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Bharath Chandrasekaran

Bharath Chandrasekaran is the director of the SoundBrain Lab. He completed his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Purdue University and is a Professor and Vice Chair for Research in Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. He studies the neural representation of speech signals using multimodal neuroimaging methods.
Contact: b.chandra@pitt.edu Twitter: @bchandra_pitt

Nike Gnanateja Gurindapalli

Nike Gnanateja Gurindapalli (Ph.D., All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, University of Mysore) is a post-doctoral scholar in the SoundBrain Lab. He is interested in understanding the cortical and sub-cortical encoding of speech sounds in individuals with typical and compromised auditory/cognitive/language functions. He uses electrophysiological approaches, such as extracranial and intracranial electroencephalography in humans and animal models to answer his research questions. He plans to translate his research into developing and validating models for objective evaluation of speech perception and in evaluating benefits from hearing rehabilitation strategies in individuals with listening difficulties.
Contact: nikegnanateja@pitt.edu Twitter: @nikegnanateja

Jacie McHaney

Jacie McHaney is a third-year PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab. She is interested in the neural mechanisms of speech processing and the influence of aging, cognition and sensory impairments on speech processing. She investigates these processes through a combination of behavioral, electrophysiological, neurophysiological and computational techniques. Jacie is currently working on several projects investigating speech processing using pupillometry.
Contact: j.mchaney@pitt.edu Twitter: @JacieMcHaney

Casey Roark

Casey Roark (PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, Carnegie Mellon University) is a postdoctoral scholar in the SoundBrain Lab. She is interested in understanding the computational and neural mechanisms involved in perceptual category learning. She investigates these mechanisms through behavioral analysis, computational models and pupillometry. She is currently working on projects examining individual differences in category learning outcomes and the strategies people use during learning.
Contact: croark@pitt.edu Twitter: @CaseyRoark

Kevin Sitek

Kevin Sitek is a research scientist in the SoundBrain Lab. He received his PhD in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology from Harvard University, where he studied the anatomy and connectivity of the human subcortical auditory system at the MIT McGovern Institute for Brain Research. In the SoundBrain Lab, Kevin is investigating subcortical representations of speech sounds and connectivity within the auditory system using MRI.
Contact: kevin.sitek@pitt.edu Twitter: @krsitek

 Maggie Zink

Maggie is excited to expound upon her work with listening effort and related fatigue, hearing loss and cognitive aging under the guidance of Drs. Chandrasekaran and Parthasarathy. On a larger scale, she hopes to do her part to help better understand the relationship between perceptual and cognitive decline. Maggie previously worked with Drs. Jonathan Peelle, Kristin Van Engen and Mitchell Sommers at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine on a project looking at the neurobiology of effortful listening. She graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 with degrees in Neuroscience and Music: Operatic Vocal Performance. Her passions include pub trivia, Thai takeout, concert photography and idolizing Food Network stars (despite having no cooking abilities).
Contact: zink.me@pitt.edu Twitter: @zink_maggie

 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Alaina Goldberg is a junior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with an interest in speech-language pathology, specifically working with children in early intervention. Outside of the lab, she is involved in writing for The Pitt News, SHRS Champions and NSSHLA.

 

 

Angelina DiNardo is a senior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with a minor in secondary education. She is interested in Speech-Language Pathology, particularly the neurocognitive aspects and disorders that affect speech production and perception. When not working part time or in the lab, Angie likes to spend time with her friends and try new restaurants.

 

 

Olivia Flemm is a senior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with an economics minor. She is interested in age-related hearing loss within the field of audiology. Outside of the lab, she likes to take her dog, George, on long walks and explore new restaurants in Pittsburgh.

 

 

Rebecca Kime is a senior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with a linguistics minor. She is interested in the field of audiology, specifically audiologic perception in relation to music. Outside of the lab, she is involved in the Pitt Band and enjoys working out and spending time with friends.

 

 

Katie Bergstrom is a first-year student intending to major in Communication Science and Disorders with an interest in speech-language pathology. When not in lab, Katie enjoys playing piano, reading, and walking around the city of Pittsburgh.

 

 

Madison Andreano is a senior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with a concentration in psychology. She is interested in speech-language pathology, specifically the neurological aspects of speech perception, processing, and production. When not in the lab, Madison enjoys hiking, listening to music, and getting coffee with friends.

 

 

Shaina Wasileski is a first-year student intending to major in Communication Science and Disorders. She is interested in neurological communication injuries and disorders in children. Outside of the lab, she enjoys making pottery and playing with dogs. 

 

 

Sarah Anthony is a junior majoring in Communication Science and Disorders with a concentration in psychology. She has an interest in studying audiology, specifically aural rehabilitation of the geriatric population. Outside of the lab, she enjoys cooking and train watching. 

 

High School Interns

Karen Linares Mendoza is a high school intern at the SoundBrain Lab. She is passionate about the cognitive neuroscience of speech development and language learning, specifically, in the advancement of auditory learning methods for learning impairments and auditory processing deficits. In the lab, she is currently studying the extent of neural encoding of speech cues in older individuals through electrophysiological processes. She hopes to further the understanding between the neural tracking of speech sounds and its correlation with speech comprehension in different listening environments.

Nisha Vishag is a high school intern at the SoundBrain Lab. She is currently a third-year high school student and lives in Austin, Texas. She completed a research program at the SoundBrain Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Casey Roark and continues to do research with the SoundBrain Lab. She is interested in many aspects of neuroscience, especially concepts related to audiovisual learning, cognition and memory and the mirror neuron system. At the SoundBrain Lab, she has been working on writing a research paper on the connection between musical skill and performance in audiovisual tasks


Alumni

Gangyi Feng: Gangyi Feng was a post-doctoral fellow in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently a research assistant professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Heather Dial: Heather Dial was a post-doctoral fellow working with the SoundBrain Lab and is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston.

Boji Lam: Boji Lam was a PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology at the University of North Texas.

Fernando Llanos: Fernando Llanos was a post-doctoral fellow in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently an Assistant Professor at the Univesity of Texas at Austin.

Rachel Reetzke: Rachel Reetzke was a PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently an Assistant Professor at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

Kirsten Smayda: Kirsten Smayda was a PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab in the Cognitive Neuroscience area of Psychology. She is currently a data scientist at Pear Therapeutics, Inc.

Rachel Tessmer: Rachel Tessmer was a graduate student in the SoundBrain Lab and is a PhD student at UT Austin.

Kristin Van Engen: Kristin Van Engen was a post-doctoral fellow in the SoundBrain Lab and is now faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.

Zilong Xie: Zilong Xie was a PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Han-Gyol Yi: Han-Gyol Yi was a PhD student in the SoundBrain Lab and is now a researcher at IDA. Visit www.hangyolyi.com.

Benjamin Zinszer: Benjamin Zinszer was a research associate in the SoundBrain Lab and is currently a visiting Assistant Professor at Swathmore College.