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Cambridge Babylab



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Embodied Logo

We are interested in how attentional and motor skills in young children affect learning in everyday settings, such as play between parent and child. This is important to understand, because children with various genetic syndromes often present with attentional and motor difficulties early in development. We believe our research could greatly inform future interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders and help us to advise parents and teachers on how to best support children’s learning.

We are looking for young children with Down syndrome or Williams syndrome, as well as typically developing children.

If you are interested in learning more about this research, please get in touch (



Lab Members Bio:


Dr Hana D'Souza

I currently hold the Beatrice Mary Dale Research Fellowship in Psychology at Newnham College, and I am an Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. I am also an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. 

I completed a Master’s degree with a focus on Clinical Psychology at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. During these studies I spent a year at the University of Toronto. I then obtained an MSc in Psychological Research from the University of Oxford. Subsequently, I undertook a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Following my PhD, I became a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL and at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. As part of the London Down Syndrome (LonDownS) Consortium, I have been investigating individual differences and interactions between various domains and levels of description across development in infants and toddlers with Down syndrome. The LonDownS Consortium is a multidisciplinary team of human geneticists, cellular biologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and mouse geneticists, whose aim is to understand the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, and to identify protective and risk factors that could inform interventions.

Research Interests: I am interested in the development of attention and motor abilities, and how these interact over developmental time and constrain other domains in typically and atypically developing children. My research focuses on infants and toddlers with neurodevelopmental disorders of known genetic origin, such as Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Williams syndrome.



Research Staff


Kate Mee

I am a staff research assistant on the Embodied Attention and Learning project. I am interested in early cognitive development, and research which works towards the optimisation of developmental potential in populations who are vulnerable to developmental delay.

Whilst undertaking my BSc in Psychology at the University of Bath, I took a placement year in the Families, Effective Leaning and Literacy research group at the University of Oxford. Here I had the opportunity to conduct novel analyses into the relationship between early measures of self-regulation and cognitive outcomes. After graduating, I worked for two years as a research assistant in the Developmental Dynamics lab at the University of East Anglia, working within the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Within this project I undertook several research visits to a significantly disadvantaged community in North India, investigating the effects of adversity on early cognitive and neural development, with a view to designing targeted interventions.

I am motivated by the potential to use science to inform the real-world lived experiences of individuals, and as such am excited to join the Cambridge Babylab, and to learn more about the developmental experiences of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.



Graduate Students


Sofia Hryniv

I am an MPhil student in Biological Sciences, specialising in developmental psychopathology and cognitive development. I completed my undergraduate degree as a natural scientist here at the university, and had the opportunity to work in the Embodied Attention and Learning lab as part of my third year project. The research caught my interest, so I applied to continue my studies in the lab, and I am now very excited to be part of the Babylab team! I am particularly interested in the intersection that this lab offers between the theoretical research and the clinical applications, especially for exploring the mechanisms behind cognitive development.
I am looking forward to working with the rest of the team to further the current study, develop my research skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the field of developmental psychopathology and the ways in which it extends beyond theoretical research. I am confident that the work in the Babylab will broaden my understanding of the field, and help me develop my interests in cognition and development for both research and clinical opportunities.



Jean Heng

I am a first-year PhD student at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, supervised by Prof. Claire Hughes and Dr. Hana D'Souza. I completed a Masters of Science degree in Psychology (Clinical Science) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Within the Michigan Early Development, Culture and Psychopathology Lab (MEDCAP), I examined Malaysian mothers' ethnotheories of children's maladaptive behaviours, with a focus on how cultural beliefs shape parental attributions of children's behaviour. My research interests lie at the intersection of parent-child interactions and contextual family factors. Specifically, I am interested to know how contextual factors influence dyadic processes that occur between parents and children, and how these processes subsequently predict children's cognitive and socioemotional outcomes. I am excited to be working with the Embodied Attention & Learning lab to further explore these questions within typically and atypically developing child populations.



Undergraduate Students

Harry Armstrong

I am a third year Psychological and Behavioural Sciences student at the University of Cambridge, carrying out my dissertation with the Embodied Attention and Learning Lab. I will be coding observational data relating to the interactions between infants with Down syndrome and their parents, and using this data to explore and write up my own research question. I am interested in studying neurodevelopmental disorders as alternative developmental trajectories within the paradigm of neurodiversity, especially interested in autism, and autistic affect and cognition within social situations. I am very interested in learning more about Down syndrome, and the surrounding social context of family interactions, considering the ways in which these may shape and be shaped by features of infant cognition. 




Candice Lau

I am a third year student studying Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. For my final year research dissertation, I will be working within this project to investigate how motor constraints in children with Down syndrome affect language learning in parent-child interactions. I am interested in learning more about the developmental pathways of children, especially those with neurodevelopmental disorders; and how research can shed light on how to provide the best support and intervention programmes for them.


Placement Students


Anna Maria Manti

I am a third-year Psychology student at the University of Surrey with great interests in Neurodevelopmental psychology and research. For this year, I will be working as a placement student in the Embodied Attention and Learning project here at the university. My curiosity and desire to explore more about the psychological world and help individuals has led me to participate in numerous volunteering activities such as helping children with autism and selective mutism and assisting researchers in a Biomedical Imaging Laboratory in Portugal. Finding myself engulfed within such hands-on environments, I realized how much science captured me while allowing me to explore fascinating internal processes.




Anna Rudge

I am a third-year Psychology student from the University of Bath, and I am joining the Embodied Attention and Learning project as a placement student. I am deeply fascinated by the developmental aspect of Psychology, something prompted by my volunteering at the University of Kent, where I shadowed child studies and ran eye-tracking experiments. In future, I hope to apply developmental theory to working with children with specific additional needs, particularly in the context of language and attentional abilities.



Graduate Students


Rhys Proud (MPhil, Cambridge)

Lauryna Filatovaite (MSc, Utrecht)


Undergraduate Students


Sofia Hryniv

Sophie Truesdale

Amy Williams



Rosanna Hurst

Adelaide Mettrick


Erasmus+ Trainees


Veronica Capaldo


Placement Students


Fay Petratou


Summer/Winter Internship Students

Winter 2020

Maisha Hossain


Summer 2020

Leoni Boyle


Summer 2019

Rhys Proud