Texas Auditory Neuroscience Lab: Personnel

Director

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Spencer B. Smith, Ph.D., Au.D.

Dr. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and the director of the Texas Auditory Neuroscience (TexAN) Lab. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his Au.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Arizona. After finishing his doctoral training, Dr. Smith completed a postdoctoral fellowship in auditory neuroscience at Northwestern University. His research focuses on neural processes, from inner ear to cortex, involved in speech perception in noise. He employs objective (otoacoustic emission and electroencephalography) and behavioral techniques to study relationships between neurophysiological function and perception.

Graduate Students

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Fan-Yin Cheng, M.A.

Fan-Yin Cheng is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She received her master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is currently interested in the subcortical and cortical mechanisms underlying behavioral responses in linguistic contexts. She is investigating how the auditory system encodes successive sounds including speech by using electrophysiological methods.

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Can Xu, M.A.

Can Xu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Linguistics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Her research interests include utilizing behavioral and electrophysiological methods to evaluate speech perception in complex environments. She is currently investigating how tonal language experience affects tone representation in noise at a subcortical level using FFR and its behavioral correlates.

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Maansi Desai, M.A.

Maansi Desai is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She earned her B.M. at the University of California, Santa Barbara in Piano Performance and earned her M.A. at the University of Texas at Austin in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research interests include modeling neural responses to speech perception, speech-in-noise, and natural sounds. She is currently using invasive and non-invasive electrophysiological techniques (electrocorticography and electroencephalography) to investigate how we can use naturalistic stimuli to study the brain’s ability to process and separate overlapping speech and non-speech sounds. Maansi hopes to ultimately contribute to improving technological advancements in hearing assistive devices and cognitive hearing aids.

Graduate Student

Lauren Ralston, B.S.

Lauren completed her Bachelor’s Degree at The University of Texas at Austin in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is currently a fourth year student in the Doctorate of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Texas, and is a second year Ph.D. student in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She is currently completing her externship at the Austin Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic where she serves the needs of our Nation's Veterans by providing them with hearing healthcare. Her research interests include the cortical representation of sound, as well as how the brain reorganizes in disorders such as tinnitus, hearing loss, and traumatic brain injury.

Sherri Potter

Sheri Potter, B.S.

Sheri Potter is a second-year Doctor of Audiology student in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and completed post-baccalaureate training in clinical audiology at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Sheri’s research interests include objective assessment of binaural hearing in cochlear implant users.

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Heather Goodall, B.A.

Heather Goodall is a second-year Doctor of Audiology student in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Texas State University. As someone who was diagnosed with a hearing loss at age four, Heather’s research interest focuses on how hearing loss and hearing aid use impact binaural hearing.

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Sarah Medina, B.S.

Sarah Medina is a first-year Doctor of Audiology student in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She received her B.S. in Neuroscience and Sociology from Tulane University. Sarah’s research interest includes the assessment of binaural hearing and sound localization in cochlear implant users using electrophysiological measures.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Student

Miah Elise Ornelas

Miah Elise Ornelas is a senior undergraduate student pursuing her Bachelor’s of Science in Speech Language and Hearing Science at the University of Texas at Austin. She is our first undergraduate research assistant who has interests in the neural dynamics of spatial listening and binaural hearing and sound localization in cochlear implant users.

Juan Gomez

Collaborators

René H. Gifford, Ph.D.

Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, School of Medicine at Vanderbilt University

Beth A. Prieve, Ph.D., CCC-A

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University

Graduate Alumni

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Won So, Au.D., Ph.D.

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Lisa Gold, Au.D.

Graduate Student

Erica Eng, B.S.

Undergraduate Alumni

Undergraduate Student

Marc S Taylor