Doctoral Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Research Labs

Aging and Adult Language Disorders Lab

2310V Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Heather Harris Wright, PhD
Lab Personnel: Thomas West, Lab Manager
                         Stephen Kintz, Graduate Research Associate

The Aging and Adult Language Disorders Laboratory is concerned with the interaction between cognitive functions, such as memory, attention and executive functions, and language processing abilities in both healthy aging adults as well as individuals with aphasia.

Auditory Prosthesis Psychophysics and Perception Lab

2310D Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Ning Zhou, PhD

The Auditory Prosthesis Psychophysics and Perception Lab contains a double-walled sound isolated booth, supporting electronic, computers, research interface and hardware for electrical stimulation via cochlear implants. Lab research focuses on measuring functional responses of an auditory prosthesis using various psychophysical measures. These measures assess the spectral and temporal processing acuity of the auditory neurons near the stimulation sites. Recent research interests include relating psychophysical data to the sensory and neural status of implanted ears in humans, understanding the relative importance of spectral and temporal processing acuity for perception, and designing optimal processor mapping strategies for cochlear implant users.

Cleft Palate Speech Imaging and Visualization Lab

2310A & 2310B Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Jamie Perry, PhD

The aims of the Cleft Palate Speech and Imaging and Visualization Laboratory are to improve our understanding of cleft palate speech. Most methodologies combine imaging technology with advanced 3D computer technology. The lab is equipped with a sound proof speech recording suite, computerized speech lab, visipitch, nasometer, phonatory aerodynamic system, EGG, and a multi-computing software system for data analyses. These tools allow us to examine the difference between individuals with normal anatomy and those with cleft palate. Researchers in this area will work closely with colleagues in the ECU school of medicine, dental school, and cleft palate craniofacial teams in the state of NC.

Clinical Auditory Research Lab

1310D Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Deborah Culbertson, PhD

The lab includes a double-walled sound isolated sound booth, diagnostic audiometer, and access to otoacoustic emissions and middle ear analyzers.  Current research includes a study of FM system benefit on auditory attention in children with and without ADHD, a normative study on pediatric speech recognition materials, and a study of hearing aid use and outcomes.

Communications Outcomes and Equity Research Lab

2310Q Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Charles Ellis, PhD

The lab is focused on bridging the gap between traditional impairment studies of neurogenic disorders of communication, "health services" outcomes research, and communication disparities and equity. 


Early Language and Literacy for Diverse Children Lab

2310T Health Sciences Building
Lab director: Lucía I. Méndez, PhD, CCC-SLP

The mission of the Early Language and Literacy for Diverse Children Lab is twofold: 1) To conduct research on early language development and emergent literacy that supports school readiness in bilingual and linguistically diverse children and, 2) To develop evidence-based practices for the assessment and treatment of culturally and linguistically diverse children at risk for language and academic outcome disparities. Our research focuses on preschool children acquiring two languages in the context of linguistic diversity and socio-economic inequities. Current projects include investigating the role of the language of instruction in literacy-based approaches to vocabulary instruction for Spanish-speaking Latino preschoolers, and examining the relation between language and early math and early literacy in this population. The lab welcomes undergraduate and graduate students interested in participating in related research projects.

Electrophysiology Laboratory

2310E Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Andrew Stuart, PhD

The Electrophysiology Laboratory contains a double-walled IAC test booth, and supporting electronic and computer equipment. This lab is designed and equipped to perform research projects involving brain mapping, as well as the investigation of evoked potentials. The Electrophysiology Laboratory is equipped with a complete evoked potential system to fill research and teaching needs. Included are a Neuroscan 32-channel PC-based EEG\Evoked Potential brain mapping system, a BioLogic Navigator Pro Windows-based system diagnostic ABR/ASSR system, and Vivosonic wireless OAE/ABR/ASSR instrument. Macintosh and PC computers are available for word processing, statistics, stimulus generation and graphics applications. Current and recent research includes investigating speech recognition in noise; contralateral suppression of otoacoustic emissions; the effect of alterations in auditory feedback on speech production; and real-ear output measures of fluency devices.

Production and Perception of Speech Sounds Research Lab

2310 Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Yolanda Holt, PhD

The Production and Perception of Speech Sounds Research Lab is interested in producing basic scientific research in the area of speech production and perception in non-mainstream dialect speakers, specifically speakers of Southern American English with specific emphasis on the production and perception of African American speakers. The long term goal of this research is to identify the aspects of minority dialect speech production and perception that have the greatest influence on the individual's phonological system as it relates to literacy acquisition. The research questions driving this research include the following: Do Southern African American (AA) and Southern European American (EA) speakers living in the same communities in North Carolina have similar or different productions of American English vowels? Along what parameters are the vowels similar, different? Do these speakers have similar or different perceptions of what constitutes a poor versus a good representation of a vowel target? Are vowels categorized along the same parameters by these listeners? How do the variables age, sex, socio-economic status and educational level correlate with the production and perceptual responses? Are these responses consistent between generations, parent to child? What is the relationship between these productions and perceptions when level of literacy is used as a variable? Is perceptual vowel identification related to level of literacy? Would training in vowel identification increase the acquisition of literacy in children whose parents have low levels of literacy? Is vowel length contrastive in African American English? Is there dialectal variation in the production of the vowels used by speakers of African American English, if so along what parameters, geographic, socio-economic? If not how similar are the vowels in African American English at the phonetic level?

Psychoacoustic Laboratory

2310F Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Andrew Stuart, PhD

The Psychoacoustic Laboratory contains a double-walled IAC test booth, and supporting electronic and computer equipment. A Tucker-Davis Complete Psychoacoustic system is housed in the laboratory. This system consists of digital signal processing platform (i.e., 2 channel synchronous 16 bit D/A and A/D for signal acquisition and play back, programmable attenuators, filters, and signal generators). The rack-mounted electronic components interface with a Pentium-based microcomputer and supporting psychophysical software. The psychoacoustic and support software allows for design and generation of complex auditory stimuli and for comprehensive forced choice paradigm psychoacoustic testing. This system allows implementation of a wide range of psychoacoustic experimental paradigms including those proposed for the present project. A Dell Pentium-based computer interfaces with the Tucker-Davis Psychoacoustic System. Current and recent research include investigating auditory long latency responses to tonal and speech stimuli; the effect of gender on the N1-P2 auditory complex while listening and speaking with altered auditory feedback; and auditory brainstem responses to air and bone conducted chirp and click stimuli in newborns.

Reading and Language Science Lab

2310P Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Marianna Walker, PhD

In the Reading and Language Science Lab, research is conducted relating to various cognitive and linguistic processes involved in reading, naming, comprehension, memory, hemispheric processing, emotional processing, retrieval, and morphological, syntactic, and semantic processing. Within this lab, research has examined the effects of specific parameters of these processes on the development of reading, the influence on dyslexic and reading disorder subtypes including assessment and diagnosis, accelerated decoding and comprehension, and reading fluency of children, adolescents, and adults. The lab is equipped with a number of computers that contain SuperLab (Cedrus, 2012), a stimulus presentation software that facilitates and controls specific parameters within these investigations involving reading, language, and literacy.

Speech Perception Lab

2310H Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Andrew J. Vermiglio, AuD

The goal of the Speech Perception Laboratory is to investigate the effect of participant and test factors on the ability to recognize speech in quiet and in noisy environments.  Speech recognition in quiet testing has been commonly used in the audiology clinic.  However, speech in noise testing has not seen widespread clinical use.  Research has shown that speech recognition in noise testing may reveal aspects of audition, which are not revealed by standard audiological testing.  Factors that may affect the ability to recognize speech in noise include audibility, outer hair cell function, auditory brainstem function, auditory cortex function, language or dialect experience, musical experience and working memory.

Speech Science & Stuttering Lab

2310R Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Joe Kalinowski, PhD

The Speech Science and Stuttering Laboratory uses state-of-the art software including, Praat, Audacity, and PeakPro 6 for the analysis and synthesis of speech signals for the purposes of research, teaching and clinical applications. The research aspect of the lab has produced numerous publications that examine various acoustic parameters of speech, speech perception and stuttering related research. Listening experiments are an essential component of the lab's mission.  Stuttering research examines physiological, behavioral reposes to stuttering behavior and other disorders via Biopic (e.g., ECG, EDR, EMG, EOG, Respiration, Pulse) and eye gaze tracking via Applied Science Laboratories (ASL) eye-tracking D6 with Gaze tracker software (e.g. heat maps, pupil dilation, eye movement).  Stuttering inhibition via altered feedback in the auditory  (e.g. frequency-altered feedback, delayed feedback and numerous permutations) and visual modalities are examined using extensive digital signal processing equipment.  Our team is creating Web and iPhone applications that will allow for greater dissemination of our work.

Tele-Audiology Lab

Lab Directors: Gregg D. Givens, PhD
Jianchu Yao, PhD Dept of Engineering

The purpose of this laboratory is a multi-disciplinary approach involving Audiology and Engineering to extend applications of the Internet and other telecommunication means to the assessment of hearing.  Newly developed innovative remote desktop and server-based applications to audiology show great promise to provide hearing health care to those without such resources.  Multiple publications and patents have come from these efforts.

Voice and Swallowing Lab

2310J Health Sciences Building
Lab Director: Kathleen T. Cox, PhD. and Balajai Rangnarathnam, PhD.

The Voice and Swallowing Research Lab is interested in understanding neurophysiological underpinnings of voice and swallowing. The research questions the lab aims to investigate are:

1. What is the contribution of cerebellum in healthy swallowing and during the recovery stages of dysphagia due to stroke?

2. Are there predictable patterns of recovery from dysphagia post stroke?

3. What are efficacious treatment options for vocal hyperfunction?

4. What are the effects of instruction in voice assessment?



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Department of Communication 
  Sciences and Disorders
3310 Health Sciences Building
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