Lab Members

 

Principal Investigator

Cara Stepp, Ph.D., directs the STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering and is Assistant 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

203 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.
Shembel Bio Pic Adrianna Shembel is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, studying laryngeal physiology and pathophysiology with Dr. Verdolini Abbott as well as adjunct faculty in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She earned her B.S. in Communication Science & Disorders, with minors in Theater, Dance, and Music with a voice emphasis from the Pennsylvania State University, and her M.A. in Communication Science & Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a licensed speech-language pathologist and has practiced in a variety of outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings, diagnosing and treating patients with voice, breathing, and swallowing disorders. Her doctoral work is on clinical feature taxonomy and pathophysiological mechanisms of paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder (PVFMD) and other episodic laryngeal breathing disorders (ELBD).

Staff

1 - 1 Katherine Brown is a Recruitment Specialist with Boston University’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences. She received a B.A. with double majors in American Sign Language and Psychology from the University of Rochester in 2017. In the future, she hopes to enter a career in research examining information and language deprivation in deaf individuals, such as how a lack of early language access may lead to psychopathology as well as preventative measures to ensure Deaf children are provided with early access to a visual language. In her free time, she enjoys attending music festivals, making ceramics, or socializing with the Deaf community. 
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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.
manuel 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).
tee-scaled Thomas Elliott is the incoming lab manager of the Stepp Lab. With degrees in health services administration and nursing, his focus has been development of care management programs for high-risk patient populations and implementation of federal and state pilot projects. In his leisure time he has dabbled in sky diving, white-water rafting, and hiking. Also handy with power tools.
Ashling Lupiani is a Visiting Fellow in the Stepp Lab. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience and Minor in Engineering Science from Boston University in 2017. As an undergraduate, she received an NIH Undergraduate Fellowship in Computational Neuroscience to complete an honors thesis in the Stepp Lab: “Articulatory strategies and speech rate: using Parkinson’s disease as a model of disordered articulation”. Ashling hopes to further her knowledge of computational neuroscience and apply it to research that will improve individuals’ well-being. Her current work in the lab focuses on auditory-motor function in individuals with voice and speech disorders. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and exploring Boston.
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Evan Usler, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences at Boston University and in the Speech and Feeding Disorders Lab at MGH Institute of Health Professions. He received a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from Purdue University. His primary area of research is in the neural bases for language and emotional processing, and how these factors interact with speech motor control, particularly fluency.

Doctoral Research Assistants

Defne 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 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.
Gabriel Cler Gabriel Cler is a Ph.D. student in Computational Neuroscience at Boston University. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Bradley University and received a Graduate Certificate in Cognitive Science from the University of Central Florida. His research interests involve applying quantitative and computational methods to rehabilitate speech motor control disorders in children and adults. His research at BU focuses on AAC, speech motor control, and developing quantitative assessment and videogame rehabilitation for individuals with resonance disorders. His NIH F31-funded dissertation is to develop and validate novel communication interfaces for individuals with severe paralysis.
Headshot 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, auditory systems, and speech production. He enjoys running, going to the movies, and watching Netflix.
Victoria McKenna, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received her B.S. from Syracuse University in both Communication Sciences and Disorders and Psychology, and an M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of New Hampshire. Tory also previously pursued graduate study in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests include voice, swallowing, and translating basic research to clinical populations. In addition to completing her dissertation work in the area of physiological mechanisms of vocal effort as an NIH training grant fellow in the Stepp Lab, Tory sees voice and swallowing patients as a speech-language pathologist at Boston Medical Center.
Lizpicture_smaller_test2 Liz Heller Murray, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from Emory University in 2009 and her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2013. She completed her clinical fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and continues her clinical collaboration with their Voice and Velopharyngeal Dysfunction Program. Liz’s research interests involve working on improvements in both rehabilitation techniques and assistive devices for children and adults with voice and resonance dysfunction. She is currently completing her dissertation (funded by an NIH F31 fellowship) in the area of auditory-motor function in children with voice disorders. In her free time she enjoys traveling, reading, and baking.
original-nocon Jian Carlo Nocon is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in May 2017. His research interests include auditory neuroscience, systems control and analysis, and applications of signal processing techniques.
Park copy 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.
dante 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.
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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. 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.

M.S. Research Assistants

Becky Rebecca Glover is an M.S. student in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received her B.S. in Biology with Concentration in Chemistry from Edgewood College prior to receiving her second concentration from Northwestern University in Prespeech Pathology through the SPS program. Her current research studies the communication efficiency, naturalness, and practical functionality of AAC prototypes being developed within the STEPP Lab. In her free time, she loves cooking, travel, and playing with her dog Barkley.
Jennifer Hylkema is a M.S student in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University.  She received her B.S. from Syracuse University where she majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Neuroscience and minored in Psychology. Her current research interests include examining factors that influence acoustic measurements in individuals with voice disorders. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys running, baking, and hiking.
13227798_10206994632679878_5177799644838397818_o Lauren MacLellan is a combined B.S/M.S student in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She received her B.S. from Boston University in May 2016. Her current research interests include Augmentative Alternative Communication devices and their application for the treatment of various communicative disorders, specifically those caused by neurodegenerative disease and traumatic brain injury. In her free time she enjoys browsing Pinterest, playing soccer, and exploring Boston with her friends.
original-snow Cameron Snow is a M.S student in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. He received his B.S. in Engineering from the University of Western Ontario where he majored in Mechatronic Systems Engineering, a multi-facteted discipline of Engineering that focuses on topics from Software, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering. His current research interests include improving the interface between digital technology and physiological systems in order to improve quality of life. In his spare time he enjoys playing ice hockey, listening to and playing music, and watching movies and shows online.
image Hasini Weerathunge  is a M.S 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. Her current research interests include brain computer interfaces and neuro engineering applications which enhance human quality of life. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, researching on IoT/wearable technologies and exploring Boston.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

5452bcde981d9.image Nicole Enos is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. She is interested in Computer Engineering and applying engineering techniques to improving people’s lives. She enjoys learning new skills, trying new foods, hiking, and exploring Boston.
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Jaime Kim is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Speech and Hearing Sciences in Sargent College. She hopes to gain clinical experience and learn about the research in speech therapy. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Boston and hanging out with friends.
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Katharine Kolin is an undergraduate student at Boston University with a double major in Neuroscience and Computer Science. Kat is specifically interested in studying brain machine interfaces and computational neuroscience as well as neural prostheses and hopes to invest time in building and implementing technologies that will not only improve people’s quality of life, but will also provide equity to individuals with impairments.
Zach Morgan is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. He is interested in medical device design and applying engineering techniques he has acquired throughout his studies. In his free time, he enjoys going to the movies with his friends, playing soccer, and biking around Boston.
stepppic Jake Noordzij is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering. He hopes to implement engineering techniques to have a real world impact. In his free time, Jake enjoys relaxing with his friends and eating exotic foods.
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Tiffany Peters is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor concentration in Deaf Studies. I am interested in improving the lives of those with hearing and speech impairments, if not by being able to help them regain those abilities, by becoming integrated into, learning about and spreading their culture. In my free time, I like to explore other cultures through dance and song.
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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.
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Lin Zhang is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Biomedical Engineering on the Pre-med track. She enjoys applying knowledge she has acquired to real lives. She is also a qualified Massachusetts Emergency Medical Technician. In her sparse time, she likes traveling, going to art museums, and watching movies with her friends.

Undergraduate Administrative Assistants

Bio Picture Paige Clabby is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Health Sciences. After BU, she will be pursuing a graduate nursing degree in hopes of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is an Emergency Medical Technician, and enjoys working in clinical settings. In her free time she loves to explore Boston or take quick trips to her hometown in Maine.
Bio Picture Christine George is a undergraduate at Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College. She is studying Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Deaf Studies. She is excited to learn more about speech and language research. She enjoys knitting, painting and watching Netflix in her free time.
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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.

Clinical Recruitment Assistants

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Ramsha Asim is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Human Physiology in Sargent College. I hope to gain clinical experience and learn more about the field of speech-language pathology. In my free time I enjoy traveling, watching The Office, and facetiming my dog.
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Isabella Bierezowiec is an undergraduate student at Boston University in Sargent College. She is in her last year of studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She would love to learn about the research aspect of speech pathology. Outside of her studies, her passions include dancing, playing soccer and basketball, and traveling.
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Sachin Chinta is an Undergraduate student at Boston University who is studying Biology with a Pre-Med focus. He hopes to learn more about vocal disorders and gain valuable clinical experience. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking, taking pictures, and eating good food.
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Gracelyn Hannabach is an undergraduate student studying Human Physiology in Sargent College. She is on a pre-med track and works as an EMT for an ambulance service in Massachusetts. When not in class or working, Gracelyn enjoys spending time with friends, watching hockey, and giving back to the community as a part of BU’s community service fraternity APO.

 

Lab Alumni

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