The CAASD Team

Dr Fang Liu (PI)

Fang Liu is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading. She received her PhD in Linguistics and MS in Statistics from the University of Chicago. Her research aims to understand how the human brain processes pitch information for linguistic and musical purposes during production and perception. Her current areas of research include speech prosody in tone versus non-tonal languages, pitch processing in typical and atypical populations, speech/music production and perception, and cognitive and neural bases of pitch processing.



Professor Cunmei Jiang (Co-I)

Cunmei Jiang is a Professor of Musicology in the Music College at Shanghai Normal University, China. She received her PhD in Musicology from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 2005. She then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Jiang has a wide variety of research interests, including music psychology, music performance, and Mozart piano music. Her current research focuses on congenital amusia, comparison between music and speech processing, music emotion, and therapeutic effects of music on speech disorders (particularly on aphasia and autism).


Dr Chen Zhao

Chen Zhao is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading.  She received her PhD in Medicine from The University of Manchester. She has experience in using neuroscience tools to study language and social-emotion development in children. She is currently working on the ‘CAASD’ project, exploring music and language comprehension and prediction in Mandarin speakers with and without ASD.



Dr Jia Hoong Ong

Jia Hoong Ong is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Reading.  He received his PhD in Psychology from Western Sydney University in Australia, and then did a postdoc in the Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research interests include statistical learning, language & music, individual differences, memory, speech perception, and music cognition. In 2019-20, he worked on the ‘CAASD’ project, exploring category learning, emotion processing, and mental representation of speech and music in amusia and autism. He is currently working on his “LearningEmotions” project, 887283, supported by an MSCA Individual Fellowship.


Dr Ariadne Loutrari

Ariadne Loutrari is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading. She received her PhD in Linguistics from Birkbeck, University of London and a postdoctoral research grant from the Wellcome Trust. She previously worked as a teaching fellow at Aston University and as a lecturer in psycholinguistics at The University of Manchester. Her research interests include the parallel study of language and music, speech and language disorders and congenital amusia. She is currently working on the ‘CAASD’ project, investigating auditory processing in congenital amusia.


Florence Leung

Florence Leung has recently completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Reading under Dr. Fang Liu’s supervision on the ‘CAASD’ project and now continues to work on this project as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant. She obtained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Bristol in 2015, followed by an MSc in Development, Disorders, and Clinical Practice from the University of York in 2016. Her research interests focus on emotion processing across communicative domains (e.g., human and nonhuman face, speech prosody, and song) in autism from a developmental perspective, while exploring potential factors that may be related to these processes.


Anamarija Veic

Anamarija Veic is a PhD student at the University of Reading. She obtained a BSc in Psychology from Catholic University of Croatia and an MSc in Developmental Disorders from Lancaster University. She is currently in her 4th year of the PhD program working on the ‘CAASD’ project under Dr. Fang Liu’s supervision where her research focuses on music and language processing in English speakers with and without ASD.




Ellie Packham

Ellie Packham is an undergraduate student at the University of Reading, working to obtain a BSc in Psychology. She is currently completing a year-long placement working on the CAASD project with Dr. Fang Liu. She is assisting with research that aims to investigate the underlying mechanisms of pitch processing in language and music through comparative studies of congenital amusia and ASD.



Roshni Vagadia

Roshni Vagadia is studying BSc Psychology (with a professional placement year) at the University of Reading. She has strong interests in the Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology fields, and aspires to pursue a career as a Clinical Psychologist. Before starting University, she had the opportunity to shadow a Clinical Psychologist in a private practice based in London. During the 2nd year of her degree, she completed an 80-hour placement within the University, researching incurable brain diseases through patient interviews. She is currently in her 3rd year, working on the “CAASD” project under Dr. Fang Liu’s supervision.