Skip to Content

Arnold School of Public Health


Current Lab Members 

Dirk den Ouden

Dirk B. den Ouden, Ph.D., Director, Neurolinguistics Laboratory

From a background in formal phonology and syntax, Dirk den Ouden investigates how the brain supports language functions in healthy and aphasic speakers. Along the way, he has used various experimental methods, such as fMRI, EEG, HD-tDCS and reaction time tasks. One goal of his research is to improve treatment outcomes through a neurophysiological approach to stroke-induced deficits (cortical stimulation), in combination with behavioral language training. He maintains an interest in linguistic theory, as well as in neural correlates of lexical representation/access and sentence production. In addition to neurolinguistics, Dirk is also very enthusiastic about the use of applied theater by and for speakers with aphasia.

Lauren Hammond

 Lauren Hammond, MS, CCC-SLP, Doctoral student, COMD

Lauren is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and doctoral student. She graduated from California State University-Fullerton with a B.S. in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and from California Baptist University with an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology.  Most recently, Lauren worked as an SLP in a variety of medical settings including skilled nursing, outpatient rehabilitation, and sub-acute rehabilitation, specializing in adult cognitive and linguistic evaluation and treatment. Lauren’s research interests include formal measurement of functional communication and how psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic features of speech and language use impact quality of life and life participation in persons with aphasia.

Sarah Hammons

Sarah Hammons, Undergraduate student, Honor's College 

Sarah Hammons is an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina pursuing a B.S. in psychology and neuroscience. She joined the CSTAR lab in February as a volunteer in the Aging Brain Cohort. Currently, her work in the lab involves vowel articulation data extraction, tying into her project designed to analyze cognitive function with vowel stability in speech production. In the future, Sarah hopes to attend graduate school to continue her education in psychology and pursue research as a career goal.

Neekan Nasiri

Neekan Nasiri, Undergraduate student, Honor’s College

Neekan Nasiri is an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina majoring in Neuroscience on a premed track. He is from Daytona Beach and is currently working with the ABC vowel study in the Aphasia Lab; using programs such as Praat to separate formants in vowel production. After graduation in May of 2027, he plans to continue pursuing a career in neuroscience and attend medical school. Neekan enjoys swimming and hanging out with his friends in his free time.

Jade Hannan

Jade Hannan, Undergraduate student, Honor’s College

Jade is undergraduate student in the Honors College majoring in Neuroscience and French, with plans to graduate in May 2024. She has enjoyed working with the Aphasia Lab since 2020, and is excited to be working on her honors thesis with the Neurolinguistics Lab. Her project looks at the impact of participation of USC’s very own aphasia drama club (“Play on Words”) on communication confidence for people with aphasia. She is interested in neuroplasticity, neurorehabilitation, and the role of the humanities in promoting whole-person health. In her free time, Jade enjoys traveling, cycling, and baking.


Former Lab Members 

Doctoral Students

·        Danielle Fahey, Linguistics

·        Elena Galkina, Linguistics

·        Emily Garnett, COMD 

·        Svetlana Malyutina, COMD 

·        Ece Bayram, Neurosciences 

Master’s Students

·        Katherine Vlach, COMD

·        Lillian Jarrold, COMD

·        Lesley Smith, Linguistics

·        Lena Hoskins, Linguistics

·        Katherine Pensa, COMD

·        Casey Hamilton, COMD

·        Jessica Williams, COMD

·        Erla Hafsteinsdóttir, COMD

Undergraduate Students

·        Emily Andriello, Honor’s College

·        Jaden Brown, Public Health

·        Krystine Item, Honor’s College

·        Nathanael Petit, Honor’s College

·        Emma Fast, Psychology

·        Michael Zhu, Honor’s College

·        Katherine Kalinowski, Biological Sciences

·        Angelica Hutchinson, Honor’s College

·        Gabriella Del Valle, Public Health

·        Hanna Altpeter, Honor’s College

·        Molly Lonneman, Exercise Science, Spanish

·        Brett Bankson, French, Psychology, Neuroscience (University of Portland)

·        Keiko Bridwell, Honor’s College

·        Zach Craig, Psychology

·        Megan Elledge, Psychology

·        Aalia Soherwardy, Public Health

·        Kelly Marlowe, Exercise Science

·        Adina Raizen, Linguistics (University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana)

·        Francis Scott, Public Health

·        Tori Sharpe, Honor’s College 

·        Sophie Wohltjen, Music, Cognitive Science (University of Virginia)

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.