Lab Members


Virginia Penhune, PhD. Lab Director/Principal Investigator

Virginia Penhune, PhD
Lab Director/Principal Investigator

Virginia Penhune is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University and an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill.  She is a founding member of the Montreal Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound (BRAMS).

Dr. Penhune received her BA degree in Philosophy from Wellesley College in 1981.  Upon realizing that the brain could be more fruitfully studied from the laboratory than from an armchair, she completed a PhD in Psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Michael Petrides.  Her doctoral research examined the neural basis of auditory rhythm perception and production. She then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Laval University with Dr. Julien Doyon focused on the neural basis of motor skill learning.  Dr. Penhune joined the Department of Psychology at Concordia University in 2000.

The research in Dr. Penhune’s laboratory explores the neural basis of human motor skill learning and performance, with an emphasis on the impact of development and expertise. She uses structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to examine the role of the cerebellum, striatum and motor cortical areas in motor learning, and to explore auditory-motor integration in the context of the perception and production of musical rhythms.  This research program takes a broad developmental perspective, including studies in children and older adults, as well as individuals with musical training.  Important current lines of research include investigating the neural basis of auditory-motor interactions, the impact of early musical training on behaviour and brain structure, and transfer from music training to language skills.

Work in Dr. Penhune’s lab is funded by both national and provincial agencies, including the National Science and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Grammy Foundation.

penhune lab logo

Oscar Bedford
PhD Student

I'm PhD student at McGill University co-supervised by Robert Zatorre. My research examines motor system excitability in musical contexts using brain stimulation and EEG.

Jake Shenker

Jake Shenker
PhD Candidate

I'm a PhD student in clinical psychology at Concordia University. I hold a Master's degree in neuroscience from McGill University, and my research is funded by NSERC. My current research examines differences in brain structure associated with the age of acquisition of musical training. Outside of the lab, I currently work as a therapist at Concordia’s Applied Psychology Centre, and have trained at the Allan Memorial Institute and the Douglas Hospital. I’m also a musician: I play a bunch of instruments, and have arranged, conducted, recorded and produced music in numerous styles for varying media.

Learn more about me at jshenker.com 

Alexander Albury

Alexander Albury
PhD Candidate

I'm a PhD candidate in the Psychology Department at Concordia University. I completed an MA in Social Sciences at The University of Chicago, and a BA in Psychology at The University of The Bahamas. My research focuses on how complexity, expectation, and enjoyment in music interact to affect motor learning. My research interests include music cognition, cognitive neuroscience, and psycholinguistics. I'm also interested in data science and machine learning techniques. I'm an avid R user, and passionate about data science scholarship and education.

Email: alexander.albury@mail.concordia.ca

Website: alexalbury.com

Isaac Romkey

Isaac Romkey
MA Student

I'm a Master's student in the clinical psychology program at Concordia University. I hold a BSc in Psychology from Dalhousie University. My current research focuses on investigating musical groove, the pleasurable desire to want to move to music. In particular, I am investigating if the pleasurable sensation and wanting to move are separable from one another. My research interests include perception and encoding, cognitive neuroscience, and psychopathology. I also have a passion for data science and open science.

Email: isaac.romkey@mail.concordia.ca

Chad Vachon

Chad Vachon
MA Student

I'm a Master’s Clinical Psychology student at Concordia. I earned a Masters in Psychology from York University where I specialized, won awards, and published articles on understanding how motor learning changes under various conditions. I am currently researching the neural basis of motor learning by finding out where and how the brain processes information from sound and movement. I'm passionate about improving our understanding of motor learning so that we can improve people’s daily use of technology.

Email: chad.vachon@mail.concordia.ca

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