Bilingualism and Aphasia Laboratory
Dr. Roxana Botezatu’s research in the Bilingualism and Aphasia Lab employs bilingualism and aphasia as platforms for investigating the cognitive mechanisms underlying word recognition and production in adults. We use behavioral and electrophysiological (ERP) techniques to evaluate the relationship between language production and comprehension in bilingualism and aphasia and the consequences of second language proficiency on native language performance. This research is currently funded by the School of Health Professions at MU and the Mizzou Alumni Association.
Highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Botezatu to discuss research opportunities in the lab.
Early Childhood Language and Literacy Lab
Dr. Elizabeth Kelley’s research focuses on the development of language and literacy skills of young children. The goal of this research is to improve the oral language skills of children at risk for reading disabilities. Research areas include the design of effective instruction to improve oral language skills of preschool children in high poverty communities, examination of word learning strategies of preschool children, and examination of methods for facilitation of language development by parents, teachers, and speech-language pathologists. Current projects underway include the efficacy testing of a storybook intervention designed to improve vocabulary and comprehension skills of preschool children.
Neurogenetic Communication Disorders Laboratory
Dr. Mili Kuruvilla-Dugdale’s research focuses on improving fundamental knowledge about speech physiology in neurodegenerative diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, which may lead to more sensitive assessments and improved speech therapies. She and her collaborators are also developing innovative systems to accurately track tongue dysfunction and build personalized electronic voices for individuals with progressive speech loss. In addition to her work at MU, Kuruvilla-Dugdale is also a collaborator at Vanderbilt University’s Speech Kinematics and Acoustics Lab. The laboratory investigates how movement disorders related to the nervous system impact the production of speech. Dr. Kuruvilla-Dugdale’s research is funded by the NIH-NIDCD, Coulter Foundation, and Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Research Program.
Perception, Communication, and Development Lab
Dr. Nicholas Smith’s research focuses on understanding how communication and interaction between caregivers and their infants/children is grounded in sensory/perceptual information and experience. His laboratory-based research has examined how mothers modify the acoustical and visual properties of their speech when talking to children and how these audiovisual properties are perceived by children. Currently, the lab is undertaking a secondary analysis of a large longitudinal database of interactions between mothers and their preschool children (from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project) to examine how the millisecond timing of dialogue develops with age, how it is impacted by risk factors, and how it relates to and predicts language and developmental outcomes in children. In other words, how do mothers and children come to be “in sync” with each other, how this is affected by factors like maternal depression, and how does being “in sync” matter for development? This project is heavily dependent on support from students who code and transcribe these mother-child interactions, and this project provides opportunities for students to develop and present their own thesis research projects. Interested and motivated students are encouraged to contact Dr. Smith directly to discuss research opportunities.
Swallowing and Communication Physiology Exploration Lab (SCoPE)
Dr. Stephanie Knollhoff investigates cancer-related swallowing and communication deficits with focus on enhancing understanding of how swallowing and communication mechanisms are altered by tumors and/or treatments. The grand challenge of the SCoPE Lab is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals with cancer by the way they eat, drink, and communicate. Our mission statement is to develop prevention and intervention strategies that preserve or rehabilitate swallowing and communication deficits caused by cancer or cancer treatments. Dr. Knollhoff collaborates with professionals at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center to develop a more thorough understanding and approach to cancer-related swallowing and communication disorders. To further support rehabilitation services, Dr. Knollhoff is also interested in dysphagia-related education received by speech-language pathologists. Specifically, she seeks to develop effective programs that meet the needs of professionals and the individuals served.