Current Lab Members
Frank Guenther, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Departments of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. He is also a Research Affiliate at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, a Faculty Member in the Harvard/MIT Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program, and a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Guenther is a computational and cognitive neuroscientist specializing in speech and sensorimotor control. His research program combines theoretical modeling with behavioral and neuroimaging experiments to characterize the neural computations underlying these faculties in humans. Dr. Guenther also develops brain-computer interfaces to restore synthetic speech and other communication skills to paralyzed individuals. His research has been covered extensively in the science and popular media, including television spots on CNN News, PBS News Hour, and Fox News; articles in popular science magazines Discover, Scientific American, and Popular Science; and popular press coverage in Esquire, Wired, The Boston Globe, and BBC News.
Jason Tourville, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology at Boston University. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University. He is a cognitive and computational neuroscientist primarily focused on mapping the brain regions involved in speech motor control. His research combines mathematical modeling with functional and structural brain imaging to study the neural mechanisms underlying normal and disordered speech, including persistent developmental stuttering, apraxia of speech, spasmodic dysphonia, and autism. Dr. Tourville also has an extensive background in human neuroanatomy and MRI-based brain morphometry that he uses to develop expert-guided semi-automated brain region labeling methods.
Joseph Perkell, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences. He is also a Research Affiliate at the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Perkell has been engaged in research on speech motor control since 1965. His former laboratory, in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, developed EMMA, the first electromagnetic articulometer system shown to have accuracy and reliability sufficient for rigorous research on speech kinematics. From the early 1990’s until 2012, Dr. Perkell headed the Speech Motor Control Group in RLE and was PI on two long-running R01 grants from NIDCD. The group published a number of carefully conducted, hypothesis-driven, methodologically sophisticated studies of speech production: on biomechanical constraints and motor control strategies, including the role of hearing. For its last 15 years, the group collaborated closely with Prof. Guenther, whose DIVA model provided the theoretical framework for research in both projects, guiding work on brain mechanisms and the influence of these mechanisms on speech kinematics and acoustics. Dr. Perkell was also a participating faculty member in the Harvard-MIT Graduate Program in Speech and Hearing Biosciences and Technology Program, for which he served on the program’s admissions committee and supervised graduate students. Dr. Perkell’s most recent review papers showed how his group’s work was consistent with a coherent theoretical framework that modeled relations among brain mechanisms, audition and speech motor control.
Barbara Holland, M.A. is Assistant Director of Research in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and M.A. in Psychology, emphasis in Neuropsychology, from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to joining BU, Barbara worked at the Center for Morphometric Analysis on a study of attentional network pathology in persons diagnosed with schizophrenia. Responsibilities included recruitment and neuropsychological testing of participants, conducting fMRI experiments, analysis of functional and structural data MRI, refinement of structural MRI analysis methods developed at the Center for Morphometric Analysis.
Alfonso Nieto-Castanon, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences at Boston University. In his private practice he also works as a statistical consultant, analyst, and methods/software developer. In addition to providing modeling and statistical support to research groups in the field of computational neuroscience, some of his ongoing projects involve functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) analysis methods, the application of functional localizers to investigate the selectivity of language-related areas, and method development for speech restoration in subjects with locked-in syndrome.
Riccardo Falsini is a Research Assistant at the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, who received his Bachelors of Arts in Neuroscience, Psychology (Major) and Computer Science (Minor) at Boston University. Ricky contributes to the lab by helping develop scripts related to experimental paradigms, data processing / presentation, GUI development and other coding-related tasks. Additionally, he happily assists others in the lab if they are having difficulty in areas related to or involving coding. He hopes to apply his experience in the lab towards his future goal of working with brain machine interfaces and helping others through neural prostheses.
Ina Jessen-Groeschel is a speech and language pathologist (SLP) and supports various research activities in the Gunther lab in her function as research assistant. She graduated from the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, The Netherlands, with a B.S. in clinical SLP, and from RWTH Aachen University in Germany with a M.S. in Research and Teaching Logopedics. Her interests include diagnostics and treatment of speech fluency disorders.
Saul Frankford, is a Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences at Boston University. He received his B.A. in Music Science from Northwestern University in 2013 with a minor in human communication sciences. His research interests include the neural bases of speech production, and applying current neurocomputational models to understanding speech disorders in neurologically-impaired individuals. In his spare time, Saul enjoys singing, eating new and interesting foods, and traveling.
Hilary Miller is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received a dual degree from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Spanish. She also completed her M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of New Hampshire, where she also completed a thesis on treatment of childhood apraxia of speech. Prior to coming to BU, she worked clinically as a speech-language pathologist in a Vermont public school system. Her research interests are focused on understanding the neural bases of speech motor control and speech disorders.
Aryah Basu is an undergraduate student at Boston University, Neuroscience major, Computer Science minor, Pre-med track, class of 2020. Ari reviews raw and preprocessed brain image data for the SpeechLab and is a key contributor to the lab’s effort to develop a robust standardized pipeline for assessing brain image data quality.
Katalina Aguilar is a junior at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. She contributes to the preprocessing of acoustic data and plans to apply her experience gained in the lab towards obtaining her career goal of helping design neural prostheses. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, exercising, and exploring Boston.
Farwa Faheem is a junior at Boston University studying Neuroscience with an interest in neurobiology and computational neuroscience. She is currently working on redesigning code in MATLAB for a speech production experiment in addition to assisting with coding the resulting data. She also analyzes data collected from an ongoing speech perception experiment. However, when she’s not in a study lounge or at lab, you’ll probably find her making her way to the front row of a concert.