Latest ARC News


Dr. Raele Robison Awarded First Place Poster Presentation at Dysphagia Research Society Meeting

Recent ARC Alum Dr. Raele Robison presented her doctoral dissertation work at the annual Dysphagia Research Society Meeting on March 10th 2021. Dr. Robison’s presentation “Determination of Functional Lingual Pressure Impairment Thresholds for Unsafe and Inefficient Swallowing in ALS” was awarded 1st Place Poster Presentation. Can you believe this is actually the second time Raele has won 1st place at DRS for a poster presentation – Way to go Poster Queen!


ARC Lab Represents at the 2021 Dysphagia Research Society Virtual Meeting

The ARC team was very active at this year’s annual DRS meeting with a total of 12 poster presentation, 4 platform scientific presentations and 4 invited talks. Check out the image gallery below!


Doctoral Student Justine Dallal York Wins PHHP Research Day Award for Best Poster Presentation!

ARC doctoral student Justine Dallal York won Best Research Presentation at the PHHP 2021 Research day on her poster titled “Dysphagia in Lung Transplant Recipients: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Health-Related Outcomes. This work represents the first of her three progressive doctoral dissertation research studies so she is off to an amazing start! Great job Justine – We’re proud of you!


Dr. Plowman Awarded the 2020-21 Superior Accomplishment Award

ARC Director, Dr. Emily Plowman, was awarded the University of Florida 2020-2021 Superior Accomplishment Award. This program recognizes faculty and staff who have have contributed outstanding and meritorious service, who have significantly improved quality of life provided to students and employees, and who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their work activities. Dr. P was specifically nominated and recognized for her efforts during the Covid Pandemic where she developed and implement several innovative learning experiences for the master’s SLP students that greatly enriched their learning during a very stressful time. Dr. P was nominated by a faculty member and students in the class of 2021 who described her as having a “selfless devotion and tireless work ethic that show no boundaries when it comes to her students who she greatly cares for.” Dr. P will be recognized at an upcoming award ceremony this Spring.

Dr. Plowman working with a Master’s SLP student in the UF program.

Tara Segalewitz Awarded the 2021 Thomas B. Abbott  Award!

ARC Master’s student, Tara Segalewitz was awarded the Thomas B. Abbott Award in Speech Language Pathology. This annual award goes to a graduating masters student in recognition of academic and excellence, professionalism, research and clinical scholarship, and interpersonal skills. Like Dr. Abbott was himself, the Abbott scholars are individuals who demonstrate high levels of professional integrity, intellect, effectiveness, and empathy in all aspects of education and service delivery. Tara received her award during a virtual ceremony with her family, UF Faculty, and her co-ARC lab members in attendance. Tara has been a pivotal member of our team over the past two years, having conducted two clinical rotations in the lab and being involved with several research projects including the ALS DIGEST Validation project and the Lung Transplant studies. She is a co-author on 7 upcoming conference oral or poster presentations and is the first author of a poster presentation at the International Heart Lung Transplant Society meeting in April of this year. Tara will graduate this coming May. Way to go Tara – we are so proud of you!


Doctoral Student Justine Dallal York Awarded the 2020 Neal Pitts Fellowship.

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Doctoral Student Justine Dallal York was awarded the 2020 Neil Pitts Foundation Fellowship in Speech Language Pathology. This award was established in 2011 by the Neal Pitts Foundation and aims to support a student pursuing doctoral training in the domains of speech, language, swallow or hearing science.  Recipients are selected on the basis of scholarly merit, leadership, and potential to advance the field of speech-language pathology.  Well done, Justine! 


European Society of Swallowing Disorders Annual Meeting – 1st Place Research Presentation.

ARC director Dr. Emily Plowman recently gave a platform presentation at the Virtual European Society of Swallowing Disorders Annual Conference on our research in Cardiovascular Surgery that was awarded Best Platform Presentation. This is a team effort with our colleagues in surgery (Dr. Eric Jeng and Dr. Neil Chheda) and our amazing ARC graduate students (featured below) and research managers. Way to go team!


Introducing latest ARC Grad Dr. Raele Robison!

Dr. Raele Robison recently successfully defended her doctoral dissertation titled “Running on Reserve: Impact of Lingual Physiologic Reserve Homeostenosis on Deglutition in ALS” on July 7, 2020. Raele has been an integral part of the ARC lab, having worked with Dr. Plowman for the past seven years (also completing her Masters thesis with her).

Dr. Robison is an inspiration to many, having battled a life-threatening illness during her doctoral program. Raele demonstrated courage, resilience, strength and perseverance during this time and is most deserving of this achievement.
During her doctoral degree, Raele obtained a National Institutes of Health Minority Predoctoral Supplement grant to Dr. Plowman’s R01 and was the first UF scholar to receive a mentored NIH F99-R00 Blueprint grant.

Dr. Robison is now completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Madison for the R00 Phase of her F99-R00 grant. Dr. Robison we are so proud of you and although you will be dearly missed, we are excited to see you spread your wings and flourish in your future academic career!


ARC Doctoral Candidate Featured on the UF RSD Student Spotlight!

ARC doctoral candidate, Raele Robison, is the featured RSD student spotlight for Summer 2020. She recently sat down with program director, Dr. Dave Fuller to give an insightful interview that covers a range of topics from her experiences with the RSD program, her research, future post-doctoral plans, as well as her personal thoughts regarding racial justice and her own experiences.

Student Spotlight: Raele Robison


ARC Alumni Dr. Lauren Tabor Gray Awarded DRS Steven Leder Award at the Annual Dysphagia Research Society Meeting.

ARC alumni (PhD 2018) Dr. Lauren Tabor Gray was awarded the Steven B. Leder Award for her work “Concordant Validity of a Digital Expiratory Flow Meter to Assess Voluntary Cough Strength in individuals with ALS.” This was part of her Doctoral Dissertation work, which she completed under the mentorship of Dr. Emily Plowman as an RSD and T32 Breathing Research and Therapeutics Training program Student (RSD class of 2018).

The Steven B. Leder Award was created by the Dysphagia Research Society (DRS) to highlight clinically relevant research. This award honors Steve Leder, a prolific evidence-based clinical researcher, a dedicated clinician, and past-president of the DRS.


Doctoral Student Justine Dallal York Wins Two Awards at the Annual Dysphagia Research Society Meeting.

ARC second year doctoral student Justine (Allen) Dallal York, received not one but two awards for the annual Dysphagia Research Society virtual meeting. Justine was awarded the Springer Publishing Junior Investigator Travel Grant that goes to promising junior investigators and provides $500 towards next years meeting.

Justine also won the 1st Place Scientific Poster Presentation for her research titled “Utility of the 3 Ounce Water Swallow Test to Detect Aspiration in Cardiac Surgical Patients.” This work was the team effort of many undergraduate, graduate and research SLP ARC team members and represents the onset of Justine’s doctoral dissertation work in cardiothoracic populations.  Way to go Justine!


Congrats Class of 2020!

A special shout out to our amazing ARC undergraduate students on their recent graduation! Five of our students graduated with honors and participated in an online graduation ceremony on May 8, 2020. We are thrilled that four of these hard working ladies will be staying on at UF to complete their Masters degree and will continue working in the ARC Lab! This is a resilient crew and we are so proud of you!

class odf 2020

Congrats Class of 2020 and Go Gators!

Jessica Abbate, BS, Cum Laude,

Amy Ashley, BHS, Cum Laude

Madison Lee, BHS, Cum Laude

Kelly Leonard, BHS, Summa Cum Laude

Kasey, McElheny, BHS, Summa Cum Laude


Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight:

Kasey McElheny

Bachelor of Health Science,

Summa Cum Laude

Class of 2020.

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Relationship between Peak Cough Expiratory Flow Rate, Inspiratory Cough Flow Rate & Pulmonary Physiologic Capacity in Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Undergraduate Senior Honors student, Ms. Kasey McElheny, successfully completed her Research Thesis that examined relationships and predictors of cough strength in individuals with ALS. This work is important given that cough strength (peak expiratory flow rate) is reduced in individuals with ALS and associated with a reduced capacity to protect the airway. This work was part of the larger R01 natural history study that is funded by the NINDS. Kasey specifically examined cough spirometry and pulmonary function testing outcomes in 101 individuals with ALS and noted that peak inspiratory flow rate and maximal inspiratory pressure were most strongly associated with peak expiratory flow rate during voluntary cough. These results suggest that targeting inspiratory flow rates and inspiratory pressure generating abilities may aid in airway clearance abilities in the ALS population. You can check out Kasey’s poster highlighting her work here: McElheny Poster

Kasey has worked in the ARC lab for three years and has been a rockstar research assistant. She was worked in some capacity across all of our research studies and has served as the primary cough spirometry rater for the past year. Kasey was the NSSHLA President at UF and not surprisingly was accepted into every graduate program she applied to! Kasey will be pursuing her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Rhode Island beginning Fall 2020.  Thank you for your dedication to the ARC lab over the past three years. We will miss you Kasey but are excited to watch your future career unfold as we know it will be bright!


Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight:

Amy Ashley

Bachelor of Health Science

Class of 2020.

Amy

Delineating Swallowing Safety and Efficiency Impairment Profiles in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

ARC Undergraduate student Amy Ashley successfully completed her Senior Honors Thesis titled “Delineating Swallowing Safety and Efficiency Impairment Profiles in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”  This work was part of our larger R01 natural history study that is funded by the NINDS. Amy examined swallowing safety and efficiency profiles in 80 individuals with ALS during a single testing session. Her work noted that 60% of participants demonstrated safe swallowing, 17% penetrated and 23% aspirated. In the later group, the most common aspiration response profile was ‘silent’ aspiration. Overall, 39% of participants demonstrated efficient swallowing while 61% demonstrated inefficient swallowing (residue in the pharynx). To date no group has investigated the relative appearance or emergence of swallowing impairment in ALS.  This work suggests that swallowing efficiency is impacted prior to those in swallowing safety with impairments in swallowing efficiency being four times more likely to be the presenting impairment profile. The larger natural history study will examine this more closely in a longitudinal manner. You can check out Amy’s Thesis poster presentation here: A.Ashley Thesis_Final

Amy has worked in the ARC lab for two years and has been a tireless worker and amazing team player. She has worked on almost every study and had to complete over 500 hours of rating swallow studies for her thesis! Although she was accepted into about six graduate school programs, we’re thrilled that Amy has chosen to stay at U.F for her Masters degree! We are so proud of you Amy and appreciate your perseverance and dedication to the ARC research program and our patients. We cant wait to watch you continue to grow during your graduate school program.


Undergraduate Honors Thesis Spotlight:

Kelly Leonard

Bachelor of Health Science

Summa Cum Laude

Class of 2020.

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Discriminant Ability of the 3 Ounce Water Swallow Test to Detect Aspiration in Cardiac Surgical Patients.

ARC Honors Thesis student, Ms. Kelly Leonard, successfully completed her undergraduate honors thesis titled “Discriminant Ability of the 3 Ounce Water Swallow Test to Detect Aspiration in Cardiac Surgical Patients.”  This thesis included data collected from the cardiac intensive care study and compared outcomes obtained from a common screening bedside tool and the instrumental swallowing exam. Kelly examined the sensitivity and specificity of the 3 oz water swallow test to detect aspiration and noted that the WST misclassified aspiration status in approximately one-third of cardiac surgical patients. These results do not support the use of the 3 oz WST in isolation in the cardiac ICU setting and are very important given that the WST is the current clinical screening tool utilized at many cardiac intensive care units, including UF. They highlight the need for the development of more accurate bedside clinical markers – something that the ARC lab hopes to undertake with pending funding. Here is a link to her Thesis poster presentation: Leonard_UG HonorsThesisPoster

Kelly was accepted into five different graduate programs but lucky for us decided to  be a double Gator and stay in the Swamp to complete her master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at U.F in 2020-2022.

We’re  so proud of you Kelly! Thank you for  your hard work and contributions  to the ARC research program and most importantly for helping the lives of the patients we care for.


ARC Lab Represents at the U.F College of Medicine Research Day

Gainesville, FL, February 25, 2020.

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The ARC lab presented four poster presentations at the annual College of Medicine Research Day from active studies with our partners in the Departments of Surgery and Nursing at UF Health. Presentations Include

1) Survey data on nurse practice patterns in the cardiac intensive care unit at U.F Health (J. Allen)

2) Incidence of vocal fold mobility impairment and dysphagia in post-operative cardiovascular patients (E. Plowman)

3) Sensitivity and Specificity of the 3-Ounce Water Swallow Test to detect aspiration in the ICU (J. Allen)

4) Risk factors and Health-Related Outcomes for dysphagia in lung transplant patients (L. DiBiase


Research Finalist at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Annual Meeting

New Orleans, January 2020.

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Dr. Plowman recently presented a poster titled Incidence and Associated Morbidity of Dysphagia in Postoperative Cardiothoracic Patients at the annual Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Dr. Plowman was selected as a Research Finalist where she participated in a 4 minute research blitz showcasing our work with our partners in the division of Cardiothoracic surgery at UF,. Dr’s Beaver, Arnaoutakis and Manning as well as the Cardiac ICU team members  Tamara and Chelsea offered their support at the research blitz (pictured above).
 

ARC Undergraduate Honors Student Presents at the Center for Respiratory Research & Rehabilitation Symposium

Harn Musuem, January 17, 2020

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Undergraduate honors student, Kasey McElheny presented her research examining predictors of cough strength in individuals with ALS at the annual CRRR research symposium evening.

Kasey has worked in the lab for the past two years and was one of the youngest presenters at the event – way to represent Kasey!

 

 

MNDA 30th International Symposium on ALS/MND

Perth, Western Australia, December 2019

Wymer group Perth

The annual international  meeting of the Motor Neuron Disease Association (MNDA) was held in Perth, Western Australia on December 5 – 7, 2019.  This international meeting brings together basic and clinical scientists from all over the world who share a passion for improving outcome for persons with ALS.  

During the event, ARC Clinical Trials Manager Amber Anderson and ARC Alumni Dr. Lauren Tabor Gray both presented posters of ARC research in the areas of pharmacologic interventions and cough profiles of individuals with ALS.

Dr. Plowman gave a platform presentation at the main event where she presented the final validated screening tool of swallowing dysfunction in ALS. Given that Perth is her home town, her mom (pictured above – far left) even snuck into the event to listen! Dr. Plowman  has asked to participate in an interview with  the MNDA Association who will showcase this on their website in the near future.     

During the event, the ARC crew and one of our favorites John Costello participated in an ALS Walkathon to raise awareness for this disease in the local community. 

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ASHA Conference

Orlando, November 2019

group EP ASHA

The ARC team attended the 2019 annual American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference, held in Orlando November 21-23 . 
 On Thursday 11/21/19 Doctoral Candidate, Ms. Raele Robison presented on behalf of Dr. Plowman who had laryngitis(!) on an expert panel of clinician scientists on the topic of Respiratory Muscle Strength Training.  Raele spoke on a panel alongside leading experts in the field of dysphagia who have special expertise implementing respiratory training paradigms in clinical populations such as head and neck cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and stroke.  Raele provided a summary of the ARC lab series of clinical trials in the area of respiratory strength training in individuals with ALS and highlighted a case study she published last year. Way to go RaelOn Saturday, 11/23/19 Dr. Plowman was invited by the ASHA Special Interest Group (SIG) 13  to give a one hour seminar on, “Best Practices in the Assessment & Management of Dysphagia in Neurodegenerative Disease.” This session overviewed best practices for the evaluation and treatment of dysphagia in neurodegenerative disease and presented recent work from the ARC lab in these two broad area

EP upfront

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Rae board


 

Doctoral Student Raele Robison Awarded Mentored NIH F99/R00 Grant.

rae profile

Congratulations to ARC doctoral candidate Raele Robison who was awarded a National Institute of Health F99/K00 Award. This award is a five-year mentored training grant that will provide funding for Raele to complete her doctoral degree with Dr. Plowman to examine the impact of homeostenosis in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and how reductions in lingual physiologic reserve impact swallowing physiology. The NIH grant will then provide funding for Raele to complete a postdoctoral fellowship under the tutelage of Dr. Nicole Pulia at the University of Wisconsin. This is Raele’s second mentored NINDS grant with Dr. Plowman.


 

ARC Presentations at the Annual North Eastern ALS Consortium Meeting.

Neals 2019

Five of the ARC lab members presented posters at the 18th Annual Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS) in Clearwater, Florida October 2-4, 2019.

Presentations were given by our doctoral students, research Speech-Language Pathologists, and an undergraduate honors thesis student. Additionally, Dr. Plowman had presentations with our collaborators Dr. David Walk (University of Minnesota) and Dr. Lauren Tabor Gray (Phil Smith Neuroscience Institute).

A complete listing of presentations include:

  1. Cough Strength is Associated with Maximal Inspiratory and Expiratory Pressure Capacity, Inspiratory Cough Flow, and Forced Vital Capacity in ALS.  McElheny, K., Chapin, J., DiBiase, L., Anderson, A., Tabor Gray, L., Wymer, J., Plowman, E.K.
  2. Bulbar Profiles of Dysarthria and Dysphagia in ALS.  DiBiase, L., Allen, J.J., Anderson, A., Chapin, J., Ashley, A., McElheny, K., Eckart, J., Leonard, K., Robison, R., Smith-Sherry, M., Magennis, K., Wymer, J., Plowman, E.K.
  3. Reduced Lingual Strength is Associated with Increased Effort and Inefficient Swallowing in ALS.  Robison, R., Chapin, J., DiBiase, L., Anderson, A., Magennis, K., Wymer, J., Plowman, E.K.
  4. Lung Volume Recruitment Combined with Expiratory Muscle Strength Training to Improve Ventilatory, Cough, Swallow, and Speech Functions in ALS.  Walk, D., Plowman, E.K., Wymer, J., Watson, P., Shine, M., Ferment, V., Magennis, K., Smith, C., Somers, M., Chapin, J., Nasi, N., Kosieracki, K., DiBiase, L., Anderson, A.

ARC Research Managers Present at the 2019 Myotonic Dystrophy Day.

DM days
The ARC laboratory were asked to present at the annual Myotonic Dystrophy Day where Research Managers Lauren DiBiase and Amber Anderson provided an educational talk to patients and their caregivers. Lauren and Amber provided educational material on swallowing impairments in myotonic dystrophy. This was  followed by an overview of our work in this area with rehabilitative approaches to improve physiologic reserve of the bulbar and respiratory mechanism.

The annual Myotonic Dystrophy Day us hosted by UF Neurology is a one-day event to bring together clinicians, researchers, and DM family members. Other ARC team members (pictured above) who participated in the event included Kelly, Julia and Kasey.


Dr. Plowman Awarded First Place Scientific Platform Presentation at the Dysphagia Research Society Meeting.

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Dr. Emily Plowman received First Place Oral Presentation at the Annual DRS Event in San Diego for her talk entitled: “Validation of the Physiologic Risk Index of Swallowing Impairment in ALS.” This work is the product of our current NINDS R01 grant and the collective efforts of many ARC team members and collaborators that include Dr’s Wymer and Vasilopolous.


 

Dr. Plowman and Dr. Tabor Gray Awarded Grant from the ALS Association.

Plowman Tabor

Dr. Plowman and ARC Alum, Dr. Lauren Tabor Gray, were recently  awarded a two-year clinical management grant to study the physiologic impact of a pharmacologic intervention, Nuedexta, on bulbar function in individuals with ALS. The study will compare bulbar function before and after a 30-day course of the drug on speech, swallowing, and cough function. Although it is unclear if this drug has a physiologic impact of bulbar function in ALS, it is commonly prescribed to patients. This study will provide the first dataset to determine the potential therapeutic role of Nuedexta for the management of bulbar dysfunction in ALS.