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Wendy Sandler

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Wendy Sandler is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Haifa and Founding Director of the Sign Language Research Lab there.  She received her PhD in theoretical linguistics from the University of Texas-Austin.  She has developed models of sign language phonology and prosody that exploit general linguistic principles to reveal both the similarities and the differences in natural languages in two modalities. More recently, her work has turned to the emergence of new sign languages and ways in which the body is recruited to manifest increasingly complex linguistic form within a community of signers. With the GRAMBY project, Wendy Sandler's work expands to explore the relation between the body and the compositional structure of human language. Principal Investigator, The Grammar of the Body Project. Website

Katja Liebal

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Katja Liebal works as a professor for Comparative Developmental Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her main research interest centers on the multimodal communication of nonhuman apes and humans, with focus on the developmental trajectories of their gestural and facial communication and their cognitive foundations. Senior Researcher, Chimpanzee Communication Project. Website

Atay Citron

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Atay Citron is associate professor and former chair of the Theatre Department at the University of Haifa. He is the head of the Ebisu Sign Language Theatre Laboratory and the director of its first show, It’s Not About Ebisu. In 2006, he founded the first full-time academic training program for medical clowns, and since then, he has been studying the work of medical clowns as well as the work of ritual clowns, shamans and traditional healers all over the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Performance Studies, New York University, and is the co-editor of Performance Studies in Motion (Bloomsbury, 2014). Citron is an independent theatre artist. He served as artistic director of international and alternative theatre festivals, and was awarded the 2004 Rosenblum Prize for excellence in the performing arts. Senior Researcher, Theatre Project

Simone Shamay-Tsoory

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Simone Shamay-Tsoory is Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel. Her work seeks to understand the neural mechanisms underlying social behaviour and in particularly empathy. To address these issues she works with various populations of patients as well as with healthy individuals and uses neuroscience tools including neuroimaging, neurostimulation and psycho- pharmacological techniques. Senior Researcher, Brain Activity Project. Website

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Federica Cavicchio

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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.

Linda Scheider

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 Linda Scheider works as a PostDoc in the GRAMBY project and is affiliated with the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. Her research interest concerns the communicative and emotional expressions of chimpanzees and the link to similar human expressions. She is a FACS coder for humans and different non-human primate species. Her work focuses on whole body expressions as well (gestures and body positions) and how these elements are combined when used in social interactions. Her methods include observational studies on chimpanzees in Zoos and semi-wild conditions and eye-tracking. Website

Rose Stamp

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My research interests include sign linguistics, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics and, in particular, variation and change within smaller unique deaf communities. For the past few years I have been working with the British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus Project team (http://www.bslcorpusproject.org/). I completed my PhD in sociolinguistic variation and change of BSL at the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) in London, looking at several different aspects of how the language is changing and the reasons why. ​

I started working at the Sign Language Research Lab in 2014 as a post doctoral researcher on the Grammar of the Body Project. My role on the Grammar of the Body Project will be to look comparatively at Israeli, Al Sayyid Bedouin and Kfar Qasem Sign Languages. As part of the sign language team, we will be investigating how each articulator is used linguistically across generations of signers.​

Gal Belsitzman

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Research Assistant. I studied linguistics at Tel aviv University, where I was also working as a research assistant at the lab of Prof. Ruth Berman for 3 years. My interest in Sign Language started while I was training to be a professional dancer - I am intrigued by the symbiosis of language and movement. I started working as a research assistant in the Sign Language Research Lab in 2011. I work on several research projects: the notion of accent in Sign Language, the semantic and phonological mapping of two handed signs, and my PhD research project will focus on the language of the body, incorporating the fields of Sign Language and Theatre.

 

Svetlana Dachkovsky

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Research Assistant. Through my work as research assistant on the prosody project in the lab, I became interested in facial expressions that function as intonation in sign language and in ways of distinguishing linguistic and affective facial expressions. My masters’ thesis focuses on the role of facial expression in marking neutral and counterfactual conditionals in Israeli Sign Language (ISL), and identifies general pragmatic meanings of the individual facial components characterizing these two types of conditionals, as well as other linguistic constructions in ISL.

Livnat Leemor

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I am a PhD student in Psychology and Biology with a specialization in Brain Studies. My studies in Neuropsychology combine clinical and research training. Researcher on the brain activity project.

 

Yifat Ben-Zeev

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 As a bilingual (Israeli Sign Language and Hebrew) I am fascinated by sign languages, working with them from various angles. In education, I teach Deaf children and youth from different backgrounds and communities (Jews, Arabs, etc.). It is fascinating to discover the cultural wealth and the variety of sign languages the children display. As a translator I work in translation for educational purposes and am interested specifically in translation from Israeli Sign Language to the spoken language, a task which is no small feat, and am a lecturer in programs for training Israeli Sign Language interpreters.

In addition, I work as a research assistant in our lab on projects investigating sign languages in various communities across the country.

Sarah Lanesman

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Research Assistant. I am deaf, as are my sisters. Sign language is my main and preferred mode of communication in all aspects of life. I have an MA degree from the University of Central Lancshire, Preston, UK. My thesis is titled: "Algerian Jewish Sign Language: its emergence and survival", supervized by Prof. Ulrike Zeshan and Dr. Irit Meir. This is the first publication and documentation of this endangered language. In the sign language research lab I was involved in several projects: The history of ISL, Village sign languages of Israel and Algerian Jewish Sign Language.

In addition, I am a certified special education teacher and a sign language instructor in various venues, e.g. the Kibutizim College and Sign Language Interperting program. I headed a program for training sign language instructors in the Institute for Advancement of Deaf People and am part of a team for the promotion of sign language in the educational system.

Debby Menashe

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I started working as a research assistant in the lab in 1998. My work is on Israeli Sign Language (ISL) since it is my native language (I was born to a deaf family). My work includes translation, documentation and coding of different linguistic materials of ISL. While working here, I discovered that sign language arouses deep interest in me, and that there is a fascinating deaf community behind it, with a unique mental and cultural character.

Through my work, I have come to value my native language, and my ties with it have become stronger.

I have participated in a research project on the history of ISL, in which I discovered various forms of signs used by different generations of signers. Last year I also became involved in a new project on new sign languages that evolved on their own in village communities in Israel. I learned that several different rich sign cultures are hidden in the tiny state of Israel. It really makes me happy to study other sign languages. 

Muneera Abu Roken

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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.

Shai Davidi

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Video technician. My work in the lab encompasses all video-related tasks. It includes video recording in the lab and in the field, digitizing videotape for use on computer, reorganizing the data for various types of analysis, and extracting and preparing pictures from videotape for all lab publications.