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Faculty Member Assumes International Leadership Position

Written by Adam Zewe

Maureen Stone, PhD, professor in the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, has joined the leadership of the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Stone was elected to serve a three-year term on the executive council, which she began in May.

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA), which has 7,000 members worldwide, is a research association dedicated to the science and technology of sound. Dr. Stone has been a fellow of the ASA since 1993. "I have always been impressed by the grass roots nature of the ASA organization. I am delighted to become an active part of that process on the executive council," remarks Dr. Stone.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Stone has dedicated her research to the tongue and vocal tract function during speech. She seeks to understand tongue control strategies used during normal and distressed speech. "Normal speech is a very complex system. People tend to think about what they are saying, not how they are saying it," she states. Her work is especially relevant for cancer patients who have had pieces of their tongues surgically removed.

As the founding director of the Vocal Tract Visualization Laboratory, Dr. Stone pioneered the use of ultrasound as a tool to measure tongue motion. Her lab developed software that is used throughout the world to analyze ultrasound images of the tongue. Recent advances in MRI and 3D imaging have revolutionized the study of the tongue, helping scientists better understand its full range of motion, Dr. Stone says.

The results of her research help cancer surgeons and speech pathologists design more successful treatment plans. She finds it rewarding to know that patients benefit from her work. For Dr. Stone, the thrill of discovery motivates her to keep studying. "I enjoy seeing something for the first time, looking at it and suddenly realizing how it must operate," she declares.

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