Research

Deep inquiry meets real-world care

  • Eyetracking

Research Faculty

Michelle Ciucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Ciucci’s research focuses on the neurobiological and behavioral underpinnings of motor control for voice and swallowing. Using clinical and basic science models, she explores how degenerative neurologic diseases, such as Parkinson Disease, affect these functions. This work may lead to new interventions to relieve the symptoms of PD, and potentially modify the progression of the disease.

» Dr. Ciucci’s lab

Nadine Connor, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Connor’s research focuses on the role of aging, and on treatments such as exercise, in reversing or preventing age-related changes in cranial muscles. Real-world benefit comes from better knowledge of how currently used treatments may affect swallowing and voice disorder outcomes.

» Dr. Connor’s lab

Jan Edwards, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Edwards’ research aims to better understand phonological development—the process of learning to talk—in preschool children. Specifically, it examines interactions between vocabulary growth and phonological acquisition, cross-linguistic phonological acquisition, and the impact of dialect mismatch on academic achievement.

» Dr. Edwards’ lab

Susan Ellis Weismer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Ellis Weismer’s research investigates the developmental course and nature of language processing in atypical language learners compared to those with typical language development. Her work focuses on late talkers, children with specific language impairment (SLI), and young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

» Dr. Ellis Weismer’s lab

Katie Hustad, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Hustad’s research studies the changes in speech language, cognition, and functional communication abilities among children with cerebral palsy (CP). By better understanding the different profiles of communication development among children with CP—and the stability of these profiles over time—Dr. Hustad will then work to develop interventions to improve communication outcomes, quality of life, and social participation for children with CP.

Marios Fourakis, Ph.D.

Marios’s research aims to optimize the transfer of information carried by the acoustic signal of speech through the processors of cochlear implants. It also investigates the acoustic characteristics of speech in different languages to determine features that are shared by all languages versus those that seem to be language specific.

Cynthia Fowler, Ph.D., CCC-A

Dr. Fowler’s research addresses the causes and mechanisms of hearing loss in aging and age-related diseases, including dementia and diabetes. In diabetes, Professor Fowler’s data suggest that accompanying hearing loss actually begins in the pre-diabetic stages, indicating that earlier treatment should be a focus.

Margarita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.

Dr. Kaushanskaya’s research aims to improve diagnostic practices for children who speak English as a second language, and who therefore cannot be tested using tools developed for monolingual English-speaking children. Because early diagnosis of a language difficulty is key to successful intervention and to the child’s ultimate quality of life, identifying ways to accurately index bilingual children’s development can make a significant contribution to public health.

» Dr. Kaushanskaya’s lab

Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.

Dr. Litovsky’s research studies binaural hearing in persons who have normal hearing and in persons who are deaf and use cochlear implants (CIs). Her team is interested in whether CI users can benefit from having two (bilateral) CIs and whether, for children, having bilateral CIs at a young age offers unique advantages.

» Dr. Litovsky's lab

Bob Lutfi, Ph.D.

Dr. Lutfi’s research aims to understand the normal processes for identifying rudimentary sound sources and their attributes in quiet and in noise, and to isolate and quantify the factors that limit this identification. Understanding normal hearing processes is the necessary first step in understanding problems for the hard of hearing.

» Dr. Lutfi's lab

Lyn Turkstra, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Turkstra’s research studies the relation of cognitive functions to communication behavior, and how this is affected by brain injury. It focuses on "social cognition": the cognitive functions central to social perception and behavior. This knowledge will help in the design of interventions that lead to improved participation in social life for individuals with brain injuries or other social communication challenges.

» Dr. Turkstra's lab

Gary Weismer, Ph.D.

Dr. Weismer’s research studies motor speech disorders within the framework of theories of normal speech production, and aims to understand the limits and potential of those theories to explain aspects of speech production in dysarthria and apraxia of speech. Current work studies articulatory movement, the speech acoustic signal, and speech intelligibility in individuals with dysarthria.

Clinical Faculty

Michelle Quinn, M.A., CCC-SLP

Professor Quinn’s research investigates why listening in noisy situations makes spoken language processing difficult for older people with age-related hearing loss. Her research explores how young children use visual context when processing and learning to understand spoken words. Eye-tracking studies may shed light on early language acquisition processes of children with communication difficulties.