sign-lab 011 sign-lab 02

Previous Lab Members

Dalit Avnon

dalit copy

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I started working as a video editor in the Sign Language Lab in 2014. I am deaf. I am a graduate of Gallaudet University, Washington D.C., USA, a Deaf university ( Currently, I use Israeli Sign Language and American Sign Language. In my profession I am a graphic designer. In addition, I have been teaching sign language since 2009.

Calle Börstell

Carl Boerstell

Calle Börstell
During my time as a research assistant in 2012, I worked mainly on annotating and analyzing ABSL data for various projects. Some of that data was subsequently used for my PhD dissertation project on object marking and word order, after I returned to my alma mater – Stockholm University



Christina Healy

CFE Christine Healey pix2x2

Christina Healy

I am a doctoral candidate at Gallaudet University, and previously worked with the SLRL as a Fulbright scholar ( For that project we compared prosodic features such as manual rhythm and facial movements in Israeli Sign Language and American Sign Language. We found some similarities in how the languages use these features for grammatical purposes, which may point to universal features of the sign language modality. We also found language-specific forms that characterize the prosodic systems of each language.

Assaf Israel


Assaf Israel

During the time I had worked at the lab, my main interest has been the way manual gestures are constrained in the production of sign language. The set of constraints on manual articulation in sign language constitutes a significant part of the level of organization commonly referred to as sign language phonology. In the context of language emergence – studied at the lab through analyses of data collected from the nascent sign language of Al-Sayyid – one of the basic questions concerns the emergence of a phonological system – whether, when, and how such a system develops. A likely scenario is that phonological organization develops gradually rather than emerging full-blown.



Itamar Kastner

kastner-skItamar Kastner

A graduate student at New York University and formerly a research assistant at the lab. My main interest was sign language phonology, namely the way it takes form in emerging sign languages and its interplay with syntax, the structure of sentences. The way people combine sounds or signs to create meaning is a fundamental part of language, but this happens slightly differently in new sign languages. Our lab examines this using both theoretical and experimental methods.Nowadays I study the interplay of morphology and syntax, that is, the way we build up words and the way we build up sentences.

Sharon Ross


Sharon Ross Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I completed my master’s degree in linguistics at The Ohio State University, where my studies focused on first language acquisition in spoken languages. Through my research both in the Developmental Language and Cognition Lab and in the Spanish Psycholinguistics Lab, I investigated the development of children’s ability to interpret the meanings of various prosodic structures.

Oksana Tkachman


Oksana Tkachman Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Assistant. I became interested in sign language research while studying with Prof. Wendy Sandler. My MA thesis project focused on the noun/verb distinction in Israeli Sign Language (ISL) and Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL). I was also involved in the preparation of the dictionary of ABSL.
I currently work on compounding in ISL and ABSL, focusing primarily on general characteristics and developmental patterns of this basic morphological mechanism in the early stages of language development.

Federica Cavicchio

federica cavicchio less shadow

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
After completing my Ph.D from the Universita' degli studi di Trento (Italy) in Cognitive Neuroscience, with a thesis on computational aspects of emotion and cooperation (under the supervision of Prof. Massimo Poesio), I won a Marie Curie fellowship and worked at the University of Birmingham (UK) with Sotaro Kita on bilingualism and co-speech gesture transfer. I am currently working  in the Sign Language Research Lab as a post doctoral researcher on the ERC funded Grammar of the Body Project.  My goal is to investigate combinatoriality/recombinatoriality of facial expressions and body gestures in extreme emotion displays.  The  research team will investigate how each face and body  articulator is used and which combinations of those are plausible and communicative and which are not.


Noa Marom

noa crop2

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I joined the Sign Language Lab as a research assistant in January 2014. In the previous year, as part of my MA studies at the English department at Haifa University, I took the Co-Speech Gesture course given by Prof. Sandler, which introduced me to the fascinating world of Gesture research. I joined the lab to participate in the Grammar of the Body project.

Muneera Abu Roken


Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have been studying different languages all my life, but I only discovered my interest in linguistics after taking a seminar course in Pidgins and Creoles as part of my BA studies in the English department at the University of Haifa. I started working in the Sign Language Research Lab in 2014 as a research assistant. My work includes coding of data from different sign languages in Israel as well as Hebrew-Arabic-English translation.  After falling in love with Deaf culture through learning American Sign Language, I want to learn as much as I can about Israeli Sign Language and the people who use and expand it.