Our Team

Lab Director

Jennifer Zuk Ph. D, CCC-SLP (she/her/hers)
Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Zuk is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Communication and Neurodevelopment Lab (est. 2020). She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. Dr. Zuk earned her PhD from Harvard University, and completed clinical training in speech-language pathology at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Jennifer received dual bachelor’s degrees in Music Education and Cognitive Science from Case Western Reserve University, and her Ed.M. in Mind, Brain, and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Zuk is committed to translating research to practice in an effort to promote effective identification, access, and inclusion for those who experience communication difficulties. Her interdisciplinary approach bridges experience in clinical speech-language pathology, developmental cognitive neuroscience, music cognition, and education.

 

Lab Members

Postdoctoral Fellow

Caroline Spencer (she/her/hers)

Caroline Spencer is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Zuk’s lab. She recently earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati, where she focused her research on the neural correlates of speech production in residual speech sound disorders. Her research interests include speech motor control, phonological skills, and how these skills overlap in communication disorders. Caroline volunteers her time with the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance and enjoys spending time with her service dog, Clark.

 

Doctoral Students

Kelsey Davison (she/her/hers)

Kelsey is a doctoral student in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program at Boston University. She studied geography and Spanish as an undergraduate student at Salem State University and served as an education volunteer with the Peace Corps in rural Paraguay. Kelsey recently earned her Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research interests focus on the neural and cognitive development of language and literacy skills in children with or at risk of language-based learning differences.

Alexandra Kapadia (she/her/hers)
akapadia@bu.edu

Alex is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University (BU). She studied Linguistics and Physics as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and more recently, earned her master’s in Speech-Language Pathology in the combined MS/PhD program at BU. Alex investigates the intersection of speech perception, speech production & reading in development, and the cognitive & neural mechanisms that support processing perceptual variability. Outside of the lab, she enjoys growing plants, absorbing art & experimenting with photography, and kayaking.

 

Research Coordinator

Helen Gray-Bauer (she/her/hers)

Helen is the coordinator for the Communication and Neurodevelopment Lab and joins the lab with experience in cognition research and clinical oncology trial coordination. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music and neuroscience from Skidmore College where she worked as a research assistant with the Music and Cognition Lab. Helen has also held intern positions in clinical ethics, music therapy, and cognitive neuroscience. Helen’s research interests include the neural overlap of music and language and the use of music-based techniques in clinical speech-language pathology to improve patient outcomes.

 

Research Assistant

Hannah Stetson (she/her/hers)
hstetson@bu.edu

Hannah graduated from BU in 2022 with her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology. During her time at BU she completed a Masters Thesis with the Zuk Lab and worked as a research assistant on additional lab projects. Currently, she works as a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist in the Boston area and remains involved in the lab as a research assistant using her clinical skills and experience to assist with current studies. Her research interests include child language and literacy, neurodevelopment, and their intersections with risk and protective factors.

Visiting Doctoral Students

Michelle Hernandez (she/her/hers)

Michelle is a visiting doctoral student from the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at the University of Houston. She studied psychology and women’s studies as an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University in 2013. Then Michelle completed her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology at SUNY Buffalo State in 2018. She is also a licensed and certified speech pathologist in Texas. Her research interests includes the language development of Spanish-English bilingual school-aged children with and without language disorders.

Juliana Ronderos (she/her/hers)

Juliana is a doctoral candidate in the Developmental, Cognitive, and Behavioral Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston and a visiting research student in the Communication and Neurodevelopmental Lab in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. Her research interests include the identification and assessment of bilingual children with developmental language disorders and typical and atypical language development in bilingual children with a particular interest in the environmental and neurocognitive factors impacting bilingual language and literacy development.

 

Master’s Students

Becca Gupta (she/her/hers)

Becca is a second year Master of Science student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Boston University. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Health, Science, Society, and Policy from Brandeis University in 2021. Her current research interests include working with children who have neurodevelopmental, speech, and language differences. After graduation, Becca hopes to pursue a career working with young children and families in an Early Intervention or school-based setting.

Laura Doherty (she/her/hers)
ldoher@bu.edu

Laura is a 2nd year student in the Masters of Speech Pathology Program. She is conducting her masters thesis project within the lab studying parent-child book reading interactions and prosody. Laura loves working with the pediatric population and aspires to be a pediatric speech-language pathologist. When she’s not working or in school, Laura loves to hike, ski, and paddle board in the White Mountains!

Leyla Omeragic Buljina (she/her/hers)

Leyla is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program at Boston University. She earned her undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science and Communication Studies at McGill University, after which she began her career in the nonprofit sector. Following four years coordinating teacher professional development programs at Harvard’s Project Zero, she decided to pursue a career in SLP. Leyla is interested in language development in bilingual learners, and she hopes to practice in a school setting while continuing to contribute to research.

Mercy Valladares (she/her/hers)
mvi@bu.edu

Mercy is a first year Master of Science graduate student at Boston University in the Sargent College Speech-Language Pathology program. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from Boston University. Her current research interests focus on parental prosody during shared book reading experiences. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing board games, traveling, and growing plants.

Sylvia Gisler (she/her/hers)

Sylvia is a first year Master of Science student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at Boston University. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 2020. Her current research interests include learning more about early developmental milestones, language acquisition, and neurodevelopment. After graduation, Sylvia hopes to continue research while working in a pediatric medical setting.

Undergraduate Students

Sebastian Romani (he/him/his)
romani23@bu.edu

Sebastian is a rising undergraduate senior majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. His current research interests include learning more about bilingual language development within children and whatever else he can get his hands on. After graduation he hopes to attend graduate school for his masters in Speech-Language Pathology.

 

Therese Ancheta (she/her/hers; they/them/theirs)

Therese is a fourth year undergraduate student in Sargent College majoring in Human Physiology. She is currently working on a project with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and a senior thesis within the lab studying the neural bases of speech prosody in children with autism and hopes to attend medical school after graduation to specialize in pediatric neurology. Outside of the lab, Therese enjoys going on walks, playing softball, and spending time with their cats.

 

Collaborators

Alyssa Boucher, Ph.D. CCC-SLP Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences | Boston University
Claudio Ferre, Ph.D. Development, Experience, & Motor Recovery Lab | Boston University
Nadine Gaab, Ph.D. Gaab Lab | Harvard Graduate School of Education
John Gabrieli, Ph.D. Gabrieli Lab | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Elizabeth Norton, Ph.D. LEARN Lab | Northwestern University
Tyler Perrachione, Ph.D. Communication Neuroscience Research Lab | Boston University
Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Ph.D. Research Laboratory of Electronics | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D. Center for Autism Research Excellence | Boston University

 

Alumni