Dr. Russo to deliver plenary at International Hearing Aid Research Conference (IHCON).

Granlibakken Conference Center, Lake Tahoe, CA (2020, August, 20)

Dr. Russo to deliver keynote at Music and Science Symposium.

Memorial University, St. John’s, NL (2020, May 29).

Dr. Russo is the 2020 recipient of the Collaborative Research Award.

Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada (2020, May 1).


Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada (2020, March 16).

The SMART Lab begins operating remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Dr. Russo delivers keynote at BRAMS on SingWell project. (2019, November 6).

SingWell Canada: Understanding group singing in older adults from a biopsychosocial perspective

Dr. Russo delivers invited talk Conference on Implantable Auditory Prostheses (CIAP).

Granlibakken Conference Center, Lake Tahoe, CA.  (2019, July 17). Benefits of music-based training for supporting speech outcomes in CI users.  

Joseph Rovetti wins Life Institute Student Award

April 17, 2019

Joseph’s research focuses on listening effort, using a brain imaging method to measure the effort that seniors put into listening. Ultimately, his goal is to better assess the hearing loss of seniors. See the full story on Congratulations to Joseph!

Emily Wood wins Best Undergraduate Poster at TRI Research Day

January 30, 2019

Emily’s poster won the student prize at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Research Day. The title of her award-winning poster is “Longitudinal Evidence for Choir Training as an Intervention to Improve Older Adults’ Speech Perception in Noise”. Great work Emily!

Dr. Russo delivers plenary at 7th Samsung International Symposium on Hearing Aids, Seoul, Korea (2018, Sep 15).

Challenges and opportunities for enhancing the experience of music in hearing aid and cochlear implant users. 

Emily Wood and Joseph Rovetti awarded NSERC USRA 2018

March 1, 2018

This year, two undergraduate students in our research lab were awarded the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award This was Joseph’s 2nd year in a row to win the NSERC USRA. (Joseph Rovetti pictured 4th from the left, Emily Wood pictured 5th from the left).

Domenica Fanelli wins Best Undergraduate Poster

January 29, 2018

2018 Toronto Rehab Research Day Award for Best Undergraduate Poster has been awarded to Domenica Fanelli from the SMART Lab. Congrats Domenica!

Huiwen Goy receives CAA Shaw Postdoctoral award last week at Acoustics Week in Guelph

October 19, 2017

Huiwen Goy receives the Edgar and Millicent Shaw Post-Doctoral Prize in Acoustics. The prize was conferred on October 12 at Acoustics Week in Canada.

SMART Lab Member wins CAA Shaw Postdoctoral Prize


May 8, 2017

Huiwen Goy is a post-doctoral fellow and has won this year’s Edgar and Millicent Shaw Postdoctoral Prize in Acoustics from the Canadian Acoustical Association. More information on the award can be found here. Congratulations Huiwen!!

SMART Lab Master’s Student wins this year’s 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition

Mar 24, 2017

Ella Dubinsky has won this year’s 3 Minute Thesis at Ryerson University. 3MT is a university-wide competition where graduate students present their research in three minutes to a panel of non-specialist judges and an audience, using only one PPT slide. Read more about it (and even watch the video) here!

After this, Ella moved on to represent Ryerson at the Ontario Provincial 3MT held in Waterloo. Due to her success, she will be competing at the National level next— good luck Ella!

LIFE Institute’s Partners in Learning honour awarded to two SMART Lab Members

Mar 24, 2017

Two members of the SMART Lab were honoured this week at the LIFE Institute’s Partners in Learning event. Domenica Fanelli (left) and Ella Dubinsky (right) will receive bursaries to support their ongoing work investigating perceptual, cognitive and social benefits of singing in older adults. Congratulations!!!

life institute partners in learning

And here is one more photo featuring a wider cast. From Left to Right: Sina Fallah (Music Coordinator), Domenica Fanelli (Undergraduate Student), Ella Dubinsky (Graduate Student), Elizabeth McCormick (Ella’s Mum), Frank Russo (Lab Director), and June Kenner (Ryerson Alumni and daughter of  Alice and Mac Kenner, Founders of A&A records).

life institute partners in learning 2

Emoteplay, a SMART Lab startup company, is about to release its first app!Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 10.52.57 AM

Mar 10, 2017

Big Break: the Acting Game

The game is designed to operate as a safe and fun way for kids to practice their social communication skills through modules that require listening, watching, acting, and singing. A great resource for coaching nonverbal aspects of expression and emotion understanding.

Hearing Aid Technology Sings a Different Tune

image00010webMar 7, 2017

Imagine you could no longer enjoy the symphony – some instruments are now jarring while the melody has lost its nuance. For persons with moderate to severe hearing impairment, music can often lose its ring.
Click here to read the research innovation story featuring Huiwen Goy.

Joseph Rovetti wins NSERC USRA 2017

March 1, 2017

Joseph Rovetti wins the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award.

Talk by composer/educator Barry Truax @RyersonSMARTLab Feb 6, 11am 105 Bond St SBB 239

Jan 31, 2017

Electroacoustic Composer & Acoustic Communication Researcher Barry Truax will be giving a talk February 6, 2017 at 11am, in 105 Bond St. SBB 239. For more information on his talk, please see the abstract. For more information on Barry Truax, please visit his website.

Symposium accepted for Neurosciences & Music VI

Dec 1st, 2016

logo-boston_455pxDr. Frank Russo will be co-chairing a symposium with Assal Habibi of the Brain and Creativity Institute (University of Southern California) on “Extra-musical benefits of music training across the lifespan” at Neurosciences & Music VI. In partnership with Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, the Mariani Foundation for Paediatric Neurology will host this international meeting in Boston, June 15-18, 2017, with the theme of “Music, Sound and Health”.

The highly successful series “The Neurosciences and Music” was introduced in New York in 2000, with meetings in Venice (2002, in partnership with International School of Neurological Sciences), Leipzig (2005, with Max Planck Institute), Montreal (2008 with BRAMS, Brain and Music Research), Edinburgh (2011, with IHMSD – Institute for Music in Human and Social Development) and Dijon (2014, with Université de Bourgogne, Municipality of Dijon and Université de Lyon in cooperation with EBRAMUS “Initial Training Network”). All these conferences have led to publications in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Naresh Vempala to start new position at Neurologix


Nov 24th, 2016

Research Associate, Dr. Naresh Vempala, will be starting a new position at Neurologix in December. His new position represents an exciting opportunity to build on his unique skill set spanning data science, emotion science, machine learning, and physiological signal processing. Congratulations Naresh!

Thank you to the TELUS Greater Toronto Area Community Board

Aug 23rd, 2016
Frank Telus

We are immensely thankful to the TELUS Greater Toronto Area Community Board for supporting our forthcoming program to enhance socio-emotional development in Teens living with Autism. Thanks to Telus, the program will be technology enhanced, featuring Big Break: The Singing and Acting Game. Cheque presentation from Leen Al Zaibak (TELUS GTA Board Member) to Frank Russo (SMART Lab, Director). More details on the research behind the technology here.

Lab welcomes Huiwen Goy

Sep 12th, 2016

rsz_imageedit_3_5647393703Huiwen Goy joins the lab as a new Mitacs Elevate post-doctoral fellow. Huiwen will be working on the project entitled “Improving signal processing in hearing aids to support music and emotional speech”, co-sponsored by Unitron/Sonova. Huiwen completed her PhD with Kathy Pichora Fuller at the University of Toronto on age-related vocal production changes, environmental noise and clear speech.

Lab welcomes Sean Gilmore


Sep 5th, 2016

Sean Gilmore joins the lab as a new graduate student. Sean completed his undergraduate degree at Western University and completed his honours thesis with Jessica Grahn and Molly Henry.

6th annual CogMIR takes place at Columbia University


Aug 12th 2016

The sixth annual CogMIR seminar took place at Columbia University this year attracting just over 80 delegates. This year’s meeting was sponsored by Shazam and featured dynamic keynotes by Daniel Mullensiefen and Juan Pablo Bello.  CogMIR was founded by Naresh Vempala and Frank Russo in 2011.

Congratulations to Arla Good on her successful PhD defence!

Aug 16th, 2016

AGood1Arla’s dissertation focused on the capacity of joint music making to influence intra-
and inter-group relations. Her hypotheses were derived from diverse literatures including social identity theory, music cognition, and embodied social cognition. These hypotheses were tested in experimentally controlled conditions in the lab as well as in ecologically valid conditions in the community, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. Across studies and methods, her results consistently demonstrate that joint music making is capable of promoting collective identity and cooperative behaviours across intergroup boundaries.

A special thank you to Arla’s Examination Committee, Dr. Kathleen Peets (Early Childhood Education), Drs. Becky Choma and Eric Hehman (Psychology), Dr. Paul Moore (Sociology), and Dr. Laurel Trainor (external examiner from McMaster University). Drs. Peets and Choma also served on Arla’s supervisory committee. Thanks also to Dr. Miljana Horvat (Architecture), who chaired the defence.

Steven Livingstone earns Faculty appointment in Wisconsin


April 2nd, 2016

Former post-doctoral fellow Steven Livingstone will be starting a new tenure-stream faculty position in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. He will be teaching courses in data science and heading up a new research group focused on Affective Computing. Congratulations Steven!

Frank Russo named winner of the International Commission of Acoustics Early Career Award

Feb 7th, 2016FAR_15_c_head

The medal associated with this prestigious award will be granted at the International Congress of Acoustics, which takes place this September in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The award was modeled after the Fields prize in Mathematics and has only been granted five times since its inception in 2004. Dr. Russo’s award will mark the first time that the medal has been granted to an individual hailing from the Americas or to an individual working outside of the core science and engineering disciplines that tend to be associated with acoustics.

Congratulations to Martin Kirchberger

Dec 7th, 2015Martin_K

Congratulations to Martin Kirchberger who defended his PhD dissertation on December 7th, entitled: “Music Perception with hearing aids”

In brief, his dissertation investigated how hearing loss and hearing aids affect music perception to inform the optimization of hearing-aid technology for music. Two strategies regarding dynamic compression and frequency lowering were developed and proved successful in improving music perception in hearing-impaired listeners.

Martin has many hidden talents. One of these is Alphorn playing. The inset photo was taken moments after the defence at ETH Zurich.

Singing with Parkinson’s Fundraising Event

Aug 18th, 2015

Please join us on Friday September 11th, 2015 from 7:00-9:30p.m in the beautiful Sears Atrium at Ryerson University for an evening of fantastic entertainment. There will be refreshments, door prizes, a silent auction, performances by the talented musicians who lead the choir, and much more. However, perhaps the biggest highlight of the evening is the performance of a medley of songs by the choir themselves.

In June this year, something very special was created. Borne of some novel research findings by folks at Ryerson University, a choir was set up exclusively for people with Parkinson’s Disease and their loved ones. Now, through the heritage doors of one of the most renowned music schools in the world, an array of beautiful voices can be heard as a group of individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease gather at the Royal Conservatory of Music to sings songs that will help them strengthen their voices and facial expressiveness. The 13-week choir is due to end in early September, but its popularity and impact on the Parkinson’s community has left everyone involved wanting more. As a result, we have banded together to organize this fundraising event to keep the choir going, and to make it accessible to others in the Parkinson’s community.

For more information on this event or to purchase tickets, please click here.

Ryerson’s SMART Lab’s Parkinson’s Choir

May 7th, 2015

The SMART Lab has teamed up with the Royal Conservatory of Music to offer a special choir for people with Parkinson’s disease this summer. Based on findings from the lab’s study on emotional communication in Parkinson’s disease last year, the choir has been developed specifically to target deficits in facial expressiveness, vocal quality and perception of emotion.

It is believed that by mimicking the choir director’s emotional expressions during singing, choir members will strengthen their vocal and facial muscles, all while aided by the known benefits of rhythmic auditory stimulation on muscle movement. This may in turn strengthen the brain circuitry required for perception of emotion in others’ vocal and facial expressions.

For more information about the choir, please visit”


Congratulations to Lucy McGarry

October 3rd, 2014

Congratulations to Lucy McGarry who defended her PhD dissertation on October 3rd, entitled:  “The role of the mirror neuron system in bottom-up and top-down perception of human action”

Lucy’s dissertation research considered the involvement of the mirror neuron system (MNS) in the automatic simulation of others’ actions. This simulation process is thought to play a key role in emotional understanding and empathy. Study 1 (published in Experimental Brain Research, 2012) used novel EEG methods to demonstrate that the MNS is activated to a greater extent toward multi-modal versus unimodal sensory input.  Study 2 (published inCognitive, Affective, Behavioral Neuroscience, 2014) employed similar EEG methods to reveal that the MNS is preferentially engaged under emotional task conditions. Study 3 employed fMRI methods to assess the engagement of specific sub-regions of the MNS during different stimulus and task conditions. Together, these three studies suggest that the MNS is preferentially engaged during perception of emotional action and that the pattern of engagement may be further influenced by the modality of observation.

Thanks go to Dr. Todd Girard (PhD supervisory committee member) and the members of the examining committee: Dr. Isabelle Peretz (Université de Montréal), Dr. Michael Kolios (Physics, Ryerson), Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau, and Dr. Donatus Oguamanam (Mech. Eng., Ryerson), who acted as Chair of the defense.

Lucy is teaching in the Department of Psychology this Fall, and she is set to begin a postdoctoral fellowship with Jessica Grahn at Western University in December, 2014.