People

Lab Director

Ben Parrell

Position title: Associate Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Email: bparrell@wisc.edu

Lab Manager

Chris Naber

Email: cwnaber@wisc.edu

I studied Psychology, Linguistics, and Music Performance at Emory University. After a stint at Epic and UW-Madison’s CSD capstone program, I started working in SMAC Lab in Summer 2019. I programmed experiments related to timing in speech, assisted students on projects, and improved lab tools like Audapter. I’ve been the lab manager since Summer 2021.

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Hung-Shao Cheng

Email: hcheng223@wisc.edu

I am a postdoctoral researcher at Speech Motor Neuroscience Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I received my PhD in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at New York University. My research interests focus on understanding the (neural-)mechanisms that underlie speech motor learning. I use interdisciplinary approaches to examine this topic including linguistics, speech science, motor learning and non-invasive neuromodulation techniques (e.g., tDCS and TMS). When I am not working, I probably think about what my next meal is or my cats.

Tim Murphy

Email: tmurphy37@wisc.edu

I am a postdoctoral researcher working in the Speech Motor Neuroscience Group. My research aims to characterize the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying cognitive control in speech. I am particularly interested in the roles perceptual processing and speech sound representation play in speech motor control. The research I conducted while pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University investigated statistical learning in speech perception and its effect on speech production. I am now investigating sensorimotor adaptation and the role speech sounds representations play in this process.

Anneke Slis

Email: slis@wisc.edu

Currently I am a postdoctoral research associate in the SMAC lab in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at UW Madison. In my research, I aim to understand how language-specific requirements, (bio-) mechanical constraints, and sensory information contribute to articulatory variability and coordination in typical speakers and speakers with neurodegenerative disorders. I approach articulatory behavior from the perspective of general movement behavior, like dancing, walking, or playing an instrument, to examine and understand these interactions.

Yuyu Zeng

Email: yuyu.zeng@wisc.edu

I am a postdoctoral researcher of the Speech Motor Neuroscience Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I grew up in Chongqing, China’s 4th direct-controlled municipality besides Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Although I can perceive and produce the /in/ and /iŋ/ contrast in Mandarin Chinese, I pretend to have an accent by merging them when speaking Mandarin.

The central theme of my research is Words in Communication (WiC). My vision for research on WiC is that it will integrate knowledge from linguistics, acoustics, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, and network science, using behavioral experiments, brain recordings, and computational models. You can find more about me on my personal website.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Emily Esser

Email: esesser@wisc.edu

I am an undergraduate junior at UW- Madison majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Disability Rights and Services and Education and Educational Services. After my undergrad, I plan to obtain my masters degree in Speech Language Pathology.

Ella Graham

Email: eagraham5@wisc.edu

I am a sophomore at UW-Madison majoring in Neurobiology with a certificate in Health Policy. After undergraduate school, I plan to attend graduate or PA school to pursue a career in medicine.

Tessa Jester

Email: tjester@wisc.edu

I am a junior at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. I plan to become a Speech and Language Pathologist and work with preschool-elementary school aged kids after graduation.

Olivia Kider

Email: okider@wisc.edu

I am a junior at UW-Madison majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with certificates in Disability Rights & Services and Arts & Teaching. I plan to become a clinical Speech-Language Pathologist, and possibly specialize in vocal health and performance.

Brooke Mathews

Email: bomathews@wisc.edu

I am a junior undergraduate studying Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. I plan to attend grad school to study speech pathology.

Matthew Meuler

Email: mmeuler@wisc.edu

I completed my bachelor’s degree at UW-Madison in May 2023. In Fall 2022, my studies in neuroscience and human behavior led me to the SMAC Lab, where I reinforced my interests in the neural pathways behind speech production. My current work is focused on investigating the cerebellum’s role in controlling speech. As an aspiring medical student, I especially appreciate the bridge between our research and clinical application.

Rachael Schneck

Email: rschneck2@wisc.edu

I am a second-year student pursuing a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I am also planning on graduating from the College of Letters and Science honors program. When I graduate, I am either going to apply for graduate school to become a speech and language pathologist, or PA school.

Josh Silverman

Email: jnsilverman4@wisc.edu

I am a senior at UW-Madison majoring in biochemistry and plan to pursue a career in medicine. I am specifically interested in neural circuits and how they interact to produce speech and motor functions.

Autumn Smith

Email: aesmith32@wisc.edu

I am a senior at UW-Madison studying Neurobiology, Psychology, and Communication Sciences and Disorders. After my undergrad, I plan to complete my masters in Speech Language Pathology and later pursue a career as a clinical Speech Language Pathologist.

Elle Stussy

Email: estussy@wisc.edu

I am a sophomore majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders with a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. After my undergrad, I plan to work towards my masters degree in speechlanguage pathology. I am particularly interested in working with children. 

Gracie Turner

Email: glturner@wisc.edu

I am a senior majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders with a certificate in Disability Rights and Services. I plan to pursue a career in research and speech pathology. I am particularly interested in neurodegenerative disorders and their impacts on speech production.

Collaborators: