Research Overview


At Lamar University, we are uniquely situated to generate innovative research that is responsive to current healthcare and educational needs and relevant to clinical SLPs and AUDs. By applying new models of rapid, responsive, relational research and translational research, the faculty and graduate students at Lamar University are leaders in moving the clinical science of the SPHS field forward. Application of such models meets the needs of large populations while addressing unique client experiences. Further, contemporary theories for treatment protocols in speech-language pathology and audiology are advanced.

A theme through the research endeavors at Lamar University is to engage all stakeholders in the research process and develop ongoing relationships between healthcare providers, educators, and clients. The SPHS Department has an established reputation in the region which enables access and engagement between healthcare providers, educators, and clients. Moreover, beyond our regional relationships we have extensive national and international relationships. Our faculty have active collaborations with researchers from over 10 countries across the globe.

The following labs exemplify our mission.

Digital Technologies Lab (Dr. Monica Bellon-Harn)

SPHS faculty are leading research teams in distributed, digital interventions. The SPHS Department was awarded funding ($300,000 across 3 years) through the Presidential Visionary Grant at Lamar University to develop a center of excellence for applications of digital technologies in the care and management of health and disability (e-health) in partnership with the Departments of Computer Science, Nursing, and Public Health at Lamar University

These digital interventions promote rapid research because digital interventions launched on eplatforms facilitate recruitment and enrollment processes. Further, multiple research questions can be addressed with one deployment of a digital intervention. Data collection and integration from disparate data sources will not be labor intensive. Treatment protocols can be easily reproducible. Currently, six digital interventions are at varying stages of development and evaluation.

  1. Tackling Tinnitus: Team Leader - Dr. Vinaya Manachaiah
  2. ASD College Connect: Team Leader - Dr. Monica L. Bellon-Harn
  3. Managing Hearing Loss: Team Leaders - Drs Vinaya Manchaiah and Ashley Dockens
  4. Dealing with Dementia: Team Leaders - Drs Elizabeth Long and Jamie Azios
  5. Conversation Connection: Team Leader - Dr. Jamie Azios
  6. iVoice: Team Leaders - Dr. Nandhu Radhakrishnan and Ms Abigail Dueppen

Aphasia Conversation Lab (Dr. Jamie Azios)

The Aphasia Conversation Lab is clinical research laboratory developed to advance interactional research in aphasia, train clinicians on functional treatment approaches, and provide support to persons with aphasia as they move through the continuum of recovery. Research in this lab is focused on understanding the co-construction of conversation between persons with aphasia and primary communication partners and developing innovative, evidence-based intervention techniques that improve conversational abilities. Our primary goal is to help persons with aphasia overcome communicative barriers associated with aphasia and learn to live a successful and satisfactory life after aphasia.

Self-Management Lab (Dr. Vinaya Manchaiah)

The primary goal of this lab is to develop strategies to promote self-management to improve accessibility, affordability and outcomes of hearing healthcare services. To achieve this, the research conducted on this lap specifically focuses on: (1) developing self-assessment and self-management approaches for hearing and balance disorders with low medical risk to improve accessibility and affordability; (2) developing and promoting self-management approaches to supplement routine clinical care to improve hearing health outcomes; and (3) understanding the individual (or personal) and environmental (or societal) factors influence on health outcomes and to use them as facilitators in achieving optimal outcome.

Southeast Texas Stuttering Clinic and Lab (Dr. Michael Azios)

The Southeast Texas Stuttering Clinic serves a dual purpose for research and clinical training. The clinic focuses on teaching persons who stutter of all ages and their families about the experience of stuttering, address negative attitudes and feelings about speaking, teach helpful ways to cope with stuttering, and how to use effective techniques to improve communicative ability. It is our hope that all persons who stutter learn to become active agents in their world and are able to overcome whatever speaking obstacles come their way.

Integrated Language Treatment Lab (Dr. Monica Bellon-Harn)

The primary goal of this lab is to develop treatment approaches and clinical strategies to target multiple domains of language simultaneously with children with language and phonological disorders. Hypotheses are guided by theories that conceptualize communicative behavior as a dynamic system with interaction and interdependencies across component domains. Research conducted in this lab specifically focuses on: (1) developing operational treatment protocols; (2) examining treatments via single-subject and group comparisons research designs; (3) understanding factors related to treatment intensity; and (4) examining treatments in the public-school milieu.

Vestibular Assessment and Rehabilitation Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

The primary goals of this lab include (1) to provide of clinical services in the assessment of balance and dizziness; (2) to conduct research in vestibular physiology in both health and pathology; and (3) to improve balance and treat vestibular disorders.

Hearing Healthcare Lab (Dr. Ashley L. Dockens)

The primary goal of this lab is to promote a patient-centered approach to hearing healthcare services. Multiple domains of hearing healthcare are targeted, with hypotheses guided by theories that support a functional, biopsychosocial view of rehabilitative hearing care. Research conducted in this lab specifically focus on: (1) Patient-centeredness in communication sciences and disorders; (2) Patient-Professional interactions; (3) Re-emergence of aural rehabilitation in the profession; (4) Accessibility and patient comprehension of education materials; and (5) Student training in rehabilitative hearing healthcare.

Voice Lab and Vocology Clinic (Dr. Nandhu Radhakrishnan)

This lab functions to satisfy goals in the areas of teaching, research, student training, and community service. The aims of this lab are to study human voice production, assess measures of voice produced by patients and implement treatment strategies, explore vocal parameters of professional voice users such as singers and actors, design programs towards prevention of voice disorders and enhancement of voice in clients to meet the vocal demands they face in their daily life. The state-of-the-art equipment in this lab enables students both within the department and across campus learn vocal arts and science and evaluation of disorders.

Cochlear Implant Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

This lab develops custom research interfaces to investigate the perception of different sounds by cochlear implant users. The overall goal is to determine whether auditory processes not currently incorporated in cochlear implants (such as adaptation) can provide a more natural hearing experience through the implant. Another important issue is how to facilitate the understanding of speech in background noises, which is presently a serious problem for cochlear implant users.

Human Auditory Evoked Potential Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

This lab is equipped with instrumentation necessary to record and analyze a wide range of auditory-evoked potentials from human subjects. The general goal of most of the experiments conducted in this laboratory is to evaluate the extent to which these evoked potential measures can be used to predict performance on a range of different listening tasks and diverse disorders and pathologies.