Invited Presenters

Carol Padden

Professor of Communication,
Center for Research in Language, Human Development, Education Studies
Department of Communication
UC San Diego


Marieke Schouwstra

Marieke Schouwstra studies the emergence of linguistic structure by conducting laboratory experiments in which participants develop artificial sign languages from scratch. She focuses on the role of semantic properties in improvisation, interaction, and iterated learning, and compares her laboratory results to real world data by looking at observations from old and new sign languages.

Postdoctoral Researcher,
Centre for Language Evolution
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
University of Edinburgh


Sonja Vernes

Sonja Vernes investigates vocal learning in bats to understand the biology and evolution of this trait using cross-disciplinary approaches spanning genetics and genomics, neurobiology, and behaviour. She places these findings in a comparative context to shed light on the shared properties of mammalian vocal learning and ultimately, human speech and language.

Max Planck Research Group Leader
Neurogenetics of Vocal Communication Group
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Affiliated Principal Investigator
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Founding Director, Bat1K genome project