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Research on Swallowing Disorders

Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) can be a devastating consequence after stroke and other neurological disorders, trauma, or surgery. The aim of swallowing research within the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is to reduce the burden of swallowing impairment. This is done by learning more about normal and disordered swallowing in patients in clinical settings, normal volunteers of all ages and in animals. We use this knowledge to inform our diagnosis and treatment protocols in dysphagic patients. 

Our team and collaborators

The group of experts includes:

Jeffrey Palmer, M.D.
Ianessa Humbert, Ph.D.
Marlis Gonzalez-Fernandez, M.D., Ph.D.
Martin Brodsky, Ph.D.

Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory

Lab Chief: Ianessa Humbert, Ph.D.

The goal of The Swallowing Neurophysiology Laboratory is to study how swallowing is controlled by the nervous system. We conduct studies on patients with neurological disorders or disease, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. We also study healthy adults across the age span. Our studies often involve obtaining video x-ray of swallowing as well as brain stimulation and brain imaging. We hope to understand how the central and peripheral nervous systems control swallowing so that we can quickly and efficiently diagnose and treat dysphagia in patients.

Contact us

Ianessa A. Humbert, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
office (410) 502-4458
lab (410) 614-1123 or (410) 502-4064
fax (410) 502-4900

Swallowing and Oral Function Laboratory

Lab Chief: Jeffrey B. Palmer, M.D.

Swallowing is a fundamental biological activity, but its mechanisms are poorly understood. Dr. Palmer’s laboratory is focused on understanding the kinesiology and biomechanics of swallowing, with special attention to the integration of mastication and swallowing and to the motor control of the tongue and jaw. Studies use videofluoroscopy (x-ray video), dynamic CT scanning, and measurements of muscle activity (EMG) and respiration to analyze control of eating, swallowing, and breathing in both healthy volunteers and individuals with stroke and neurological disease. Dr. Palmer is a world leader in research on swallowing and its disorders. He has trained more than 25 postdoctoral research fellows, of whom many serve as faculty members in universities around the world.

Contact us

Administrative Assistant: Peggy Foltyn
Phone: 410-502-2446 (voice)
410-502-2420 (fax)

Make a donation

If you wish to make a contribution to research on swallowing disorders, please contact:

Jeffrey B. Palmer, MD
Phone: 410-502-2446


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