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 fourth-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.

Kaveri Sheth
Graduate Student

    Kaveri is a first-year Ph.D student in Linguistics at the University of Washington. Prior to coming to UW for her Ph.D, she earned her BA in Psychology, Linguistics and Spanish at Emory University. Her research interests are second language acquisition, bilingualism, and how different contexts and environments can affect an infant's ability to learn languages. Outside of the lab and classroom, Kaveri enjoys reading, running, and playing with her puppy!

Lili Correa
Undergraduate Student

    Lili is a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Psychology. Her main areas of interest include development and the scientific method. This quarter, she is working with Naja to explore how parents speak with their children and the direct impact this has on child language acquisition. She is especially intrigued by the malleability of children’s brains when later learning a second language. In her free time, Lili enjoys taking her cat on walks and traveling—even if it's only to an unexplored part of Seattle.

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.


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