ertoma Research Laboratory, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Faculty & Staff STEM Chat/Field Trip
with lab director, Dr. Laura Pitts
Swallowing can be something we take for granted. We often do it without thought. But for someone suffering from dysphagia, which is the medical term for a difficulty with swallowing, a small misstep in this seemingly simple task may be at least uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening. Training and research to reduce and cure dysphagia is happening at the University of Northern Iowa, at the Sertoma Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Laura Pitts, an associate professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders. The Sertoma Research Lab is a space where our students and faculty work side by side on innovative research. The lab features several different areas of focus, such as augmentative and alternative communication, swallowing disorders, and voice disorders.
The Lab also offers specific clinical training using patient simulators: a computerized preterm infant simulator of a baby born prematurely at 27-week gestation and weighing about 2 lbs, known as "Paul" and adult mannequins demonstrating a range of both healthy anatomy as well as laryngeal disorders such as a growth on or swelling of the vocal folds. These simulators are thanks to a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust Fund. Learn more in the Inside UNI Article.