2021 Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium


The Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium (BSMCS) is a regional conference aimed at providing an accessible and inclusive environment for those near the Boston area to share research involving speech motor control. This year, BSMCS will go fully virtual due to the current concerns of the global pandemic. We miss meeting all of you in person in Boston, but we are excited to welcome a larger audience of people from all around the world this year to join us for the one-day event! We hope that BSMCS will be a great opportunity to bring together students, researchers, and clinicians from the numerous subfields within speech motor control to ultimately highlight new research within these areas, generate new research ideas, and foster faster clinical translation of important findings. This is a one-day conference, with a pre-conference tutorial specifically aimed at trainees (students and post-docs). The conference is sponsored by  Boston University’s Sargent College, Delsys, and the NIDCD via an R13 Conference Grant. We plan to provide 0.5 ASHA CEUs (pending approval).

Key Dates

January 01, 2021 : Abstract submission opens
March 01, 2021 : Abstract submission deadline
April 01, 2021 : Registration opens
April 01, 2021 : Authors notified
April 08, 2021 : Early registration deadline
May 08, 2021 : Late registration deadline
June 17, 2021 : Pre-conference tutorial for trainees
June 18, 2021 : Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium

Invited Speakers


Keynote Speaker: Steven Barlow, PhD
Professor of the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Affiliate Professor of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Associate Director of the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior
Dr. Steven Barlow is the Corwin Moore Professor of Communication Disorders, and Biological Systems Engineering, and also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior at the University of Nebraska. He has a broad background in biology, speech physiology, neuroscience, biomechanics, and bioengineering as it relates to research on sensorimotor neurophysiology and plasticity of orofacial systems in humans across the lifespan in health and disease. Dr. Barlow’s work has found multiple applications in translational neurotherapeutics, functional brain imaging, and FDA-approved therapy to induce ororhythmic patterning and promotes oral feeding in premature infants in the NICU. He is the PI for an NIH randomized controlled trial at four NICUs (Boston, Lincoln, San Jose, Los Angeles) designed to explore the effects of pulsed somatosensory stimulation on gene expression of oral feeding markers in extremely preterm infants (<29 wks GA). Dynamic, non-invasive somatosensory stimulus arrays developed in the Barlow laboratory have facilitated collaborative research to better understand physiological response properties and connectivity in the somatosensory system using fMRI, fNIRS, fTCD, and MEG with the goal of developing new interventions in brain injury and cerebrovascular stroke.
Kelly Richardson, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Speech Motor Systems Laboratory conducts research on speech motor control in individuals with neurological impairment. One line of research aims to compare physiologic adjustments and perceptions of physical and mental effort associated with two behavioral voice treatments for hypophonia in persons with Parkinson’s disease. This line of research is presently funded by NIH-NIDCD R21DC016718 (PI: Richardson, Co-I: Huber). Additional studies are comparing acoustic analysis software programs in their assessment of dysphonia and investigating changes in auditory-perception associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Kristen Allison, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northeastern University
Dr. Allison is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and director of the Speech Motor Impairment and Learning (SMILe) Lab in the Bouve College of Health Professions at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on improving assessment and treatment of pediatric motor speech disorders, particularly in children with dysarthria.
Mark Richardson, MD,PhD
Director of Functional Neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital

Visiting Associate Professor of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Before bringing the Brain Modulation Lab to MGH, Dr. Richardson was Director of Epilepsy and Movement Disorders Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). His clinical expertise includes awake brain mapping, robotic-assisted surgery for both stereo-EEG and DBS implantation, and Responsive Neurostimulation for epilepsy. At UPMC, he established one of the world’s leading intraoperative-MRI functional neurosurgery programs, encompassing DBS for movement disorders, gene therapy clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease, and laser thermal ablation for epilepsy, work which now continues at MGH. Unique contributions of the Brain Modulation Lab include the first studies describing simultaneous cortical and subcortical recordings during speech, and the first study describing biomarkers of therapeutic responsive neurostimulation for epilepsy.
Lorelei Phillip Johnson, MS, CCC-SLP
Postdoctoral Scholar of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina
Lorelei Johnson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Aphasia Laboratory and the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery (C-STAR) at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include aphasia treatment and recovery, neuroimaging, and post-stroke quality of life. Recently, her research has focused on investigating behavior and neurophysiology associated with speech sensorimotor integration in post-stroke aphasia as well as examining neurophysiology underlying impaired language processing.
Jennifer Vojtech, MS, PhD
Delsys, Inc. and Altec, Inc.
Prior to joining the Delsys team, Jenny completed her doctorate in biomedical engineering in the STEPP Lab for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering with Cara Stepp. Her doctoral work focused on developing computational methods to improve the clinical assessment of voice disorders and applying quantitative techniques to enhance augmentative and alternative communication device access. While at Altec/Delsys, Inc., Jenny collaborates with a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers to design technology for evaluating and augmenting communication in those with speech and voice disorders.


Registration opening day: 01 April 2021
Early registration deadline: 08 April 2021
Late registration deadline: 08 May 2021

BSMCS Inclusion Policy

The Boston Speech Motor Control Symposium strives to be an inclusive event for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability. If at any time you have any immediate or urgent concerns about safety, please contact Boston University Police at 617-353-2121 or Boston University Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) at 617-353-3575. If you have any comments or concerns throughout the symposium, please contact us at bsmcs@bu.edu.

Stay Tuned for Virtual Symposium Information!


Organization and Contact

Program & Organizing Committee:

  • Cara Stepp
  • Jason Bohland
  • Frank Guenther
  • Christopher Moore
  • Melanie Matthies
  • Defne Abur
  • Hasini Weerathunge
  • Hilary Miller
  • Kara Smith

Questions? Feel free to contact us at bsmcs@bu.edu with any inquiries.