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Kaja Jasinska


Kaja Jasinska
Assistant Professor

email: kaja.jasinska@utoronto.ca  

Department: Applied Psychology and Human Development



Research Overview

Dr. Jasińska is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development and the Scientific Director of the Brain Organization for Language and Literacy Development (BOLD) Laboratory.

Dr. Jasińska studies the neural mechanisms that support language, cognitive, and reading development across the lifespan using a combination of behavioral, genetic, and neuroimaging research methods. Her research aims to understand how early life experiences (e.g. language exposure) can change the brain's capacity for language and learning, with focus on understanding development in environments with poverty-related risk (e.g. rural communities; low- and middle-income countries). Dr. Jasińska's work uses innovative portable neuroimaging techniques to study brain development in understudied, low-resource settings, leveraging the latest tools of cognitive neuroscience to advance our understanding of global child development. Her work develops and evaluates interventions to support children's learning and development, focusing on literacy. Dr. Jasinska is the co-creator of Allo Alphabet, a mobile phone ed-tech program that delivers reading lessons to children in rural Cote d'Ivoire.


Teaching Overview

1233 Cognitive Development and Applications
1288 Intermediate Statistics and Research Design


Representative Publications

  • Jasińska, K., Wolf. S., Jukes, M. & Dubeck, M. (2019). Literacy Acquisition in Multi-lingual Educational Contexts: Evidence from Coastal Kenya. Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12828
  • Jasińska, K. & Petitto, L.A. (2018). Age of Bilingual Exposure Predicts Distinct Contributions of Phonology and Semantics to Successful Reading Development. Child Development, 89 (1), 310-331. doi:10.1111/cdev.12745
  • Jasińska, K., Molfese, P., Mencl, W.E., Frost, S., Lee, M., Pugh, K.R., Grigorenko, E. & Landi, N. (2017). The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is associated with structural neuroanatomical differences in young children. Behavioural Brain Research, 328, 48-56. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.03.014
  • Jasińska, K., Berens, M. S., Kovelman, I. & Petitto, L.A. (2017). Bilingualism yields language-specific plasticity in left hemisphere’s circuitry for learning to read in young children. Neuropsychologia, 98, 34-45. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.11.018
  • Jasińska, K. & Petitto, L.A. (2014). Development of Neural Systems for Reading in the Monolingual and Bilingual Brain: New Insights from functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Neuroimaging. Developmental Neuropsychology, 39(6), 421-39. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2014.939180

 

Research Grants and Contracts

(Select)
UBS Optimus Foundation: Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) "Promoting Learning and Reducing Child Labor in Cote d'Ivoire Through Family- and School-based Interventions", Co-Principle Investigator
Jacobs Foundation "All Alphabet: Literacy Training by Phone to Improve Early Reading skills", Co-Principle Investigator
SRCD Young Scholar Exchange and Research Collaboration "Contributions of Executive Function to Literacy Development in Impoverished Settings", Co-Principle Investigator
Jacobs Foundation "Science Capacity Building in Cote d'Ivoire" [training grant], Principle Investigator

Honours and Awards

Society for functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Young Investigator Award 2018
Jacobs Foundation Early Career Fellow 2016-2018