Brain development from infancy through adolescence; language and literacy development; socioeconomic status and early adversity; the role of early experiences on neurocognitive development; equity in education and learning

Rachel Romeo, PhD, CCC-SLP (she/her/hers) is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and licensed speech-language pathologist broadly interested in how children’s early experiences, both favorable and adverse, influence their neural, cognitive, and academic development, with a specific focus on language and literacy development. She directs the Language, Experience, and Development (LEAD) lab, where she employs interdisciplinary methods from developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience (including structural and functional brain imaging), and direct educational interventions to study how young brains adapt to varying environments and lead to unique developmental paths. She is especially interested in socioeconomic differences in development, and how translational cognitive neuroscience may better support educational equity. Dr. Romeo’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and has received international press by Scientific American, BBC, NPR, US News & World Report, and the World Economic Forum, amongst others.

Dr. Romeo received her PhD from the joint Harvard/MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, MSc in Language Sciences from University College London, BA in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, and clinical licensure in Speech-Language Pathology from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She also completed the Translational Postdoctoral Training in Neurodevelopment program at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

In addition to her appointment in HDQM, Dr. Romeo holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and the interdisciplinary program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. She is also a member of the Language Science Center, the Field Committee in Developmental Science, the Brain Behavior Institute, and the Maryland Neuroimaging Center.

Dr. Romeo is reviewing applications for students to start in Fall 2024. Please email her with inquiries. 

Early Career Research Contributions Award, American Speech Language Hearing Association (2023)

Early Career Research Contributions Award, Society for Research in Child Development (2023)

Named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science (2021)

Flux Congress Science of Learning Award, & Post-Doctorate Award (2019)

Society for the Neurobiology of Language Postdoctoral Merit Award (2019) and Graduate Student Award (2017)

UCL Language Sciences Dissertation Prize and Overall Achievement Award (2012)

The Thouron Award (2011)

Fulbright Fellowship (2011)

For an up-to-date list of publications, please see my Google Scholar Page.

Current Funding:
K99/R00 HD103873: Exploring language experience as a mechanism underlying socioeconomic differences in neurocognitive development
Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Also a Supplement to Support Diversity for R00

Previous Funding:
T32 MH112510: Translational Postdoctoral Training Program in Neurodevelopment
National Institute of Mental Health                                                     

F31 HD086957: Effects of linguistic input on the neural basis of language development
Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

T32 DC000038: Predoctoral Training in Speech and Hearing Sciences
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 

EDHD 775: Human Development and Neuroscience

EDHD 200: Paradigms and Perspectives in Human Development