Notice of Dissertation Defense

Scott Kuzdeba
Candidate for the degree of Ph.D. in Computational Neuroscience


Wednesday, July 31, 2019
1:00 pm

Boston University
5 Cummington Mall, BRB-113

(Advisor: Professor Frank Guenther)


Postdoc Matthias Heyne sharing speech production insights in Puerto Rico

Guenther lab postdoc Matthias Heyne recently (January 21-27, 2019) went on tour to Puerto Rico with the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble where they presented several concerts with Grammy-nominated alto saxophone player Miguel Zenon and taught Puerto Rican High students about topics ranging from Math, Physics, and Climate Change, to Computer Science. Matthias contributed presentations on the human brain including some insights from our research on speech production, and a special interest of his, the parallels of language and music. A passionate trombonist, Matthias also performs with the MIT Symphony Orchestra and frequently attends local jam sessions.

Featured below, a short video about the trip by MIT Video Productions:

Axe Throwing anyone?

After making a number of submissions to journals, we all needed to blow off some steam. Axe throwing sounded like a good idea, and no that's not a euphemism. We really went to throw axes at targets, with a little friendly competition to boot. Everyone had a great time and we're hoping to make this a regular event.


Dr. Elaine Kearney to present at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 2019 Pathways Program

Dr. Elaine Kearney, a postdoctoral researcher in the Guenther lab, has been selected to participate in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 2019 Pathways Program! The Pathways Program aims to mentor early-career clinical scientists in establishing strong foundations for an independent research career. It consists of two phases: an initial 2-day conference held in Maryland in June followed by a year of ongoing, remote mentoring and educational support. 10-15 applicants are selected each year to participate and are paired with experienced research mentors. Elaine will be mentored by Dr. Steven Barlow, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a leading scholar in the neurobiology of somatosensory and motor systems across the lifespan, from premature infants to adults with acquired neurological disorders.

Research featured in Neurology Today

Our study on brain structure anomalies in children who stutter as well as those who recover, a collaboration with the Chang Group at University of Michigan, is featured in Neurology Today.

CORTICAL MORPHOLOGY of children who stutter: The areas show significant group differences in left hemisphere cortical morphology: aCO=anterior central operculum; midPMC=middle premotor cortex; preSMA=presupplementary motor area; vMC=ventral motor cortex; vPMC=ventral premotor cortex.

Take me out to the ball game!

The Guenther Lab recently left the confines of the lab to take part in an all American pastime - baseball! We are fortunate enough to be steps away from historic Fenway Park so we got ourselves organized, thanks to Dr. Matthias Heyne, and headed to see the Boston Red Sox battle the Baltimore Orioles in a late season game on September 26th, 2018. We couldn't have asked for better weather, highs in the 80's were a treat for the late September day. The original game day was the day before but due to rain, it was postponed. Our luck continued as we watched 5 home runs among the 22 hits and all time best 107th victory at Fenway!

In attendance (from left): Dr. Elaine Kearney, Dr. Frank Guenther, Barbara Holland, Dr. Matthias Heyne, Saul Frankford and Dante Smith.


Guenther Lab brain-machine interface research featured on MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory website

in News

Dr. Frank Guenther and former Guenther lab graduate student Andres F. Salazar-Gomez are featured in an article on human-robot interactions on the MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory's (CSAIL) website titled: How to control robots with brainwaves and hand gestures.

This article discusses a paper  authored by MIT researchers along with Dr. Guenther and Dr. Salazar-Gomez titled Plug-and-Play Supervisory Control Using Muscle and Brain Signals for Real-Time Gesture and Error Detection.  

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Conference on Motor Speech – Guenther lab participation

Many members of the Guenther Lab recently attended the Nineteenth Biennial Conference on Motor Speech in Savannah, Georgia, Feb 22 – 25, 2018. Principal Investigator Dr. Frank Guenther gave a talk titled, Quantitatively Assessing the DIVA Model with Neuroimaging

IMG_7956Dr. Jason Tourville presented a poster titled,  Functional boundaries within the cortical speech motor control network.


IMG_7958Graduate student Saul Frankford presented a poster titled,  Impaired responses to time-shifting perturbations in adults who stutter during rhythmic and non-rhythmic speech.



Dante Smith presents his research at the Society for Neuroscience 2017 meeting in Washington D.C.

From November 11 - 15, 2017, graduate student Dante Smith had the opportunity to attend the Society for Neuroscience 2017 meeting and present his research.

At this meeting he presented a poster on his project investigating voice motor control, and the vocal responses by human subjects when they experienced changes to their somatosensory feedback. In these experiments, participants vocalized a steady-state vowel, while having the position of their larynx non-invasively displaced. These participants could not hear their own voice during this task, by method of loud masking noise present in headphones, and thus any recorded response was a result of correcting for changes to their somatosensory feedback. Characterizing how participants modulate their voice to correct for errors will improve our understanding of voice motor control and allow for the creation of more robust and efficient voice disorder therapies.

Dante's poster received interest and feedback from students, post-docs and professors working in speech neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and rehabilitation science. While making new contacts with international researchers and shared ideas on experimental design, analysis of speech samples, and speech motor control theory, Dante looks forward to his next scientific conference where he can further share projects and ideas about speech neuroscience.