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Publications in VIVO

Brennan, Christine

Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My current research combines clinical and theoretical questions. Clinical topics include language, voice, and communication issues associated with Smith-Magenis syndrome, autoimmune encephalitis, hearing loss and use of cochlear implants, voice affirmation/LGBTQ+ community, and communication needs in other medical and/or congenital conditions such as Sanfilippo Syndrome or MPS IIIA. I am involved in the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Outreach project for adolescents with complex commination needs and conduct research impairment and clinical profiles of children and adults with complex disabilities or unusual clinical profiles (including autoimmune encephalitis, Smith-Magenis Syndrome. My previous research focused on understanding reading impairment and learning to read a new orthography. My investigations focused on the role of individual phonological skill on foreign language learning and representation of speech sounds in the auditory cortex and comparing representation in individuals who use difference languages and those with and without reading impairment. I theorize that organization of the auditory cortex plays a critical role in the foundation of reading ability. Overall, my research aims to advance our knowledge of the factors that contribute to language, communication, and reading skill and advance methods for clinical and educational methods to have those with special needs in language and communication.


  • dyslexia, reading impairment, language impairment, speech sound processing, phonological skill, neuroscience, brain activation, fMRI, reading development, reading skill, reading instruction, reading intervention, special education, speech and language impairment, developmental disabilities, language learning disabilities, learning disabilities, speech and language intervention, autoimmune encephalitis, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Smith-Magenis Syndrome


selected publications


courses taught

  • SLHS 2010 - Science of Human Communication
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022 / Fall 2022
    Discusses how human communication (the process by which a thought is transmitted from the brain of a speaker to the brain of a listener) involves a complex interaction of acoustics, anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, and psychology.
  • SLHS 4576 - Communication Neuroscience
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Summer 2022 / Summer 2023 / Fall 2023
    Provides an introduction to neuroscience with an emphasis on the systems that support human communication including speech perception and production, language, memory and cognition. Topic areas will include auditory processing, language, memory and motor systems. Development of brain systems and structures will be explored, as well as neurologically based disorders. Neuroscientific methods surveyed will include MRI, fMRI, EEG, MEG, NIRS, lesion studies and electrophysiology.
  • SLHS 5242 - Language Disorders in School Age Children
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Addresses the nature, assessment, and treatment of developmental language disorders in school age children. Recommended prerequisite: undergraduate background in SLHS.
  • SLHS 5252 - Acquired Language Disorders in Adults
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2023
    Introduces the neural bases and medical etiologies of acquired language disorders in adults, explores the ways in which normal language processing may become disordered, and studies current methods of evaluation and treatment design. Recommended prerequisite: undergraduate background in SLHS.
  • SLHS 5576 - Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Communication
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Provides an introduction to the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology that collectively give rise to human communication including speech perception and production. We will consider how speech, language and hearing are represented in and controlled by the central nervous system and how neuropathologies affect processes of communication.
  • SLHS 5612 - Language Learning Disabilities
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019
    Expands upon the nature of Language Disorders in SLHS 5242 (School Age Language Disorders) including language-based difficulties in reading, written language and mathematical achievement, as well as deficits in executive functioning. Students will explore clinical management options through studies of intervention methods as well as through clinical case examples. Specifically, we will examine adaptive instruction and evidence-based intervention.
  • SLHS 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Summer 2022 / Fall 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024


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