Meet our team

Director / Principle Investigator

Karen W Hegland

Karen W Hegland Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Associate Professor And Director Of The Master’s Of Arts Degree In Communication Sciences & Disorders Program
Department: HP-SLP LANG & HEARING SCI
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100174
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
PO Box 100174
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Accomplishments:
  • 1st Place Scientific Poster
    2023 · Dysphagia Research Society
  • UF Strategic Communications Academy
    2022-2023 · University of Florida – Center for Public Interest Communications
  • ASHA Leadership Development Program
    2022-2023 · American Speech-Language Hearing Association
Certifications:
  • CCC-SLP
    ASHA
Publications:
Grants:
  • Dec 2023 ACTIVE
    ADVANCING THALAMIC NEUROSTIMULATION FOR SUPPRESING ESSENTIAL VOICE TREMOR
    NATL INST OF HLTH NINDS · Co-Investigator
  • Sep 2023 ACTIVE
    Low utilization of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy among minoritized individuals with Parkinson disease
    AMER PARKINSON DISEASE ASSO · Principal Investigator
  • Aug 2023 ACTIVE
    Effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on laryngeal function and associated behaviors in Parkinson Disease
    NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCD · Principal Investigator
  • Jul 2023 ACTIVE
    Exploring Pathways to Equitable Outcomes in Post-Stroke Aphasia and Dysphagia
    NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCD · Co-Investigator
  • Aug 2022 ACTIVE
    Breathing Research and Therapeutics (BREATHE)
    NATL INST OF HLTH NHLBI · Co-Investigator
  • Aug 2017 – May 2023
    Mechanisms of airway protection dysfunction in Parkinson's disease
    NATL INST OF HLTH NICHD · Principal Investigator
  • Apr 2017 – Mar 2023
    Delineating Physiologic Mechanisms of Swallowing impairment and Decline in ALS
    NATL INST OF HLTH NINDS · Co-Investigator
  • Sep 2016 – Jul 2022
    Functional mapping of peripheral and central circuits for airway protection and breathing
    NATL INST OF HLTH OD · Co-Investigator
  • Jul 2016 – Jun 2020
    Novel Management of Airway Protection in Parkinson's disease: A clinical trial
    COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY · Principal Investigator
  • Aug 2015 – Jun 2021
    CTSI Institutional Support
    UF DIV OF SPONSORED RES MATCHING FUNDS · Project Manager
  • Apr 2015 – Mar 2018
    Airway protection deficits according to stimulus type in PD
    NATL INST OF HLTH NIDCD · Principal Investigator
  • Jul 2007 – Aug 2016
    Clinical and Translational Science Institute
    UF RESEARCH FOU · Project Manager
Education:
  • 2009-2011
    Post-Doctoral Fellow
    NIH T-32
  • 2003-2006
    Ph.D.
    University of Florida
  • 2001-2003
    M.A. Communication Sciences & Disorders
    University of Florida
  • 1997-2001
    B.A. Communication Sciences & Disorders
    University of Florida

Research Coordinator

Graduate Students

Yuhan Mou

Yuhan Mou

Clinical Research Coordinator III
Department: HP-SLP LANG & HEARING SCI
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100174
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Physical Address:
1225 CENTER DR
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Michela Mir

Michela Mir

Assistant Professor
Department: HP-SLP LANG & HEARING SCI
Mailing Address:
PO Box 100174
GAINESVILLE FL 32610
Accomplishments:
  • Best Poster Award
    2023 · Dysphagia Research Society
  • Best Presentation
    2021 · International Society for the Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology
Certifications:
  • CCC-SLP
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Research Summary:

The fundamental goals of my research program are to advance the understanding and treatment of complex upper airway deficits, and identify biomarkers that contribute to rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with speech, swallowing, and cough impairments. This requires a clinical translational approach that fosters collaborative work and facilitates more precise application of interventions that leverage neuroplasticity and target mechanisms of dysfunction.

Research Interests:
  • Rehabilitation of upper airway functions (speech, swallowing, cough)
Publications:
Education:
  • 2022-2024
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    University of Florida; BREATHE T32 & Brooks Rehabilitation
  • 2018-2022
    Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Science
    University of Florida
  • 2009-2011
    Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology
    Florida Atlantic University
  • 2002-2006
    Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders
    University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Alyssa A Terry

Alyssa A Terry

GRADUATE AST-G
Department: HP-SLP LANG & HEARING SCI
Mailing Address:
PO BOX 100174
DEPARTMENT OF SPEECH, LANGUAGE, AND HEARING SCIENCES
GAINESVILLE FL 32610-0174
Frances M Smith-Sherry

Frances M Smith-Sherry CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist-NE

I’m Frances May Smith-Sherry, a speech-language pathologist at UF Health. I obtained my master’s of arts in speech-language pathology from the University of Florida, where I developed a keen interest in dysphagia and motor speech disorders.

I specialize in communication and swallowing disorders. My passion for this field ignited while working with non-verbal children, where I witnessed the transformative power of alternative communication methods. As an SLP, my primary goal is to empower individuals to meet their communication and swallowing needs in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling to them.

Currently, I am pursuing my PhD, focusing on the impacts of deep brain stimulation on breathing and its relationship with speech. Outside of work and academia, I love exploring new places and experiencing different cultures.