Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) focuses on the emergence, use, loss and re-acquisition of human communication and swallowing skills across the lifespan, as well linguistic and cultural differences in how individuals communicate. Much of this research is carried out in our new state-of-the-art CSD Research Suite. 

Emerson undergraduate and graduate students are strongly encouraged to become involved in faculty research. Opportunities may include:

  • Volunteer Research Assistantships
  • Paid Research Assistantships (through Emerson Student Employment
  • Clinical research within the Robbins Speech Language and Hearing Center (RSLHC)
  • Presentations at professional conferences 
  • Master's Theses

If you are a student interested in getting involved in research in CSD, please contact the relevant faculty member(s) for more information. 

If you are a community member interested in participating in CSD research at Emerson, you can sign up for future studies at our Registry for Research. A researcher will be in touch when you are eligible for a study. 

Faculty Research

Ruth Grossman’s explored how children with and without ASD produce and understand facial expressions and tone of voice in the FACElab

Joanne Lasker’s research focuses on assessment and intervention for adults living with chronic aphasia who are exploring strategies to improve participation in their daily lives. She collaborated with a colleague to create an on-line assessment tool designed to help clinicians determine which types of AAC intervention may be most appropriate for people with aphasia. She has received internal funding (Emerson Faculty Advancement Fund Grant) to systematically investigate a treatment technique combining speech generating devices and speech practice for adults with apraxia of speech.

Rhiannon Luyster (director of the Language in Infants + Toddlers Lab at Emerson, or LI+TLE Lab) focuses on language development in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health. 

Robin Danzak uses qualitative and mixed methods to explore multilingual language, literacy, and the relationships among writing, culture, and identity of bilingual adolescents and adults. Robin engages participants in authentic text composition to promote language and literacy skills, self-expression, and social participation. Robin’s research has received internal funding, as well as a Fulbright Scholar Award that allowed her to spend a semester in Italy. Recently, Robin has been exploring the experience of adoption through collaborative autoethnography and photovoice, an arts-based, qualitative methodology.

Nydia Bou research interest includes the development of tools and methods for the analysis and treatment of Spanish phonological deviations. Her past research focused on establishing the development of phonological patterns and the elimination of deviations for Puerto Rican Spanish speaking children. She also investigated the development of syllable structures of Puerto Rican children. Nydia’s interest includes the use of qualitative methods to describe communication phenomena and the impact of communication disorders in the quality of life and on family systems. She has also developed undergraduate research programs to support undergraduate students interested in research and graduate studies.

Lindsay Griffin investigates healthy and disordered swallowing in adults. She is specifically interested in clinically-relevant treatment using methods such as electrical stimulation, exercise science, and mental imagery.

Student Involvement

Recent topics for projects involving students include:

  • Baby Signs: The Parental Experience

  • Voice Perceptions of Speakers with Parkinson’s Disease

  • Construct Validity of the AAC-Aphasia Categorical Framework

  • Motor Learning Guided (MLG) Treatment for Apraxia of Speech: Lessons About Candidacy From Three Case Studies

  • Perceptions of the Classroom-Based Service Model of Speech-Language Therapy in the Educational Setting

  • Examining Divided Attention Under Delayed Auditory Feedback Using Random Number Generation

  • Constraint Induced Language Therapy: A Case Study

  • Human Figure Drawings of Preschool-Aged Children with Autism

  • Gaze Patterns to Virtual vs. Natural Dynamic Faces

  • Language in Two Modes: An exploratory study of the Bimodal Assessment of Bilingual Language (BABL)

  • Bilingual Home Intervention in a Preschooler

  • Expertise of School-based SLPs who Work with Students who Speak African American English