Ph.D. Student Visit Day

Explore Our Research Groups and Labs

Hearing

Efferent Systems Laboratory

Dr. Boothalingam's research is geared towards understanding the functional relevance of the auditory brain’s feedback systems, called efferents. He uses non-invasive tools such as OAEs and EEG to measure efferent activity in the auditory system.

Flowering red and white tulips frame an ornate W crest icon that is a part of a landscaped roundabout at Observatory Drive and Walnut Street at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during spring on May 24, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Child Hearing Laboratory

Dr. Easwar’s research focuses on typical auditory development, the impact of hearing loss, and the effect of using prostheses like hearing aids on auditory development using EEG techniques.

Bumble bees gather pollen on echinacea flowers outside of Agricultural Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during summer. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Fowler Research Group

Dr. Fowler’s research addresses the causes and mechanisms of hearing loss in aging and age-related diseases, including dementia and diabetes.

Flowering magnolia trees brighten the landscape along the Howard Temin lakeshore path near Bradley Residence Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during a warm spring day on April 23, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Binaural Hearing and Speech Laboratory

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.

Recently cleaned and sanitized tables with sunburst-designed chairs are pictured with a planter of blooming flowers at the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during summer on July 17, 2020. Patrons can enjoy physically distanced, reserved-table seating with food and drink service at the Terrace by making table reservations one to two days in advance via OpenTable. Masks and face coverings are required upon entry, while receiving service and while exiting. A majority of the campus, including the Memorial Union and Union South buildings, remain closed to the public due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Language

Language Processes Laboratory

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.

A W crest banner flutters in the wind on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Miller /UW-Madison)

Little Listeners Laboratory

The goal of the Little Listeners Project is to better understand why some children with ASD have such a difficult time learning language, and what we might be able to do to help.

Flowering magnolia trees brighten the landscape along the Howard Temin lakeshore path near Bradley Residence Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during a warm spring day on April 23, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Laboratory

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.

Flowering red and white tulips frame an ornate W crest icon that is a part of a landscaped roundabout at Observatory Drive and Walnut Street at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during spring on May 24, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Cognitive-Communication in Aging and Neurogenic Disorders Laboratory

Dr. Mueller’s research focuses on neural mechanisms of speech/language in individuals with normal aging, preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and other forms of dementia.

Taken with a fisheye lens, this photo depicts the northern shoreline of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus along Lake Mendota and includes Dejope Residence Hall (bottom right) and the other lakeshore residence halls in an aerial view during autumn on Oct. 13, 2016. The photograph was made from a helicopter looking south. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Research in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Laboratory

Dr. Sterling’s research focuses on the development of language and cognitive skills in children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities. She works with families who have children with fragile X syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and DS.

Recently cleaned and sanitized tables with sunburst-designed chairs are pictured with a planter of blooming flowers at the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during summer on July 17, 2020. Patrons can enjoy physically distanced, reserved-table seating with food and drink service at the Terrace by making table reservations one to two days in advance via OpenTable. Masks and face coverings are required upon entry, while receiving service and while exiting. A majority of the campus, including the Memorial Union and Union South buildings, remain closed to the public due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Speech

Wisconsin Intelligibility, Speech, and Communication Laboratory

Dr. Hustad’s research studies the changes in speech language, cognition, and functional communication abilities among children with cerebral palsy (CP).

Flowering red and white tulips frame an ornate W crest icon that is a part of a landscaped roundabout at Observatory Drive and Walnut Street at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during spring on May 24, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Speech Motor Action + Control Laboratory

Dr. Parrell’s research focuses on how the brain controls and produces the articulatory movements that create speech. This research incorporates speech behavior, neuroscience, and computational modelling to understand how speech motor control works.

A W crest banner flutters in the wind on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Miller /UW-Madison)

Brain, Language, and Acoustic Behavior Laboratory

Dr. Niziolek is interested in how the brain coordinates auditory and motor signals to achieve communicative goals. Her research typically combines brain imaging during spoken language with the acoustic analysis of speech behavior.

Dr. Niziolek analyzing an audio recording in the lab.

Swallowing and Voice

Ciucci Laboratory

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 affect these functions.

Dr. Michelle Ciucci in the lab.

Connor Laboratory

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

Nadine Connor and Aaron Johnson review neuromuscular junction morphology in the lab.

Swallowing and Salivary Bioscience Laboratory

Dr. Rogus-Pulia’s research works to systematically identify and characterize factors underlying dysphagia in patients with AD and to translate these findings into treatments for maintaining quality of life and prevention of pneumonia onset.

Dr. Rogus-Pulia performs a salivary test on a patient.

Thibeault Research Group

Dr. Thibeault’s translational research investigates molecular and genetic factors that are the basis of normal vocal fold tissue and its vibration. Dr. Thibeault studies vocal fold injury and wound healing as a disordered model.

Recently cleaned and sanitized tables with sunburst-designed chairs are pictured with a planter of blooming flowers at the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during summer on July 17, 2020. Patrons can enjoy physically distanced, reserved-table seating with food and drink service at the Terrace by making table reservations one to two days in advance via OpenTable. Masks and face coverings are required upon entry, while receiving service and while exiting. A majority of the campus, including the Memorial Union and Union South buildings, remain closed to the public due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Meet Our Research Faculty

Sriram Boothalingam, Ph.D., FAAA
Sriram Boothalingam, Ph.D., FAAA

Sriram Boothalingam, Ph.D., FAAA

Introduction Video

Dr. Boothalingam is an audiologist and a researcher. His research is geared towards understanding the functional relevance of the auditory brain’s feedback systems, called efferents, in both adults and children. He uses non-invasive tools such as otoacoustic emissions (OAEs; sounds generated by healthy ears) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure efferent activity in the auditory system. In addition, he is also interested in developing clinical tools to objectively evaluate both the auditory afferent and efferent systems.

Learn more about Sriram Boothalingam, Ph.D., FAAA


Michelle Ciucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Michelle Ciucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Michelle Ciucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Ciucci’s research interests include sensorimotor control for voice and swallowing, dysphagia (swallowing disorders), and Parkinson disease. Dr. Ciucci has a joint appointment in the Department of Surgery-Division of Otolaryngology and is a faculty member in the Neuroscience Training Program. She conducts basic, translational, and clinical science research for voice and swallowing disorders.

Learn more about Michelle Ciucci, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Nadine Connor, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Nadine Connor, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Nadine Connor, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Dr. Connor’s research interests include voice and swallowing disorders, head and neck cancer, aging, and neuromuscular function in the head and neck.

Learn more about Nadine Connor, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Viji Easwar, Ph.D., M.SC.
Viji Easwar, Ph.D., M.SC. Audiology

Viji Easwar, Ph.D., M.SC. Audiology

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Dr. Easwar’s research focuses on typical auditory development, the impact of hearing loss, and the effect of using prostheses like hearing aids on auditory development using EEG techniques.

Learn more about Viji Easwar, Ph.D., M.SC. Audiology


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

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

Research Introduction Video

Learn more about Susan Ellis Weismer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Cynthia Fowler, Ph.D., CCC-A
Cynthia Fowler, Ph.D., CCC-A

Cynthia Fowler, Ph.D., CCC-A

Introduction Video

Dr. Fowler’s research addresses auditory evoked potentials and aging, with special emphases on binaural processes and correspondence with psychophysical function.

Learn more about Cynthia Fowler, Ph.D., CCC-A


Katie Hustad, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Katie Hustad, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Katie Hustad, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Dr. Hustad’s research centers around children and adults with significant speech intelligibility problems associated with dysarthria. Her work has three main themes: 1) identification of variables that influence speech intelligibility, including factors related to the listener, the communicative context, and the speaker; 2) augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions to enhance communication effectiveness for individuals with reduced speech intelligibility; and 3) longitudinal development of speech, language, and communication in young children with cerebral palsy. Most of her research takes place at the Waisman Center, where she works closely with several clinical programs including the Communication Aids and Systems Clinic.

Learn more about Katie Hustad, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Margarita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.
Margarita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.

Margarita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.

Dr. Kaushanskaya is a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences Disorders of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a BA in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She then moved to the Midwest, and got both her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology and her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. Dr. Kaushanskaya leads and supervises research that goes on in the Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Lab.

Dr. Kaushanskaya’s research focuses on second-language acquisition and bilingualism in children and adults. She directs the Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Laboratory, housed in Goodnight Hall and the Waisman Center. The overall goal of her research program is to uncover the cognitive mechanisms that underlie language learning across the lifespan. The work in the Language Acquisition and Bilingualism lab examines the effects of bilingualism on learning and memory in children and adults; the interplay between linguistic and cognitive factors in shaping language proficiency of bilingual children and adults; and the nature and the developmental trajectory of language impairment in bilingual children.

Learn more about Margarita Kaushanskaya, Ph.D.


Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.
Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.

Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Dr. Litovsky’s research focuses on how people are able to hear in complex, noisy environments, and the contributions of the binaural auditory system (having two ears). The work has several main themes: 1) How we hear speech in noise (the “cocktail party” effect); 2) How we localize sounds; 3) How people with cochlear implants can operate in these conditions, and whether bilateral implants provide benefits beyond unilateral implants. Most of this research takes place at the Waisman Center, where she directs the Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab, working closely with children from the Waisman Center Early Childhood Progarm. She also collaborates with numerous clinics nation-wide that provide cochlear implants to children and adults.

Learn more about Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D.


Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Dr. Mueller’s research focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms and behavioral aspects of speech and language changes across the spectrum of normal aging, preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, and other forms of dementia. Her work utilizes naturalistic speech-language samples as one means of analyzing and understanding subtle changes to communication. Dr. Mueller is also interested in the design and testing of identification methods of early cognitive change in the presence of AD biomarkers, and multimodal therapeutic interventions to address cognitive-communication difficulties in MCI and dementia due to neurodegenerative disease.

Learn more about Kimberly Mueller, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Caroline Niziolek, Ph.D.
Caroline Niziolek, Ph.D.

Caroline Niziolek, Ph.D.

Introduction Video

Learn more about Caroline Niziolek, Ph.D.


Nicole Rogus-Pulia, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Nicole Rogus-Pulia, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Nicole Rogus-Pulia, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Introduction Video

Research Introduction Video

Learn more about Nicole Rogus-Pulia, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Audra Sterling, Ph.D.
Audra Sterling, Ph.D.

Audra Sterling, Ph.D.

My work focuses on the cognitive and language development of individuals with developmental disabilities. In particular I am interested in children with fragile X syndrome, autism, and Down syndrome. The long term goals of my research seek to understand the contributions of both biology (as represented by genetic syndromes, e.g., FXS) and environment (as represented in this case by parenting) in the development of language and cognition in children with developmental disabilities.

The current study in my lab focuses on the language development of boys with fragile X syndrome as well as boys with idiopathic autism. Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and shares a striking number of similarities in terms of the language and behavioral phenotype with autism. Approximately 25-45% of males with fragile X also have a co-diagnosis of autism. The current study aims to describe the language profile of children with fragile X and children with autism, with a particular focus on syntax and morphology. I am also interested in the impact of autism on fragile X, and how this is similar and/or different to language in idiopathic autism. Additionally the study is also examining the best methods for assessing language in fragile X and autism. Very little is known about assessment and intervention for language development in fragile X, and the results of this study have important clinical implications in terms of designing and implementing the most effective treatments in this population.

I have several other projects focused on other areas of language and cognitive development in developmental disabilities, including the language and cognitive development of females with fragile X syndrome, adult language in idiopathic autism, and best assessment measures for autism in other clinical populations (i.e., fragile X).

Learn more about Audra Sterling, Ph.D.


Susan Thibeault, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Susan Thibeault, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Susan Thibeault, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Thibeault’s translational research investigates molecular and genetic factors that are the basis of normal vocal fold tissue and its vibration. Dr Thibeault studies vocal fold injury and wound healing as a disordered model. Specifically, Dr Thibeault’s lab has two main areas of study — tissue engineering of the vocal fold lamina propria and laryngeal immunology. The lab has developed unique primary and immortalized human cell lines, in addition to vibrational bioreactors to aid in the research pursuit.

Learn more about Susan Thibeault, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Additional Resources & Information

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Campus Life/Life in Madison

Madison Visitors Guide
https://www.visitmadison.com/plan/visitors-guide/

Where to stay? What to eat? We’ve got your back. Destination Madison publishes an official Visitors Guide filled with ideas of things to do, upcoming events, restaurants and more.


Living in Madison
https://law.wisc.edu/admitted/madison.html

Madison, with a population of over 250,000, offers the amenities of a big city with the benefits and warmth of a strikingly beautiful college town. The Wisconsin Union Theater, the Overture Center for the Arts, the Kohl Center, and other facilities provide endless opportunities for students to enjoy national and local cultural events.


Campus Area Housing
https://campusareahousing.wisc.edu/

Campus Area Housing, a service of the Campus and Visitor Relations office, is UW-Madison’s official resource for individuals searching for privately-owned housing rentals in the campus area, downtown, and greater Madison area. The listing service provides a searchable database where individuals may use a filtered search for rental housing specified to their individual needs.


Campus Life
https://www.wisc.edu/campus-life/

With more than 45,000 students representing 50 states and 134 countries, our community is diverse, energetic, and constantly in motion. Jump around with 80,000 Badgers fans at Camp Randall Stadium and witness athletic feats from our 23 Big Ten varsity teams. Join one of the nearly 900 student organizations—or start a new one. Stroll down Madison’s vibrant State Street and experience the largest farmers’ market of its kind as you walk around Capitol Square. Relax over live music and a stunning sunset at the Memorial Union Terrace. Build a lifelong community of kinship and support.


Memorial Union Terrace
https://union.wisc.edu/visit/terrace-at-the-memorial-union/

Grab a chair and soak up the sun on the historic Memorial Union Terrace. The years have passed, the space has grown and even the chairs have changed. But through it all, the Terrace has remained a favorite spot for UW students, faculty, staff, Union members and anyone else looking to enjoy sunny day or beautiful evening in the summer, spring or fall.


Madison: Home of the Badgers Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTJA5alrisQ&feature=youtu.be

Campus Diversity

International Student Services
https://iss.wisc.edu

International Student Services (ISS) serves UW-Madison students on F and J visas by providing holistic support through advising on immigration, personal, and cultural matters, and by organizing events and activities to support students’ engagement and development within the campus community.


Multicultural Student Center
https://msc.wisc.edu/

The primary mission of the Multicultural Student Center is to collaboratively strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus where all students, particularly students of color and other historically underserved students, can realize an authentic Wisconsin Experience.


Black Cultural Center
https://msc.wisc.edu/about-bcc/

Black Cultural Center (BCC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison serves Black students (including African-American, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, and African Diaspora) by facilitating opportunities for academic and social support, co-curricular programming, and community building.

The BCC welcomes all students and centers the voices, experiences, and dynamic lives of Black undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The Black Cultural Center exists to acknowledge the specific and particular realities of Black communities at UW-Madison, while also connecting communities to the larger Wisconsin Experience and fostering a sense of belonging.


Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding
https://grad.wisc.edu/diversity/inclusion-and-engagement/

The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Funding is your resource for social networking, learning, and professional development. Housed within the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, we focus on the needs of underserved graduate student populations such as graduate students of color and first-generation graduate students.


Bouchet Graduate Honor Society
https://grad.wisc.edu/diversity/bouchet/

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society commemorates the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from an American university (Physics, Yale University, 1876). The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy—exemplifying the spirit and example of Dr. Bouchet.


Gender and Sexuality Campus Center
https://lgbt.wisc.edu

The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center provides education, outreach, advocacy, and resources for UW-Madison student communities and their allies to improve campus climate and their daily intersectional experiences.


Veteran Services & Military Assistance Center
https://veterans.wisc.edu/

The Veteran Services & Military Assistance Center supports the Wisconsin Experience of military-connected students by fostering personal transitions and pursuit of academic success.

Campus Accessibility

Campus Accessibility
https://wisc.edu/accessibility

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive campus experience for all members of the campus community. The University has a rich history in providing access to individuals with disabilities and strives to continue this strong tradition through an established network of programs and resources that highlight disability, accessibility, and accommodations for students, employees, visitors, and guests.


McBurney Disability Resource Center
https://mcburney.wisc.edu/

We view disability as an important aspect of the diversity of UW-Madison and are committed to creating an accessible and inclusive educational experience for students. We do this by partnering with students, faculty, and staff to design accessible environments and to provide academic accommodations so that students can engage, explore and participate in the Wisconsin Idea. Whether you are a student or instructor, are new to campus or are already quite familiar, have a long history of accommodations or are just exploring disability-related accommodations for the first time, we invite you to learn more about the Center and to contact us with any questions you may have.

Questions?

If you have questions about our program not answered on this or related pages, please contact us:

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