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Investigator & Collaborators

About the Investigator
Heather Shaw Bonilha began her training during her undergraduate and graduate studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida (UCF). During her clinical training, she developed an interest in research and teaching under the mentorship of Jack Ryalls. Her thesis investigated voice timing measures in patients with swallowing disorders. From UCF, she went on to complete her doctoral studies at the University South Carolina (USC) under the mentorship of Dimitar Deliyski. Her doctoral research focused on establishing normality for vocal fold vibratory features as recorded by stroboscopy and high-speed videoendoscopy. In her postdoctoral and first years and as an Assistant Professor, also at USC, she went on to investigate these same features in persons with voice disorders using her doctoral research as a comparison group. During her time at USC, she founded a Voice Clinic and saw patients as well as taught in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Master’s Program. In 2009, she moved from USC to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Since moving to MUSC, she has continued her existing lines of research in voice, coughing and laryngeal endoscopy as well as developed new lines of research with collaborators at MUSC in swallowing disorders (with Bonnie Martin-Harris) and comparative effectiveness research (with Kit Simpson and Charles Ellis).

Voice and Swallowing Research Collaborators at MUSC

MUSC Evelyn Tramell Institute for Voice and Swallowing

MUSC Department of Otolaryngology

  MUSC Department of Neurosciences




MUSC Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, MUSC Hospital, and the Hollings Cancer Center-Head and Neck Tumor Program
The MUSC Evelyn Trammell Institute for Voice and Swallowing is the first in South Carolina to provide a multidisciplinary center for the evaluation, treatment, and clinical research of laryngeal, voice, and swallowing disorders for adults and children. As a division of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the Institute brings together a wealth of resources and expertise. With approximately 2,500 square feet of space adjacent to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery’s clinic and at two other sites on the MUSC campus, the Institute’s research efforts cover a broad scope, including the coordination of respiration and swallowing in non-impaired individuals, the effects of oropharyngeal cancer on respiration and swallowing, laryngeal dynamics, and the effects of esophageal dysfunction on the larynx. The institute houses state of the art equipment enabling researchers and clinicians to make measurements of laryngeal aerodynamics, acoustic voice production measures, surface electromyography, nasal respiratory airflow, measurements of temporal and biomechanical relationships through image analyses, and intraoral pressure measurements—many of which are able to be evaluated simultaneously with time-linked computer hardware and software. 

Collaborators associated with the Evelyn Trammell Institute include:

  • Bonnie Martin-Harris
  • Lucinda Halstead
  • Julie Blair
  • Brittni Carnes
  • Jessica Lorusso
  • Caroline Warren
  • Kate Humphries

Stroke, MRI Research, and Radiology Collaborators

MUSC Department of Neuroscience
  • MUSC Department of Neurology
    • Robert Adams
    • Leonardo Bonilha
    • Tanya Turan
  • MUSC Department of Radiology
    • Cephus Simmons
  • USC MRI Research
    • Chris Rorden

Comparative Effectiveness Research

  • MUSC College of Health Professions
    • Kit Simpson
    • Charles Ellis
    • Annie Simpson
  • MUSC College of Pharmacy
    • Patrick Mauldin

External Voice Research Collaborators

  • Dimitar Deliyski
  • Terri Treman Gerlach at Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Associates (Add “CharlotteEyeEarNose&Throat.png” picture file)
  • Lori Ellen Sutton at Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Associates
  • Katherine Verdolini Abott
  • Ronald Scherer


  • Paul Nietert
  • Elizabeth Hill
  • Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer
  • Katherine Sterba

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