Lab Members

 

Principal Investigator

A woman with brown hair in a blue shirt is smiling in front of a blue-grey background Cara Stepp, Ph.D., directs the STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering and is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. She received the S.B. in Engineering Science from Smith College, S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology. Prior to joining BU, she completed postdoctoral training in Computer Science & Engineering and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Stepp’s research uses engineering tools to improve the assessment and rehabilitation of sensorimotor disorders of voice and speech.

Associated Faculty

A man with white hair, a white beard, and a blue shirt is smiling in front of a black background Joseph Perkell, Ph.D, D.M.D, is a senior research scientist in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. He received his S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, D.M.D from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and PhD in Speech Communication from MIT. Dr. Perkell’s primary area of research is in speech motor control, with a strong focus on speech kinematics, constraints and motor control strategies, and the role of hearing. His research laboratory at MIT developed the EMMA system, the first electromagnetic articulometer system, which was demonstrated to have the accuracy and reliability required for rigorous research on speech kinematics. Dr. Perkell has also studied the brain mechanisms underlying speech motor control and the influence of these mechanisms on speech kinematics and acoustics.

Staff

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Katherine Brown is the lab manager for the STEPP Lab. She received a B.A. with double majors in American Sign Language and Psychology from the University of Rochester in 2017. Her prior research experience examined health literacy in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. In the future, she plans to enter a career in the medical field and pursue research related to public health and the Deaf community to reduce health disparities faced by this population. She enjoys attending concerts and socializing with the Deaf community in her free time. 
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Daniel Buckley, MS, CCC-SLP, is a research speech-language pathologist with the STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering. He received a B.M. from The Boston Conservatory in voice performance, and his M.S. in communication sciences and disorders with a clinical concentration in voice disorders from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. He completed his clinical fellowship in voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders with the USC Voice Center at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California. His clinical and research interests include rehabilitation of the professional voice and treatment modalities for laryngeal muscle tension based dysphagia and dysphonia. In his free time, Daniel enjoys playing the piano and sailing.
Dante Cilento is a Research Fellow in the STEPP Lab at Boston University. He received his B.S. in Health Science from Boston University in 2019. He is interested in health care administration with a focus on the management of population health networks and addiction recovery service organizations. In his free time, Dante enjoys traveling, hiking, and woodworking.
A woman with brown hair is standing in front of a white background Kimberly Dahl, MS, is a research fellow at the STEPP Lab. She received her MA in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, where she researched code-switching practices among bilinguals in a small Texas town. More recently, she received her MS in speech-language pathology at the University of Rhode Island. There, she helped launch the Trans Voice Clinic while researching correlations between acoustic features of transgender women’s voices and ratings of gender and femininity. Her research and clinical interests focus on gender-spectrum voice training and the role of voice in the construction of individual identities.
A man with brown hair, a brown beard, glasses, and a gray shirt is smiling in front of a brown background Manuel Díaz Cádiz is a Research Fellow at Boston University.  He received his M.S. in Electronic Engineering from the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. He was a visiting student of Real-time Embedded Software Group in the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada, in 2014; and is a former student of the the Voice Production Laboratory (VPLab) from the Department of Electronic Engineering at UTFSM. His research interests are related to digital signal processing, image and video analysis, computer vision algorithms and advanced digital systems design. He was a recipient of a CONICYT scholarship from the Chilean Government, an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarship from the Government of Canada and the award for best project of the Maxwell category at the EXPO ELO 2015 (UTFSM).
Monique Tardif is a research fellow in the STEPP lab at Boston University. She is completing her MSc in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. Her thesis explores the influence of speech disorders on an interlocutor’s speech. She received her BSc Honours in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour specializing in Music Cognition at McMaster University. In her free time, Monique enjoys travel, music, and volleyball.

Doctoral Research Assistants

Defne Abur is a Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received a B.S. in Engineering Science from Smith College with a concentration in Biomathematics and performed research in hearing sciences and middle ear acoustics. As an NIH training grant fellow and Rafik B. Hariri Institute graduate fellow in the Stepp Lab, her work focuses on auditory factors in voice and speech production, autophonic judgments of voice, and the use of auditory perturbation paradigms to study speech and voice motor control. Outside of the lab, Defne loves to sing and play the ukulele.
Matti Groll is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. He graduated from BU in 2017 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. His research interests include areas of signal processing, the laryngeal system, and speech production. He enjoys running and watching movies.
A man with black hair and a white shirt smiles in front of a gray background Yeonggwang Park is a Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. He received the B.A. in Music (vocal performance) from Gordon College. His research interests include improving voice assessment and treatment techniques for people with functional voice disorders.
A man with brown hair and a green shirt is smiling in front of a gray background Dante Smith is a Ph.D. student in Computational Neuroscience at Boston University working collaboratively with BU’s Guenther Lab (primary) and the Stepp Lab. He graduated from BU in 2012 with a B.S. Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include neural prostheses, brain-computer interfaces, and sensorimotor control of voice. His dissertation is focused on auditory and somatosensory aspects of vocal control. His interests are travel, Ultimate Frisbee, and cooking.
Nicole Tomassi is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience at BU. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2019 with a B.S in Applied Mathematics. Her research interests include brain-computer interfaces and neural modeling with clinical applications. In her free time, Nicole enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, rock climbing, and traveling.
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Jenny Vojtech is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015, and her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2019. Her current research interests involve developing computational methods to improve the clinical assessment of voice disorders and applying quantitative techniques to enhance augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device access. In 2017, Jenny was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to improve the functionality of AAC speech synthesis capabilities through the optimization of speed, usability, and accuracy.
A woman with black hair, a purple top, and a pink necklace is smiling in front of a dark background Hasini Weerathunge  is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. She received her B.S. in Engineering from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka where she majored in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. She research interests include brain-computer interfaces and neuro-engineering applications that enhance human quality of life. Her current research work involves utilizing auditory & somatosensory motor perturbations of voice and speech to develop computational models of sensorimotor control for disordered populations. Outside of work, Hasini enjoys travelling, meeting people and exploring Boston and beyond.

Graduate Research Assistants

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Felicia Francois is a Speech-Language Pathology master’s student at Boston University. She received a B.M. in Vocal Performance and a B.M.E. in Choral Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015 with a minor in Spanish. Her interests include voice training for gender diverse individuals and professional voice users. In her free time, Felicia enjoys singing and kayaking.
Denise London is a master’s student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Boston University. She received her B.A. in Psychology & Linguistics from the University of Michigan in 2018. She is interested in the application of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and the impact it has on the communication skills of individuals with disabilities. In her free time, Denise enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.
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Roxanne Segina is a master’s student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Boston University. She received her B.A. in Spanish & Linguistics from Boston University in 2019. She is interested in the intersection of technology with speech, language, and voice disorders, and she values the growing research that helps improve and enrich clinical services in the field. Roxanne enjoys volunteering and traveling.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Katie Carone is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in Sargent College. She is most interested in working as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist in the future. She hopes to utilize her research experience in the future when she is a professional. In her free time, she enjoys yoga and having a good nap.
A woman with blond curly hair smiling outside Allie Casey is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Biology. She holds an interest in immunology and immunotherapy, with interest in medical innovation in coordination with the immune system. She intends to get a PhD in Bioengineering and is excited about all clinical experience. In her free time she enjoys running, cooking, and petting dogs.
Megan Cushman is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences with a minor is Vocal Performance. She is interested in how research improves clinical assessment of voice and language disorders. In her free time, Megan enjoys singing, reading, and traveling.
A woman with brown straight hair smiling in front of a white wall Lidiya Dubrova is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying speech, language and hearing sciences. She has an interest in technology and assessment methods used in the field of speech, language and hearing such as stroboscopy and dichotic tests. She hopes to apply her experience and knowledge from classes to contribute in a lab environment and learn about how practice in speech therapy is contingent on research. In her free time, she enjoys discovering coffee shops, horseback riding, and spending time in nature.
Jayden Font is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Neuroscience on the Pre-medical Track. He is interested in computational techniques for studying neuroscience and applying those skills for the development of new technology and treatments for neurological disorders. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the city, trying new restaurants and coffee shops, and spending time with friends.
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Megan Lee is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. She hopes to learn research skills in the Stepp Lab and apply her interest in medical devices and technologies. She wishes to gain clinical experience and engineering techniques in the medical field. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and traveling.
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Austin Luong is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-medical track. He hopes to use engineering skills and experience to make a positive impact in people’s lives. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, finding new music, and going places with friends.
Ashley Mcfarlane is an sophomore studying biomedical engineering trying to pursue the most she can in life. She is passionate about working with people and children. She enjoys vast variety of music and dance. She also enjoys a good pun.
Abigail Payne is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. She is interested in the design process of prosthetics and biomedical devices. She intends to work in the industry once she graduates. In her free time, Abby likes to nap with her dog and go hiking.
Tamara Polyakova is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering. She is currently
on a Pre-med track and hopes to eventually go to medical school and combining her engineering degree with a medical degree to work on
various aspects in medicine and biomedicine, specifically the fields of
biotechnology and neuroprosthetics. In her free time I enjoy reading, traveling and playing board games.
A woman with brown hair and a floral dress is smiling outdoors, in front of a bridge Samantha Shank is an undergraduate at Boston University studying Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences. She is interested in motor speech disorders and how new treatments are contingent on research. She hopes to gain her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology and one day work with children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, concerts, and exploring Boston with friends.
A woman with blond hair and a blue top is smiling outdoors, in front of grass and a tree Austeja Subaciute is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-medical track. She hopes to use knowledge from engineering to apply to the medical field, and gain clinical experience. In her free time, she enjoys competing for Boston University Club Gymnastics, eating new foods, and exploring Boston.
A woman with brown hair and glasses smiles in front of a fall background Feng Wang is an undergraduate at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. She holds an interest in clinical study and wishes to apply engineering skills in designing medical devices that can improve patients’ lives. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing and traveling all over the world.

Clinical Recruitment Assistants

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Madihah Haque is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering. She is eager to explore the intersection of a research lab and clinical experience from gathering data from patients. She enjoys reading, music from the 80s, and spending quality time with friends and family.

 

Anarghya Murthy is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying biomedical engineering on the pre-med track. She hopes to gain an understanding of clinical research and combine her passions for biology, psychology, and medical devices. She is part of a dance team at BU and enjoys to draw in her free time.
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Tiffany Voon is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biology, with a Cell/Molecular Biology and Genetics specialization and Computer Science minor. She hopes to explore her passion for biology, medicine, and technology at the Stepp Lab. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, trying different cuisines, and exploring Boston.

 

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India Wilkerson is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Dietetics in Sargent College. She has a strong interest in public health and hopes to gain insight into the inner workings of a research lab. Outside of her studies she enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and exploring Boston.  

 

Lab Alumni

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