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Release: April 13, 2000

UI professor of speech pathology receives major grant for larynx study

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa researcher has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to study neuromuscular control of the larynx, or voice box. The grant will be effective Sept. 1. The NIDCD is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ingo Titze, Ph.D., UI professor of speech pathology and audiology, will be the principal investigator for the study, which involves initially measuring the speed and strength of larynx muscle contractions and how well the muscles endure as they work.

"From that data, we will build a computer simulator of how these larynx muscles work together to produce speech sounds," said Titze, who is also director of the National Center for Voice and Speech, housed at the UI.

The grant will help provide funding for UI doctoral and master's degree students as well as for laboratory and computer specialists to conduct research and computer simulation work.

Titze said the findings may have clinical applications for many neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis, which can quickly affect the voice. Often the earliest signs of these diseases are reflected in the voice.

Titze was recently appointed to the 18-member NIDCD Advisory Council by Donna Shalala, secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The NIDCD brings together scientists, industry professionals and service people concerned about hearing and communication disorders, including diseases affecting hearing, balance, taste, smell, speech, voice and language.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.