School students 'adopt' a scientist from UC

20 July 2016 Four Lincoln High School students have 'adopted' researchers at the University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research. (read article)

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Study Speech-Language Therapy at UC – Thane Pullan tells us why

Study Speech-Language Therapy at UC – Thane Pullan tells us why

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Study Speech-Language Therapy at UC – Eric Owsley tells us why

Study Speech-Language Therapy at UC – Eric Owsley tells us why

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‘The best thing for me is to see people recover and enjoy their life to the fullest again...’

Kerstin Erfmann Studying towards a PhD in Speech and Language Sciences
(read profile)


Success at the University of Canterbury Rose Centre for Stroke and Recovery and Research

Ten-year-old New Plymouth boy Dayton Preston made national headlines in July, when his family went public with the story of how he had never been able to eat food, and his successful rehabilitation at UC's Rose Centre.

Professor Richard Jones: 2015 University Supervisor of the Yearrj

Congratulations to Prof Richard Jones on being recognised as 2015 Supervisor of the Year by the University of Canterbury Students' Association on 25 September, an award he also won in 2013. Richard is Director of the Christchurch Neurotechnology Research Programme and has appointments in the Departments of Communication Disorders, Psychology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has supervised many Master's and PhD students in swallowing and dysphagia over the years with Dr Maggie-Lee Huckabee. He also provides research supervision to postgraduate students in the Departments of Psychology and Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

2015 CMDS Supervisor and Lecturer of the Yearrk


Congratulations to Dr Rebecca Kelly-Campbell for being recognised by UCSA as 2015 Department of Communication Disorders Supervisor of the Year and to Prof Thomas Klee for being recognised as the Department’s 2015 Lecturer of the Year.

Student awarded Fullbright fellowship and Research Travel Awardaf

Annalise Fletcher, a doctoral student in our Department, has been awarded a prestigious Fullbright fellowship to undertake postgraduate studies or research at a USA institution. Annalise plans to use the award to collaborate with US researchers for six months at Arizona State University and Florida State University in 2015-2016.  In a separate award, Annalise has also received an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention Student Research Travel Award (SRTA), which is awarded to student first-authors of papers that receive the top rating by the Convention Program Committee in each of the convention topic areas. Annalise’s research uses acoustic analysis techniques to explore how voice quality, speech rhythm, and vowel articulation change as a result of neurological injuries and disease. Congratulations to Annalise on these fabulous achievements. 

Hearing research to improve carem

Associate Professor Greg O'Beirne and Canterbury District Health Board's Associate Professor Phil Bird have received a $319,500 grant from the Oticon Foundation in New Zealand to investigate the prevention of hearing loss during ear surgery by improving intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring of hearing. The three-year grant will help the team provide better quality care for patients, and reduce the incidence of hearing loss and dizziness following ear surgery. For more details see the press release.

Aphasia researcher in European collaborationmt

Dr. Tami Howe recently returned from Malta where she was invited to be a workshop trainer for the Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CAT) Master Class for Aphasia Researchers on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health. Dr. Howe is an International Partner Country Management Committee Observer on the European Cooperation in Science and Technology CAT and is a member of the collaboration’s Societal Impact and Re-integration Research Working Group. The aim of the collaboration is to establish a network of leading European multidisciplinary aphasia researchers to facilitate the development of high quality aphasia research that addresses the needs of people with aphasia, their families, health and social care providers, and voluntary organizations.

NIH grant successm

Associate Professor Megan McAuliffe, along with colleagues Professor Julie Liss and Dr Visar Berisha from Arizona State University, has been awarded approximately $275,000 USD from the National Institutes of Health (US) to conduct a two-year exploratory/developmental research project, "A web-based platform for cross-linguistic research in dysarthric speech". The project focuses on the development of web-based infrastructure to conduct larger-scale cross-linguistic studies of dysarthric speech. For more details contact Megan McAuliffe or the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour.

Communication Disorders researcher honoured

 Congratulations to Assoc Prof Richard Jones, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders and member of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, on being named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for ‘for contributions to human performance engineering and neurorehabilitation’.  Richard collaborates with Associate Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee on research related to swallowing and its disorders. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity with 400,000 members in 160 countries. IEEE states that ‘IEEE Fellow is a distinction reserved for select IEEE members whose extraordinary accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest are deemed fitting of this prestigious grade elevation.’

Marsden Grant Successct

Dr Catherine Theys, lecturer in the Department of Communication Disorders and former post-doctoral fellow in the New Zealand Institute of Language Brain & Behaviour, was awarded a 3-year research grant of $345,000 to investigate the neural basis of stuttering. Dr Theys said, “This study aims to determine in which areas of the brain and in which sequence differences in neural processing occur between people who stutter and fluent speakers. From this information, we aim to develop a neuro-computational model capable of simulating the neural and behavioural characteristics of stuttering.” The research team also includes Professor Frank Guenther from Boston University, Professor Maarten De Vos from Oxford University, Dr Tracy Melzer from the New Zealand Brain Research Institute and Associate Professor Megan McAuliffe from the University of Canterbury’s Department of Communication Disorders. For more details, see the press release.

New research grantMBIE

The High-Value Manufacturing and Services Research Fund of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has awarded $1M in continued research funding to the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour for the Aero-Tactile Enhancement of Speech Perception project. The research team consists of NZILBB researchers Donald Derrick, Tom De Rybel, Jen Hay, Greg O'Beirne (Communication Disorders/NZILBB), and Scott Lloyd. For more details see the press release.

Leading researcher wins Innovation MedalMaggie-Lee

A leading New Zealand communication disorders researcher who has improved the quality of life of patients and made financial savings for the health care industry has won the University of Canterbury’s Innovation Medal for 2014. Dr Maggie-Lee Huckabee, who is a world leader in cough-reflex research of stroke patients, will receive her medal at the Chancellor’s annual dinner later this year. Dr Huckabee’s world-class research seeks to prevent pneumonia in post-stroke or post-surgical stroke patients. Her work is nationally and internationally recognised and she has led clinicians from district health boards across New Zealand to change protocols. In the Canterbury District Health Board alone, the rate of pneumonia for patients who struggle to swallow following strokes dropped from 26 percent to 11 percent in a three year time period following implementation of her research results. This has resulted in a potential cost savings to the national health system of about $1.4 million. This innovation has not only improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs, but has facilitated a culture of research and innovation for frontline clinicians, which is a key priority for the New Zealand Health Research Council. Dr Huckabee’s ongoing engagement with the clinical community to translate international and domestic research into New Zealand health care has produced a positive outcome for frontline clinicians. Dr Huckabee’s nomination received support from hospitals and speech therapists from around New Zealand and overseas.

Plural Publishing Research Award 2014Doreen

Congratulations to Doreen Hansmann for being awarded one of two Plural Publishing Research Awards presented in honour of the late Dr Sadanand Singh. Doreen, now a PhD student in the Department of Communication Disorders, won the research award for her project, The influence of neighbourhood density on word production in 7-year-old children. In making the award, the President of the Council of Academic programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders indicated that a record number of applications had been received, with each rated for its breadth, depth and overall quality. Doreen received one of only two awards made in 2014. The award was announced at the annual meeting of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders in the USA in April. Doreen’s work is taking place in the Child Language Centre and is supervised by Professor Stephanie Stokes and Adjunct Associate Professor William Gavin.

Kristi Rabbitt Wins UC App CompetitionKristi

Congratulations to third-year BSLP student, Kristi Rabbitt, for winning First Prize in the final round of today’s University of Canterbury 2014 phone app competition sponsored by the Entre student club, which helps students put their business ideas to the test. Kristi is developing Childchat, a phone app designed to let parents track their preschool child’s speech, language and communication development. The app will provide parents with information about what develops when and offer information about who to contact in case they are concerned about their child’s speech and language development. Kristi won a MacBook Air, an iPad Air and an iPhone for coming in First. She hopes to continue developing the app and have it ready for market in early 2015. Further information please can be found at

Triton Hearing textbook presentationsj

Triton Hearing has generously provided Master of Audiology students with textbooks for the second year in a row. Simon Maskell (right) presented the paediatric audiology textbooks to students last week. The Department of Communication Disorders and the students in the Master of Audiology programme are both very grateful to Triton for their support.

Thesis-in-3 Success

Congratulations to Sarah Davies for winning the College of Science’s Thesis-in-3 competition and to Sharimila Adaikkalasamy for receiving an Honourable Mention. Sarah placed first out of 14 finalists in the College for a 3-minute talk on her PhD research examining a new diagnostic test to detect individuals with dysphagia in a hospital setting. Sharimila summarised her PhD research regarding cultural differences in what mothers believe and how they interact with their children with respect to children’s language development and language intervention programmes.

Ministry of Education Scholarships

Applications for Ministry of Education Speech Language Therapy Scholarships for 2015 will open on 1 June 2014. Further details can be found here

Speech and Hearing Clinic

We are now enrolling new clients for Hearing and/or Speech & Language services of all ages. To make an appointment please contact us on

Phone: (03) 364-2408
Fax: (03) 364 2760

If you would like to find our more about our Clinic, please visit this site: University of Canterbury Speech and Hearing Clinic

Bay Audiology Clinical Prizej

Ashleigh Donald, Master of Audiology student, received the 2013 Bay Audiology Clinical Prize from Bay Audiology's Senior Human Resources Advisor, Melita Lawn and Charge Audiologist, Jonny Grady at a ceremony on 5th March 2014. Bay Audiology also gifted a textbook to each first year MAud student. The Department of Communication Disorders is very grateful to Bay Audiology for their support.

2013 Jean Seabrook Prizea

Congratulations to PhD student Anna Miles, who was awarded the 2013 Jean Seabrook Prize by the University of Canterbury. This prize is awarded to a New Zealand trained speech-language therapist who has been enrolled for a PhD at the University of Canterbury and has submitted a PhD thesis that is considered to constitute an outstanding research project concerned with neurological aspects of communication disorders in the New Zealand population.


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