The National Science Foundation of Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) advances knowledge on how human higher cognition is realized through vision. Our groundbreaking research and translation labs seek to determine the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on the development of cognition, language, reading, and literacy for the benefit of society.

We especially pursue new perspectives on these learning processes through the widened vantage point of studying deaf individuals and sign language as a window into the flexibility and structure of the human mind. We study these learning processes in monolinguals and bilinguals across the lifespan in order to promote optimal practices in education in both formal and informal settings.

VL2 is also the home of the Ph.D in Educational Neuroscience program (PEN), in which students conduct supervised research within their mentor’s lab as well as develop their own lines of research through independent research projects. During those four years, our students gain state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience training in how humans learn and become an expert in cutting-edge neuroimaging methods. Learn more about the pioneering PEN program.

To learn more about our labs, projects and collaborations, doctoral program, and upcoming events, visit our website.


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Action & Brain Lab

The Action & Brain Lab (ABL), founded by Dr. Lorna Quandt, investigates how sign language impacts spatial processing and how action-related and language-related brain systems interact within the context of signed language. We also investigate the neural substrates of action perception related to visual language...

Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab (CAN)

In the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (CAN) Lab at Gallaudet University, we understand complex learning processes and improve educational outcomes for deaf and hearing children by developing flexible and implementable educational strategies based on research. We investigate the cognitive and affective processes that influence learning...

Early Education and Literacy Lab (EL2)

EL2 develops and distributes toolkits to measure young deaf children’s language and cognitive development. We engage in classroom and home-based studies focusing on the factors that contribute to the development of literacy in deaf children. We also develop, validate, and distribute new assessments that measure...

Motion Light Lab (ML2)

Motion Light Lab (ML2) is an award-winning research and development lab housed at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Our focus is on a variety of ASL-centered projects ranging from bilingual storybook apps to 3D digital avatars. Creative literature + digital technology = the ML2 formula!

Numeracy and Educational Neuroscience Lab (NENS)

NENS investigates the cognitive and neural foundations of numeracy and how the use of a visual language from birth can support the acquisition of early number skills. NENS examines how humans process exact numerical information, how children learn numbers and become proficient in arithmetical operations,...

Translation in the Science of Learning Lab (TL2)

At the Translation in the Science of Learning Lab, TL2, we act as an important gateway between the Center's research discoveries and society's diverse learning environments, including schools, families and homes, museums, libraries, medical clinics, policymakers, and more. We translate research discoveries from the Visual...

Petitto Brain and Language Center for Neuroimaging (BL2)

The state-of-the-art Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) was founded and is led by Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, the Science Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the Center for Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) at Gallaudet University. The Center features one of the world’s most...

Meet the Team

Khadijat Rashid


Melissa Malzkuhn

Director, Motion Light Lab

John Huang

Grant Budget Analyst

Contact Us

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)

Sorenson Language and Communication Center 1101

(202) 250-2071

(202) 651-5085

Monday - Friday
9 - 5

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