Our faculty members work closely with undergraduate and graduate level students on a wide variety of research topics related to human communication and its disorders. Through a range of research experiences, our students have a unique opportunity to explore the boundaries of what is currently known on how we hear, perceive, produce and understand speech and language. Our students investigate innovative ways to assess and treat individuals with communication disorders in a dynamic and collaborative setting. Many students become co-authors on peer-reviewed publications. See publications with student co-authors. 

Below is a description of our labs, personnel, and some current or previous research activities.

Aphasia Research Project
Director: Pelagie Beeson, PhD, CCC-SLP
Key Personnel: Kindle Rising, MS, CCC-SLP, Chelsea Bayley, MS, CCC-SLP, Andrew DeMarco, MS, CCC-SLP, Mara Goodman, BA
Location: Room 308
Links: Dr. Beeson’s Homepage
The Aphasia Research Project is an active research environment devoted to the study of aphasia and related disorders.  After spending several years examining the nature of naming impairments in aphasia and Alzheimer’s disease, our current efforts are directed toward the development of effective treatment protocols for various aspects of aphasia, acquired alexia, and acquired agraphia. Learn more about the Aphasia Research Project.
Arizona Human Electrophysiology and Auditory Development (AHEAD)
Director: Barbara Cone, PhD, CCC-A
Key Collaborators: David Velenovsky, PhD, CCC-A, Arve Asbjornsen, PhD (University of Bergen, Norway) Student Research Assistants: Spencer Smith, Holden Sanders, Diane Cheek, Jimmy Griffiths, and James Shehorn
Location: Room 315C
Dr. Cone with mother and babyWork in the AHEAD lab is focused on the electrophysiology of infant speech perception. How do infants develop the capacity to hear and understand speech? What are infants’ speech feature detection and discrimination abilities? How can we assay those abilities using psychophysical (behavioral) and electrophysiologic methods? Our efforts are focused on auditory development in early infancy because this is the period during which the early detection and intervention for hearing loss can have enormous benefit. It is important to study normal auditory system development so that we can translate our research findings into insights and methods that will allow us to successfully treat the infant with hearing loss.
Auditory Perception and Amplification Lab
Director: Huanping Dai, PhD
Key Personnel:
Location: Room 308
Research in this lab is concerned with auditory perception of complex sounds by human listeners. On the empirical side, we design and carry out behavioral (psychophysical) experiments to study listeners’ ability to extract useful information from various sounds, and how this ability is affected by hearing disorders. On the theoretical side, we construct computational models to characterize the listeners’ individual listening behavior, and to predict their performance in perceptual tasks. While the primary focus of our research is on the basic-science aspects of auditory perception, we also work on applied issues related to hearing, including the application of statistical and psychophysical principles and methods to the diagnoses of hearing disorders, and the signal processing for amplification.
Bilingual Phonology Lab
Director: Leah Fabiano-Smith, PhD, CCC-SLP
Key Personnel: Trianna Oglivie, MS, CCC-SLP, Chelsea Privette, MS, Megan Figueroa
Location: Room 501
Links: BPL website
Bilingual children acquire two languages in the same amount of time that monolingual children learn only one. How do they do that? The Bilingual Phonology Lab at the University of Arizona aims to find out. The long-term goals of the Bilingual Phonology Lab are to (1) determine the trajectory of typical acquisition in bilingual children, taking into consideration how the two languages of bilingual children interact; (2) determine how disorder presents itself in a child that maintains two speech sound systems, and (3) develop evidence-based assessment and intervention tools to help bilingual children with phonological disorders become effective communicators in both of their languages.
L4 Lab: Language, Learning, Literacy, Lexicon
Director: Mary Alt, PhD, CCC-SLP
Key Personnel: Cecilia Figueroa, MS, CCC-SLP (Project Director), Genesis Arizmendi, MS, CCC-SLP
Location: Rooms 322/324
Links: L4 Lab’s website
The L4 Lab’s research is centered on answering this question: How do people learn words and the concepts associated with those words? The answers to this question are fundamental to our understanding of language development and disorders of language and learning. My lab approaches this larger question from three angles: 1) word learning (learning the names of things), 2) concept learning (learning the meanings of the words), and 3) clarifying how learning manifests in people who are bilingual. My research often integrates these three components, and is extending findings from our lab into clinically-driven research.
Listening in Multi-source Environments (LIME) Lab
Director: Nicole Marrone, PhD, CCC-A
Student Researchers: James Shehorn, Jaclyn Hellmann, Daisey Sanchez, Adriana Sanchez
Location: Rooms 403 and 109 (soundfield)
In the LIME Lab, our research seeks to improve quality of life and quality of care for adults living with hearing loss. We take an ecological and biopsychosocial approach to the study of communication. We are interested in the links between auditory and cognitive abilities that affect communication when using hearing aids, outcomes of rehabilitative interventions, and how changes in hearing impact daily life. Our research group includes undergraduates, graduate students, and clinical faculty collaborators from The University of Arizona Hearing Clinics.
The Neuroaudiology Lab
Director: Frank E. Musiek, PhD, CCC-A
Neuroaudiology Lab membersResearch Associates: Doris Bamiou, MSc, MD (London), Peter M. Scheifele, PhD, Elaine Schochat, PhD (Sao Paulo), Jennifer Shinn, PhD, Stephanie Nagle, PhD, Jennifer McCullagh, AuD/PhD, Jeffrey Weihing, PhD, Shannon Palmer, AuD/PhD, Shiv. Shivashankar, PhD (Banglore, India) Student Research Assistants: Julianne Ceruti (UCONN), Jennifer Gonzalez (UCONN), Barrett St. George, Diane Cheek, Nicole Denny, Alyssa Everett, Bryan Wong, Mallory Brown (UCONN), Stephanie Waryasz (UCONN)
Location: Rooms 315 and 525
Links: Dr. Musiek’s website
Neuroaudiology is a new aspect of auditory study that focuses research on the audiological effect of various disorders of the auditory nervous system. Both behavioral (psychoacoustics) and electrophysiological approaches are utilized in the investigation and evaluation and treatment of these disorders . A major part of Neuroaudiology is central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) for which both diagnostic and intervention strategies are investigated in both children and adults. The lab also commands efforts in the functional neuroanatomy of the human auditory system. Neuroaudiology Lab Newsletter - Nov 2015  Neuroaudiology Lab Newsletter - Jan 2016
The Plante Lab
Director: Elena Plante, PhD, CCC-SLP
Post Docs: Lea Kappa PhD, Michelle Sandoval, PhD Key Personnel: Rebecca Vance, MS, CCC-SLP, Diane Patterson, PhD, Trianna Oglivie, MS, CCC-SLP, Jessica Aguilar, MS CCC-SLP, and Natalie Dailey, MS
Location: Room 334
Current work in Dr. Plante’s lab focuses on learning and assessment. The lab is focused on discovering how both children and adults with developmental language disorders learn from a behavioral and neurobiological perspective. Behavioral studies are designed to determine what conditions facilitate rapid learning and whether those with language impairment benefit from the same factors that facilitate learning for non-impaired individuals. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies are designed to examine whether the neural resources dedicated to learning are the same for imapaired and normal learners.
Speech Acoustics Lab
Directors: Brad Story, PhD, and Kate Bunton, PhD, CCC-SLP
Key Personnel: Megan Kittleson, MS, Alyssa Heeman, Olivia Vinikoor
Location: Room 307
Links: Speech Acoustics Lab website
Research in the Speech Acoustics Laboratory is focused on the following areas: speech acoustics and articulation (kinematics) related to both development of speech production and disordered speech production, mechanical measures of velopharyngeal function, speech simulation and volumetric imaging of the vocal tract. Longitudinal data collection is underway involving children ages 2-6 years and adults with speech disorders. Computerized models are used in our laboratory to aid in understanding how the physical shapes and sizes of both the voice source components and the vocal tract contribute to the sound of the human voice.
Speech Research Lab
Director: Jeannette Hoit, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Kate Bunton, PhD, CCC-SLP
Student Research Assistants: Kristin Rumery
Location: Room 307
Links: Speech Acoustics Lab website
Research projects in the speech research lab focus on normal and abnormal speech motor control. Many of the projects have been devoted to understanding the influence of development and aging on respiratory, laryngeal, and velopharyngeal function during speech production. Others have been designed to elucidate the impact of linguistic and biomechanic variables on speech physiology, vocal characteristics of skilled performers, and mechanisms underlying interactions between ventilatory drives and speech production requirements.
Voice Research Laboratory
Director: Robin Samlan, PhD, CCC-SLP
Other Personnel: Brianna Kiefer, Nicole Palmer, Naomi Rhodes
Location: Room 301
Work in the Voice Research Lab is centered around understanding how features of voice production affect voice quality. The lab is approaching this question using high-speed video of vocal fold vibration, acoustic and aerodynamic studies, computational modeling, and listening studies. The long-term goal of the work is to improve voice evaluation and treatment.
WINGSS (Working Investigations of Novel Genes for Speech and Song)
Director: Julie Miller, PhD
Key Personnel: Stephanie J. Munger, Research Specialist
Links: Dr. Miller’s webpage
Work in the WINGSS laboratory focuses on the identification and characterization of molecular pathways in the brain that support speech mechanisms. We carry out these investigations in the zebra finch songbird model which shares a number of similarities to human vocal learning and production. Methods include a combination of behavioral, molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological and bioinformatic approaches that enable us to link changes at the molecular/cellular levels to alterations in neural circuits for song behavior. This is studied with respect to normal song development and on-going maintenance of learned vocalizations. We also examine perturbations of the song system, to mimic vocal problems associated with human disorders.