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Helou Lab 

Program Description

The BrainCURE program offers undergraduate students an intensive research experience in the brain-basis of communication. The program aims to complement the undergraduate learning experience in Communication Science and Disorders and related fields (Psychology, Linguistics, and Neurosciences) with direct, hands-on training.

BrainCURE students receive a $2,500 stipend to conduct 10 weeks of summer research under the supervision of a University of Pittsburgh Department of Communication Science and Disorders or Neurobiology faculty member (approximately June 1 – August 10). The program includes reading research articles, seminars and lab visits. The lab visits are meant to expose students to the range of human and animal research methodologies (bench to bedside) – from cutting edge basic neuroscience research to clinical neuroscience research. In addition to lab visits, students work on a research project and present their work at the end of the program.

Program Requirements

  • Participants will engage in projects for a minimum of 40 hours per week for two months
  • Participants will attend weekly lab visits
  • Participants are expected to dedicate themselves full time to the program and should not be enrolled in any classes or working (either part-time or full-time) during their time in the program


  • US Citizens or Permanent Residents
  • Undergraduate students who are entering their junior or senior year
  • Students who are interested in the brain basis of communication disorders

Braincure Students and Faculty 2019

Program Sample Activities

  • Kick-off meeting
  • Press Release Assignment
  • Lunch and Learns
  • Lab Visits
  • Poster session showcasing student research projects

2019 Faculty Mentors

  • Dr. Bharath Chandrasekaran – Sound Brain Lab
  • Dr. Will Evan – Language Rehabilitation and Cognition Lab
  • Dr. Leah Helou – Laboratory for Vocal System Anatomy and Physiology
  • Dr. Srivatsun Sadagopan – Area 41 Lab
  • Dr. Will Hula – VA of Pittsburgh Healthcare Center
  • Dr. Chris Brown – Psychoacoustics Lab

Hulu Lab at VA

Student Comments

"BrainCURE was a knowledgeable, rewarding, and eye-opening experience that enlightened me about the clinical connections between neurology and communication science this summer through exploring the many upcoming research projects here at the University of Pittsburgh." -Brandon Nguy

“This program has allowed me to learn about various research methodology for analyzing the connection between neuroscience and communication. Furthermore, I now feel that I have a broader knowledge on research opportunities that I can pursue in the future.” -Megan McKenzie

2019 Funding Sources

Thank you to the Office of the Provost for funding this program.


Contact BrainCURE Program Coordinator:
Dr. Katie Belardi