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

 A woman with blond hair and a green scarf is smiling in a restaurant 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.
A man with glasses a gray shirt and a black tie is smiling indoors Gabriel Cler is a post-doctoral fellow with a Ph.D 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.
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).
Surbhi Hablani is a Research Fellow at Boston University. She received a double M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Ghent University, Belgium in 2016 and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (where she specialized in Neural Engineering) in 2017, and B.A. with double major in Mathematics and Physics from Skidmore College, NY, USA in 2014. Her research interests include biomedical signal processing and exploiting the information encoded for better understanding of physiological processes. In addition, she is interested in learning about movement rehabilitation through BCIs. When not working, she enjoys traveling, learning new coding languages, beer tasting and trying new foods!
A woman with brown wavy hair and red stripe shirt smiling in front of a white wall Julianne Leber is a Recruitment Specialist with Boston University’s College of Health & rehabilitation Sciences. She received a B.A. with honors in Psychology from Boston University in 2018. In the future, she hopes to receive her masters in public policy and pursue a career dealing with mental health policy. In her free time, Juli enjoys exploring the city with her friends, hosting board game nights, and drinking lots of coffee. 
A man with brown hair and a gray shirt smiles in front of a tan wall Jake Noordzij is a recent graduate and a current research assistant in the Stepp Lab. He received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. 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.
 A woman with brown hair and a dark shirt smiles in front of a body of water 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.
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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 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.
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.
MWP-Murray-21_edit 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.
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.
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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.
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. 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

Dante Cilento is an undergraduate student at Boston University studying Health Sciences in Sargent College and Business Administration and Finance at the Questrom School of Business. He wishes to gain clinical research experience and learn about about healthcare from a new facet. He wishes to apply the experience and knowledge towards future health system and policy development. In his free time he enjoys hiking, camping, and metalwork and woodwork.
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.
A woman with brown hair and a black top smiles in front of a tan background 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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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.
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Roxanne Segina is an undergraduate student studying Linguistics & Spanish at Boston University with a minor in Speech, Language, & Hearing Science. She is interested in the intersection of technology with speech, language, and voice disorders. She aims to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, and she values the growing research that helps improve and enrich clinical services in the field. Roxanne enjoys reading, volunteering, and traveling when she gets the chance.
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Nicole Shamash is a current undergraduate studying Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in Sargent College with a minor in Deaf Studies. She is excited to delve into fascinating research in the Stepp Lab, from which she hopes to further explore her interests and gain clinical experience. During her free time she enjoys scuba diving, traveling and baking.
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’ life. In free time, she enjoys reading, writing and traveling all over the world.
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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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Monica Coloma Monica Coloma is an undergraduate student studying Neuroscience on the Pre-Med track. She’s highly interested in Parkinson’s Disease, Neurogenesis and oncology. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and trying different cuisines. One of her aims each year is to participate in at least one service project abroad.
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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.
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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.

 

 

Lab Alumni

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