Role of Articulatory Motor Areas in Central Processing of Speech Sounds in Human Brain Project Summary/Abstract The overall goal of this K23 proposal is to provide Dr. Shasha Li, MD, PhD, with the mentorship and career development necessary to become an independent, patient-oriented investigator whose research will contribute to advancements in targeted neuromodulation therapy for auditory communication rehabilitation. The role of the articulatory motor cortex in speech perception remains a highly debated subject, and the gap in existing knowledge of auditory speech processing has led to a lack of effective, targeted auditory rehabilitation interventions for communication disorders. Although the excitability of cortical motor regions during auditory speech processing has recently been brought to the foreground, delineating the exact role of speech-motor areas in auditory speech processing remains a major challenge. The proposed project may help establish a direct causal relationship between the articulatory motor system, its precise underlying biomarker, and correlated behaviors of auditory speech processing in healthy human subjects.
Our specific aims are the following: (a) To determine representations of speech-sound production vs. perception in motor cortices using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); (b) To determine the causal role of motor cortex in auditory speech processing using a transient ?virtual lesion? model induced by fMRI-guided navigated TMS (nTMS). Our proposal will build upon the existing evidence base for cortical targeting of articulatory motor areas of auditory speech processing, which could subsequently be translated into advancements in auditory communication rehabilitation approaches. Ultimately, advances in auditory communication rehabilitation stemming from this project could significantly benefit stroke and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) survivors who are affected by auditory-related deficits. The scientific and training plans outlined in this application pair a patient-oriented research experience with superb mentorship in an outstanding environment to further Dr. Li's career development. Completion of the proposed project will result in Dr. Li gaining unique multi-disciplinary expertise in auditory neuroscience, advanced neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques, and specialized clinical knowledge in communication disorders, allowing her to successfully compete at the R01 level. !

Public Health Relevance

The project described in this K23 award application will develop a precise brain biomarker specific to auditory speech processing in healthy human subjects using a combination of advanced neuroimaging and noninvasive brain stimulation techniques. The knowledge gained from this project will serve as the basis for optimizing neuromodulation therapy and neurorehabilitation that will improve the quality of life for patients affected by a broad range of auditory communication disorders. !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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