Principle Research Areas
Someya Laboratory (PI: Someya)
The Someya Lab studies the molecular mechanisms that underlie cochlear aging and detoxification in the Department of Aging & Geriatric Research, Institute on Aging at the University of Florida. Our work employs molecular genetics tools to identify the genes and pathways involved in aging, detoxification, mitochondrial dysfunction, and estrogen receptor signaling. These studies are complemented by the use of electrophysiology and histology to assess hearing function and cochlear pathology. We use mice as a model system because the mouse inner ear is anatomically similar to that of human and the homologies between the mouse and human genomes are well-established.
Speech Development Lab (PI: Nittrouer)
Research in this laboratory is concerned with the development of phonological abilities in children developing language typically, and with what goes wrong in this process for children at risk for language problems. The primary interest focuses on how typical children learn to extract phonemic structure from a complex acoustic signal that lacks invariant information about those phonemes. Another area of interest concerns how the development of phonemic knowledge is affected by conditions that put children at risk for language problems. This work is significant because learning to recognize phonemic structure in the acoustic speech signal is a necessary precursor to many other kinds of language skills, such as reading. Because children with even mild hearing loss or children growing up in poverty seem to have some language delay, it may be that a child’s ability to discover the phonemic structure of language is dependent on language experience. However, many children with reading disorders have had sufficient amounts of the right kinds of early language experience, but nonetheless have difficulties with language. Thus, other perceptual deficits are the likely source of problem for these children. A long-term goal for this laboratory is to investigate what goes wrong in the development of phonemic knowledge in children who encounter difficulty learning language.
Laboratory for the Study of Cognition, Action, & Perception of Speech (CAPS; PI: Masapollo)
The Laboratory for the study of Cognition, Action, and Perception of Speech (also known as CAPS) studies the nature and development of human speech production and perception, and the nature of the signal properties that underlie successful speaker to perceiver communication. Our overarching goal is to build an integrated understanding of the physiology, acoustics, and perception of speech in order to develop theoretical models of speech processing and mechanistically driven rehabilitation protocols for those negatively affected by developmental and acquired disabilities involving speech (e.g., stuttering, apraxia of speech, autism). Our current research areas focus on the learning of speech in infants, normal speech in adults, and the breakdowns of speech in communication disorders. By combining state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging and electromagnetic articulography with behavioral measures, CAPS is helping to elucidate the governing mechanisms involved in speech motor control and perceptual function.
Auditory Computation & Psychophysics Laboratory (PI: Oh)
Speech Perception Laboratory (PI: Sheffield)
This laboratory aims to improve assessment of hearing loss and hearing treatment effects on speech perception and improve speech perception outcomes of individuals with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Neurophysiological studies of hearing and speech processing are also conducted in a shared lab space that houses two systems (Intelligent Hearing Systems) for measuring auditory evoked potentials (e.g., MMN, P300).