Michael Schutz, Ph.D. is the lab’s founding director and a core member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. Drawing upon his unique background as a professional percussionist (BMA, MM), as well as his training in experimental psychology (MA, PhD), and computer science (BS), he explores core issues of music cognition from new points of view. He enjoys helping students acquire research skills by actively exploring novel topics relevant to psychologists, musicians, and neuroscientists alike. For additional information read his biography or view recent TV and radio appearances. For more information on percussion activities (including performing and teaching), visit

Aimee Battcock

Aimee Battcock (Graduate student) is a PhD student in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour researching music’s ability to convey and evoke emotion. Her research explores the relationship between acoustic cues for musical emotions and listeners’ perceptual responses. She completed her B.Sc (Hons) in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience, at Bishop’s University. As an avid singer, she has previously researched individual differences and evoked emotion in choral singing. After graduation, Aimee also attended McGill University (2012-2013) as a non-degree seeking student. She has received the Governor General’s Award, the International Grenfell Scholarship, and the Dean’s Scholarship.

Sharmila Sreetharan (Graduate student) is a second year student working towards a M.Sc. in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour with interests in using basic principles of music perception to improve efficacy of auditory alarms in medical devices. Previously, she completed her B.Sc (Hons) in Neuroscience at Brock University. Music has always been a part of Sharmila’s life. She has years of classical Indian (Carnatic) music training, in both vocal and veena, and played the viola during her time in high school.  Sharmila is excited to join the MAPLE Lab to expand her knowledge in music cognition.

Cameron Anderson holds a bachelor’s of music with a specialization in music cognition. He completed his thesis with Dr. Schutz entitled, “Making Musical Medical Alarms: Examining Melodic Alarm Recognition Accuracy Across Contrasting Timbres”. Cam looks forward to continuing his studies in the MAPLE Lab as a Master’s student working on the Emotional Piano project. Outside of the lab, Cam spends his free time practicing trombone, composing music, and learning Spanish.

Annilee Baron MTA, NMT (Lab Manager) is an accredited music therapist (MTA) and the MAPLE Lab’s current Lab Manager. She completed her undergraduate degree in the Honours Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour program, specializing in Music Cognition. During this time, Annilee spent several years in the lab assisting with data collection and stimulus preparation, and completed her undergraduate thesis exploring the role of timbre in the communication of emotion. Upon graduating, she completed a Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy from Concordia University, and has worked with a variety of individuals in long term care, a private clinic, and in residential homes. Annilee is looking forward to being back in the MAPLE Lab in this new role.


Melody Aslan (Undergraduate) is a third year student in the Honours B.Sc. Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour Program, specializing in Music Cognition and minoring in Music. She has been playing piano since the age of three, and currently works as the director of a choir. In her free time she likes to sing. She is very excited to be working on the auditory alarms project in the MAPLE Lab.

Nicholas Gierczak (Undergraduate) is a third year Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. He has been playing guitar for 10 years and has had the pleasure of performing in orchestras, bands, and jazz quartets in and out of school. He has also developed a passion for sound synthesis. He looks forward to being part of the auditory alarms project and a great team of people in this year’s MAPLE Lab.

Keiko Gutierrez (Undergraduate) is a fourth year mature student in the Honours Music program, with specialty in Music Cognition. Keiko is a working bass player and a percussionist, currently playing bass in a Pink Floyd tribute band. She also hosts a radio show called Out of the Bassment, at McMaster’s 93.3 CFMU radio station, showcasing music that features the bass player. Her first career was in I.T., where she successfully led strategy and development teams. She left the corporate world to pursue her passion for music, and returned to school to explore the world of research and neuroscience. She is currently interested in the overlapping areas of music and audiology.

Benjamin Kelly (Undergraduate) is a third year Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student. He has experience with piano, vocals, and primarily the trumpet; practicing and performing with various choirs, concerts bands, and jazz bands over his musical career. He loves most forms of music, with a specific interest in the differences between new and old alternative, indie, and rap. Ben will be working in the MAPLE Lab to explore the connections between music and emotion.


Denise Lee (Undergraduate) is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She began playing the piano in Grade 1 and has completed ARCT Piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has been singing for as long as she can remember and loves to jam out on her guitar. This year in the MAPLE Lab she will be working on the emotional piano project. She wishes to pursue a career that involves music, and is considering Music Therapy, or incorporating music into her work as a Speech Language Pathologist.

Logan Marquis (Undergraduate) is a fourth year Honours student in Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour specializing in Music Cognition. His many years of classical training in piano and wide range of music interests has led to appreciation of all genres of music. He is currently completing Grade 8 piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In the lab, Logan is looking forward to combining his passion for psychology and music while studying music’s use in palliative care.

Graeme Noble (Undergraduate) is a third-year Honours B.Sc. Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Mental Health. Graeme has spent nine years playing trumpet in ensembles municipally, provincially, and internationally to seek out music in whatever avenues he can find, recently expanding his pursuits to singing barbershop and conducting marching bands. His passion for music and cognition inspired him to join the MAPLE Lab to help him further explore how both fields interact in our everyday lives. He will be working on the auditory alarms project this year.

Divya Prasad (Undergraduate) is a fourth year student enrolled in the Arts & Sciences program. She is interested in memory and how emotion is expressed through music. Outside of school, she enjoys singing and volunteering at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She also loves working with children and animals. This year in the MAPLE Lab she will be working on the emotional piano project. After her undergraduate studies, Divya aspires to pursue further education in cognition or psychology.

Laura Schachtler (Undergraduate) is a third year B.Sc. Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She is an avid participant in community Theatre where she is able to practice and perform her favourite genre of music, Musical Theatre and Show Tunes. This fall she will be performing in her 15th Musical Production. Laura is extremely excited to be joining the MAPLE Lab and looks forward to discussing the impact of music on the mind, and how it shapes our perception of the world around us. She is particularly interested in the educational applications of music therapy and hopes to explore this topic more in the future.

Neerjah Skantharajah (Undergraduate) is a fourth year student in the Music Cognition specialization. She cultivated her love for music through years of South Indian classical music training, piano classes and by playing the french horn in her high school’s symphonic orchestra. Neerjah has been a part of the MAPLE Lab since her second year. She spent her third year at the lab exploring auditory medical alarms and is excited to continue this work in her fourth year.

Alex Wong (Undergraduate) is a fourth year Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She is working on the emotional piano project in the MAPLE Lab. Alex has experience with piano, percussion and saxophone, and has played in various bands. A love for a wide range of musical genres motivates her to always seek new and exciting music.

Lydia-Marie Zomparelli (Undergraduate) is a third-year student. She enjoys listening to all genres of music, and is looking forward to working on the auditory alarms in medical devices project. With a background in guitar, she is excited to learn more about musical principles and music cognition through research.

Please visit our Lab Alumni page for information on the next steps of past team members!