Jake enjoys music, cooking, staying active, and being outdoors.


Dr. Ferjan Ramírez is always interested in mentoring curious, passionate, and motivated students! If you are interested in hearing about upcoming research opportunities in the lab, please email her directly at