People of I-LABS: Christina Zhao

I-LABSPeople 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. Where do you come from? What are you doing at I-LABS?           

I grew up in China. I moved to Washington State 11 years ago for college and have been here since. I’m currently a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kuhl’s lab where I also finished my Ph.D.

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

The central question of my research concerns how our early auditory experience affects how we develop to hear the sounds in our environment.

What inspired you to study this topic?           

I love sounds. I was trained in piano performance on the side and loves learning languages. J Most of us experience very dynamic and complex auditory environment on a daily basis (talking, music, cars driving by etc. etc.) and it was just the coolest thing for me to study how our brains develop to hear the sounds that we hear.

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

The multi-cultural aspects of I-LABS. I-LABS is like a mini United Nation where you can talk to colleagues from all over the world.

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

Seeing my own brain images and measuring activities from my own brain!

How can people use your discoveries in their own lives?           

Play fun musical activities with your baby! (Also see my module on early music learning)