Swallow Modulation Lab: About our Research



Swallowing is a critical life function, and disordered swallowing can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, pulmonary infection, reduced quality of life, and death. 

Research Tools
high-resolution manometry

High-resolution pharyngeal manometry

High-resolution pharyngeal manometry allows for objective measurement of pressures within the throat, allowing for sensitive measures of swallowing physiology



Videofluoroscopy is one of the most widely used tools for swallowing assessment. It is an x-ray video performed while a person eats and drinks contrast materials.



Electromyography measures electrical activity of muscles.

tongue pressure

Tongue Pressure Measurement

We use the Iowa Oral Pressure instrument to measure tongue strength and swallowing pressures.


Respiratory Measures

We use several tools to measure respiratory pressure generation and swallowing-respiratory coordination.

brain stimulation

Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation

We are exploring non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagal nerve stimulation to change how the brain interacts with the muscles of swallowing.

Current Projects

Objective Measurement of Swallowing Physiology in Multiple Sclerosis

The goal of this study is to measure swallowing function using high-resolution pharyngeal manometry and videofluoroscopy in persons with multiple sclerosis to uncover relationships between location of brain lesions and dysphagia. This study is funded by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Progression of Dysphagia in Parkinson's Disease

Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are common in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, it is unclear how swallowing function changes over time as the disease progresses. This project will track changes in swallowing function over 18 months in people with early- and mid-stage PD.

Wearable Sensors to Detect Swallowing

We are developing and testing non-invasive wearable sensors that will quantify swallowing behaviors outside of the lab/clinic.

Quantification of Swallowing Changes with Age

Like other motor skills, the ability to swallow changes with typical aging. We are investigating how swallowing changes as healthy individuals age using high-resolution pharyngeal manometry and videofluoroscopy.

Machine Learning to Classify Dysphagia

In collaboration with the Paydarfar and Chang Labs, we are using novel machine learning techniques to classify and describe how swallowing pressures change in the presence of dysphagia.