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Research Groups

Acquired Neurogenic Communication Disorders Lab

The focus of our lab is on treatment of the acquired neurogenic communication disorders of aphasia and apraxia of speech. Our overriding goal is to design and test clinically applicable treatments for verbal production deficits in persons with aphasia and/or AOS utilizing sound theoretical bases for treatment and rigorous experimental methods. Our recent research efforts have been directed toward optimization of treatments through the examination of the effects of specific therapeutic ingredients (e.g., practice schedule, dosage).

Contact: Julie Wambaugh, PhD,


Auditory Perception and Physiology Lab

The long-term goal of our research is to understand and treat the difficulty hearing loss and advanced age impose on comprehending speech in noisy backgrounds. We achieve this understanding by carefully establishing the relationship between auditory perception and physiology. We hypothesize that auditory reflexes play a central role on speech perception ability in noisy backgrounds and that these reflexes decline with hearing loss and increasing age. We study these reflexes and general hearing physiology by obtaining simultaneous measurement of middle ear, inner ear, brainstem, and cortical function. We compare these physiological responses with the results of auditory perception experiments in the same participants. We solidify the link between auditory perception and physiology by interpreting our perceptual and physiological results in the context of a computational model of the auditory system. An understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to robust speech understanding in noisy backgrounds will lead to improved models of hearing, hearing devices, and speech recognition systems.

Contact: Skyler Jennings, AuD, PhD, CCC-A,


Auditory Processing and Pediatric Listening Lab

Research conducted in the APPL lab aims to improve our understanding of communication challenges faced by school-age children with and without hearing loss. We use a combination of subjective, behavioral, and electrophysiologic methods to learn about listening effort, attention allocation, and the effects of intervention (e.g., hearing aids, remote microphones) on communication. Results from our work provide valuable information to audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and teachers of children with hearing loss about environmental and child-specific characteristics that contribute to communication breakdowns.

Contact: Samantha Gustafson, AuD, PhD, CCC-A,


Child Language Labs

Research conducted at the Child Language Laboratories at the University of Utah is directed at increasing our understanding of language development and developmental language disorders. Much of the work focuses on issues of assessment and differential diagnosis but another central concern has been untangling the relationships between language disorders, attention deficits, and socioemotional difficulties.

Contact: Sean Redmond, PhD, CCC-SLP,


Child Speech Studies Lab

Our research focuses on the speech and language development of children with cleft palate, development of standard and reliable measures of speech outcome, and determining which surgical and speech interventions result in the best communication outcomes for these children. We have secured funding (NIH-NIDCR) to 1) create the first Cleft Palate Registry and Research Network (CORNET) and 2) conduct a multidisciplinary, longitudinal comparative effectiveness study across 17 children’s hospitals/clinics in the US to compare two common surgical approaches. The CORNET database, which includes common data elements and longitudinal speech and language assessments of over 1,200 children with cleft palate, has facilitated the design and implementation of other studies related to speech and language functioning and across other domains of cleft palate care (e.g., dental and psychosocial, etc.). The goal of our work is to improve the treatment outcomes for children with cleft palate while also creating a sustainable model for future research.

Contact: Kathy Chapman, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F,


Clinical Voice Studies Lab

The Clinical Voice Studies Lab focuses on the evaluation and treatment of voice and related issues. Located in the University of Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, our research investigates client-centered evaluation methods and treatment modalities in gender-affirming voice care. We serve on the Transgender Health Program at University of Utah Health to improve quality health care in a trans-affirmative environment. We are also Utah's SPEAK OUT! Therapy and Research Center for individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As such, we are interested in optimizing treatment techniques for patients with Parkinson's related voice problems.

Contact: Brett Myers, PhD, CCC-SLP,

Dual-Language Learner Lab

The Dual-Language Learner (DLL) Lab is dedicated to increasing knowledge when serving  DLL’s with and without speech and language disorders. We examine the role of home language support in language development, identify current assessment practices of SLPs, identify facilitators and barriers of interprofessional collaboration, and involve community members in understanding barriers to educational and health access to underserved populations locally and globally.

Contact: Robert Kraemer, PhD, CCC-SLP,


Early Childhood Communication Lab

The Early Childhood Communication Lab focuses on the development of social communication and language in young children. We investigate toddlers’ early language development, with particular emphasis on gestural and linguistic markers in children with developmental delays, including autism and language delay.

Contact: Stacy Manwaring, PhD, CCC-SLP,


Speech Acoustics and Perception Lab

The Speech Acoustics & Perception Laboratory examines talker, listener, and environmental factors associated with successful speech understanding as well as communication breakdowns. Projects range from perceptual experiments where listeners identify or rate what they've heard, to acoustic analyses of previously-recorded speech materials, to speech production studies where participants' speech is recorded across various tasks and test conditions. Our results provide important information to audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and other speech and hearing professionals about how listener hearing status, talker characteristics and behaviors, and environmental conditions all play a part in how we understand speech.

Contact: Sarah Ferguson, PhD, CCC-A,


Speech Fluency Lab

The Speech Fluency Laboratory is directed by Dr. Michael Blomgren. The lab is equipped with a wide variety of instrumentation to study temporal, spectral, and behavioral aspects of speech production in fluent and stuttering speakers. Dr. Blomgren’s research interests are broadly focused in two areas: 1.) evaluating aspects of speech motor control in stuttering and nonstuttering speakers, and 2.) evaluating outcomes of stuttering treatment.

Contact: Michael Blomgren, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F, 


Voice Lab

Contact: Nelson Roy, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA-F,