Sara Sanchez-Alonso, Ph.D.

Sara Sanchez-Alonso's picture
Associate Research Scientist
Haskins Laboratories


Language Learning and Multisensory Brain (LLAMB) Lab


PhD Yale University, 2018
MA Yale University, 2014

Research Interests:

My overarching research focus is on human language. I am particularly interested in early childhood, an important period to establish foundational language skills, which are crucial for later language and educational achievements. Most language delays and disorders emerge during the first years of life and are diagnosed only in the absence of expected behavioral milestones. Although behavioral milestones in language acquisition have been extensively characterized, it is virtually unknown how language-related neural systems develop over time and how they may contribute to early diagnosis of developmental disorders.

My research addresses this gap by investigating language-related neural and behavioral variation using complementary multi-modal neuroimaging techniques. Specifically, my work combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) –a more practical method for pediatric studies than fMRI– to map developmental neurobehavioral variation. The goal of my research is to inform typical and atypical development and advance paradigms for cross-age (infant-to-child) comparisons of language acquisition. Furthermore, my research aims to inform neural markers of language delays that can provide early detection and clinical intervention during key windows of neuroplasticity.

Selected Publications:

Sanchez-Alonso, S., Aslin, R.N. (2022). Towards a Model of Language Neurobiology in Early Development, Brain and Language, Vol. 224. Link

Aveledo, F., Sanchez-Alonso, S., Piñango, M.M. (2022). Contextual Dependency and Overuse of estar in the Acquisition of Spanish Copula Verbs, First Language. Link

Sanchez-Alonso, S., Rosenberg, M.D., Aslin R.N. (2021). Functional Connectivity Patterns Predict Naturalistic Viewing versus Rest Across Development. NeuroImage, Vol. 229. Link

Sanchez-Alonso, S., Aslin, R.N. (2020). Predictive Modeling of Neurobehavioral State and Trait Variation Across Development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 45. Link