Current Members

Lab Director

Kris Tjaden, PhD, CCC-SLP                                     Dr. Kris Tjaden is a Professor in the department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences and the Director of the Motor Speech Disorders (MSD) Laboratory at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. In addition, she is currently working as Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs in the University at Buffalo, College of Arts and Sciences. Kris completed her M.A. at the University of Minnesota and her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the area of Communicative Disorders & Sciences. The MSD lab conducts research investigating the acoustic bases of reduced intelligibility and naturalness in dysarthria secondary to neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
Kaila L. Stipancic, PhD, CCC-SLP – Postdoctoral Research Associate Kaila is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. She received her BA in Speech and Language Sciences at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, her MA in Communicative Disorders and Sciences at University at Buffalo, and her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. She completed her clinical fellowship in speech-language pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an acute-care setting. Broadly, she is interested in how the brain controls the muscles of speech and swallowing and the perceptual, acoustic, kinematic, and neurophysiologic consequences of neurodegenerative disease on these functions. She has particular interest in the measurement of relevant clinical outcomes, such as speech intelligibility, and in improving therapeutic options to improve the quality of life of patients with oromotor impairments.
Frits van Brenk, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Frits works as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab. He received his BA and Research MA in Linguistics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and his PhD in Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. His research focuses on the assessment of speech in normal and disordered speakers, in particular speech characteristics of persons with dysarthria and apraxia of speech. Using different perceptual, acoustic, and kinematic experimental methodologies, he hopes to contribute to the body of knowledge on motor speech disorders with a view to improve diagnostic and outcome measures that may aid their assessment and treatment.   Personal Website  ResearchGate Profile


Graduate Students

Nicole Feeley, B.S.                                    Nicole completed a B.S. in Psychology at Villanova University in December 2018. She then worked as a Research Assistant in the Word Recognition and Auditory Perception (WRAP) Lab at Villanova studying the differences in vowel perception and production across different dialects. She is now a first year make-up graduate student pursuing her Masters of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at the University at Buffalo. Nicole hopes to continue to learn more about speech, language and communication disorders during her time at UB.


Grace Galvin, B.S.                                Grace completed her B.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences with a Counseling minor from the University at Buffalo in May 2020. Upon graduation she received the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award. Grace continues to study at UB, pursing her Masters of Arts in Speech Language Pathology. She is excited to gain clinical experience
Nathan Cline, B.A.                                      Nathan completed his B.A. in Linguistics from the University at Buffalo in May 2021, and is staying at UB to pursue his M.A. in Communicative Disorders and Sciences. He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and studied at Boston University for a year before transferring to UB. He is eager to get research experience and hopes to work in a clinical setting after graduation.

Lab Coordinator

Amanda R. Allen, MA, CCC-SLP          Amanda is the UB Motor Speech Disorders Lab Coordinator. She also practices as a school-based speech-language pathologist at Spruce Elementary School for the North Tonawanda City School District.  During summer sessions, Amanda works as a clinical supervisor in the UB Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic. Amanda earned a Master of Arts degree in Communicative Disorders & Sciences in 2016 and a Master of Education degree in English in 2009 from the University at Buffalo.

 Undergraduate Students

Olivia Rizzo- Undergraduate research assistant