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Publications in VIVO

Brennan, Christine Assistant Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Reading disability (dyslexia) occurs in ~5-10% of the population. In children, phonological awareness skill (PA) (e.g., ability to segment words into individual speech sounds) contributes to reading development and children with dyslexia often have PA deficits. Less is known about the role of PA in adults with dyslexia or how PA contributes to learning to read a foreign language. Similarities between children struggling to learn to read and adults struggling to learn to read a foreign language motivate me to investigate both areas with a focus on the role of PA. My main research goals are to advance our knowledge regarding how PA and instruction influence foreign language learning and how phonological (speech sound) representation in the auditory cortex supports PA and reading ability. Using behavioral and neuroimaging methods, my research aims to advance our knowledge of the factors that contribute to reading skill, dyslexia, and foreign language learning.


  • dyslexia, speech processing, phonological skill, neuroscience, brain activation, fMRI, reading development, reading skill, reading instruction, reading intervention, special education, speech and language impairment, developmental disabilities, speech and language intervention


selected publications


courses taught

  • SLHS 4576 - Communication Neuroscience
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Spring 2019 / Spring 2020 / Spring 2021
    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
    Addresses the nature, assessment, and treatment of developmental language disorders in school age children. Recommended prerequisite: undergraduate background in SLHS.
  • SLHS 5576 - Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Communication
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021
    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


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