People of I-LABS: Bonnie Lau

I-LABSPeople of I-LABS

In the “People of I-LABS” series, we get to know individuals from our team. Today, we shine the spotlight on Bonnie Lau, a postdoctoral fellow who studies the development of the human auditory system.

People of I-LABS

Vibrant, super-smart and caring: these are just a few of the qualities that describe the dozens of interdisciplinary researchers at I-LABS. Their innovative ideas and technological savviness help drive the Institute’s reputation as a world leader in child development and brain science.

And their kindness, professionalism and sense of humor greet all of the hundreds of families that volunteer each year for studies at I-LABS.In the “People of I-LABS” series, we get to know the research scientists, post-doctoral fellows and other researchers who make up the elite team at I-LABS.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a postdoctoral research associate here at I-LABS who studies the development of the human auditory system. I am originally from Vancouver, Canada but have lived in Hong Kong, Beijing, Chicago, New York City, Minneapolis, and now, Seattle.

Why did you decide to become a researcher?

I actually started my career as an inpatient speech-language pathologist. One of my clinical areas of focus was pediatric brain injury, which was how I developed a fascination with neurodevelopment. My decision to pursue a career in research was triggered by all the unanswered questions I encountered in clinical practice. For my doctoral work, I chose to study infant auditory development because it offers a window into the earliest phase of prelinguistic development.

What big questions to you hope to answer with your research?

I hope that my research will ultimately improve our understanding of why some children develop speech and language impairments and how we may better identify and treat those at risk.

What research questions are you working on now?

1. How does the infant brain process sound? How does this change over the first year of life?

2. Are there differences in how the brain processes sound in individuals with autism spectrum disorder?

What’s your most significant career accomplishment so far?

I wouldn’t say that it’s an accomplishment but the opportunities that I have had in the past to teach, consult, or provide clinical services internationally has had a significant influence on me professionally. I have worked in a number of different countries in Africa, South America, and Asia, and these experiences help me take a global perspective on the work that I do here in North America.  

What’s your favorite part of working at I-LABS?

My favourite part of working at I-LABS is definitely my co-workers. It is inspiring to be surrounded by people from such diverse disciplines who have a shared passion for science.

What is your most exciting memory from being in the lab?

My very first successful infant MEG recording session was pretty exciting.  

What’s something we might not know about you?

Whenever I have time off, you will find me snowboarding, rock climbing, or scuba diving.