The 2023 Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium, a regional conference aimed at bringing together speech motor control researchers in the Boston area and beyond, was held at Boston University on June 12th. The conference kicked off with a thought-provoking speech delivered by former Dean of Sargent College, Dr. Christopher Moore, followed by engaging roundtable discussions with invited speakers and special guests focused on career planning in speech motor control.
Two Guenther Lab PhD students, Jackie Kim and Latane Bullock, and one postdoctoral fellow, Hannah Rowe, presented their work at the symposium. Jackie presented her work entitled, "Increased Local Gyrification Associated with Increased Autism Severity," which highlighted the structural brain differences underlying autism spectrum disorders. Latane presented his work entitled, "Basal Ganglia Intracranial Local Field Potential Beta and Gamma Dynamics During Speech Production," which delved into the intricate workings of the basal ganglia and its role in speech production. Lastly, Hannah presented her work entitled, "Preliminary Evidence for Motor- and Planning-Based Subtypes of Stuttering Based on Resting State Functional Connectivity Abnormalities," which provided evidence for potential subtypes of stuttering and the importance of personalized treatment approaches.
A major highlight of the symposium was the keynote presentation by Dr. Edward Chang, MD, a respected neurosurgeon from the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Chang's talk focused on the latest developments from his lab, shedding light on our evolving understanding of the speech cortex. His presentation sparked thought-provoking discussions and opened new avenues for future research.
As the symposium concluded, attendees left with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and motivation to continue pushing the boundaries of speech motor control research. The knowledge gained and connections made at the conference will undoubtedly serve as catalysts for future breakthroughs and collaborations in the field.
Listen to this recently recorded podcast with Dr. Frank Guenther by Scientific American.
“Did you know you could use brain computer interfaces to restore speech?” Professor Guenther’s recent talk at the Hariri Institute at BU.
Please enjoy this YouTube video of Prof. Guenther's recent talk for the Hariri Institute at Boston University entitled "Did you know you could use brain computer interfaces to restore speech?" The talk was presented virtually on March 24, 2022.
A recent article in Wired magazine discusses the history and progress of research aimed at creating a speech prosthesis, which is a brain-computer interface that can "read" what a paralyzed patient's brain is trying to say and translate it into an acoustic signal. The particular focus is on speech prostheses that can allow the user to improve with practice; our work with Dr. Philip Kennedy in 2008-2009 was the first device of this type, though it was only capable of producing vowel sounds, not entire words.
A new article in Psychology Today examines how the midbrain "relay stations" modulate motor loops linked to fluid performance. The author discusses collaborative stuttering research between the Guenther lab and Dr. Soo-Eun Chang's lab at the University of Michigan (inspired in part by Per Alm's theoretical work on basal ganglia involvement in stuttering), relating this work to fluid motions of athletes such as tennis players.
Congratulations to Guenther lab member Hilary Miller who was recently awarded a ASHFoundation New Century Scholars Doctoral Scholarship!
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s ASHFoundation awarded this scholarship to recognize strong doctoral candidates who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to a teacher-investigator career in the field of communication sciences and disorders.
Guenther lab member Hilary Miller was just selected as a Graduate Student Fellow through the BU Hariri Institute for Computing! The Hariri Graduate Student Fellows program recognizes outstanding PhD students who are pursuing computing and data-driven research at Boston University.
New article just published! We looked at how reliable fMRI activation maps were from adults who participated in two simple speech studies in our lab. By focusing on a swath of cortex commonly used during speech, overlap and correlation measures were moderate to high. We then asked if they were also highly discriminable - could a computer correctly identify a participant just from their speech activation maps? Turns out you get almost perfect accuracy across 75 participants with only 1 training sample.
Notice of Dissertation Defense
Dante J. Smith
Candidate for the degree of Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience
Title: THE ROLES OF AUDITORY AND SOMATOSENSORY FEEDBACK IN VOCAL MOTOR CONTROL
Monday, December 2, 2019
5 Cummington Mall, RM 113
(Advisor: Professor Frank Guenther)
Check out the latest issue of Inside Sargent to read up on the research of two Guenther lab members, Dr. Liz Heller Murray and graduate student Saul Frankford.
Saul Frankford's research on speech and speech disorders, specifically stuttering, is also discussed in this issue.