October 2020

Virtual 5k for Black Mamas Matters

From October 17-24, the Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab (SNL) at Northeastern University is hosting a fundraiser and Virtual 5k event in support of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), a national network of black women-led organizations and multi-disciplinary professionals who work to ensure that all Black Mamas have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive before, during, and after pregnancy. Through this 5k event, we were able to raise over 2,000 dollars for the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. 

December 2019

Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab Newsletter 2019

Check out our current and past projects, conference presentations, and research expeditions:

Ali and Josie, the newest members of the SNL

Welcome to the Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab Josie and Ali!

Josie and Ali have just begun their second co-operative educational experiences in the Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab. They will be assisting with various projects during their time with us. Josie will primarily be working on her capstone on fundamental frequencies and voice disorders. Ali will use her time in the lab to learn more about conducting research in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.

Spotlight Article Featuring Morgan Hines, Winter 2019

Co-operative education student, Morgan Hines was featured in a spotlight article written by Alessandra Bryant in January of 2019. The article discusses Hines’ research projects over the past two years as a Research Opportunities for Undergraduates: Training in Environmental Health Sciences (ROUTES) scholar. Access the article here to learn more.

Morgan also presented her poster in the Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Entrepreneurship (RISE) convention at Northeastern University in April. Her poster titled “Non-Nutritive Suck (NNS) and Ano-genital Distance (AGD): Examining the Developmental Effects of Environmental Exposure in a Puerto Rican Infant Cohort” described potential relationships between NNS measures and measures of phthalate and other exposures indicating levels of endocrine disruption in infants enrolled in the Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico.

Lab Newsletter, Fall 2018

Read about the latest news and events in the Speech and Neurodevelopment lab in the fall newsletter:

Lab Newsletter, Fall 2017

Read about the latest news and events of the fall in the Speech and Neurodevelopment lab newsletter:

Bouve College of Helath Sciences, Vital Signs Magazine, feature article,  Binkies Do More Than Pacify

This article features discussion about the developmental advantages and disadvantages of using pacifiers.

November 2016

Three students presented posters at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association National Convention (ASHA) this November in Philadelphia, PA.

Courtney DeSousa presenting her research “An Examination of Visual Stimuli & Their Influence on Suck Patterning in Infants” at ASHA

Leigh presenting her work “Educating Speech-Language Pathologists Working in Early Intervention on Environment Health” in ASHA

Emily presenting her work “Do Children Born Prematurely Catch Up in Their Speech-Language Abilities at School-Age?” at ASHA

September 2016

PROTECT and CRECE leaders Drs. Zimmerman and Brown, along with their students Leigh Borkowski and Stephanie Clark, presented at the Early Intervention Speech-Language Pathologist Continuing Education Symposium. The event was held at Northeastern University and was attended by more than fifty speech-language pathologists and students.

Dr. Zimmerman, Dr. Brown, Leigh Borkowski and Stephanie Clark at the Early Intervention Speech-Language Pathologist Continuing Education Symposium

April 2016

Courtney DeSousa received an Advanced Research and Creative Endeavor Grant Award for her thesis project entitled, “An Examination of Visual Stimuli and Their Influence on Suck Patterning in Infants,” under the supervision of Dr. Zimmerman.

Dr. Zimmerman presented her research entitled, “Non-Nutritive Suck Development and Pacifier Types: Why it Matters” to the Pediatric Dysphagia Group of the Northeast.

Jaclene Forlano’s master’s thesis project was featured in an article about Northeastern University’s 5th Annual Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Exposition (RISE), photo below.

Jaclene Forlano and Megan Foran presented their master’s thesis research at Northeastern University’s 5th Annual RISE (see photo below).

Jaclene Forlano at RISE 2016

Megan Foran at RISE2016

March 2016

The Non-Nutritive Suck (NNS) cart was delivered to Puerto Rico. Alex Newman went to Puerto Rico to set-up the cart and train members of the CRECE team how to sample NNS from infants.

Alex Newman at CRECE in Puerto Rico

Alex Newman teaching CRECE staff about using the NNS machine

February 2016

Congrats to both Megan Foran and Jaclene Forlano for successfully defending their master’s thesis projects.

Dr. Zimmerman was named ADInstrument’s Science Hero:


January 2016

Drs. Zimmerman and Maron were awarded 2016 Tufts CTSI Pilot Award for their grant entitled, “FOXP2 Gene Expression Levels: A Noninvasive Biomarker to Predict both Oral Feeding and Speech-Language Success.”

November 2015

The Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab had a very productive time at ASHA. As a group, the lab had five presentations on Pediatric Dysphagia. The convention commenced with a two-hour preterm infant feeding seminar presented in collaboration with Dr. Chantal Lau and Dr. Katlyn McGrattan. Megan Foran and Jaclene Forlano both presented posters on their master’s thesis data.

The lobby at ASHA 2015

Dr. Zimmerman, Dr. McGrattan, and Dr. Lau at their session on dysphagia management strategies

Dr. Zimmerman and Jaclene Forlano at ASHA

Megan Foran with her poster at ASHA

September 2015

Dr. Zimmerman was invited to present her research, “Salivary FOXP2 Expression in Speech Emergence & Oral Feeding Readiness in Preterm Infants” at Tufts Medical Center’s Mother Infant Research Institute’s Seminar. This research is in collaboration with Dr. Maron, a neonatologist at Tufts.

Dr. Zimmerman (right) and Dr. Maron (left) at Tufts Medical Center’s Mother Infant Research Institute’s Seminar

August 2015
Dr. Zimmerman was selected as a recipient of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 2015-2016 Advancing Academic-Research Career (AARC) Award.

May 2015

Congrats to Kelsey Thompson for being awarded the Dean’s Research Award.

Dr. Zimmerman and Kelsey Thompson at the Dean’s award presentation

April 2015

Mechanical Engineering Capstone students, sponsored by Dr. Zimmerman, successfully completed their capstone project entitled, “Customized Pacifier for Non-Nutritive Suck Research.” This team also won the biggest impact award, congrats.

Kelsey Thompson and Monica Maki successfully defended their master’s thesis projects. Congratulations.

Mechanical Engineering Capstone students sponsored by Dr. Zimmerman

Kelsey Thompson presenting her thesis

Monica Maki defending her thesis

March 2015

Dr. Zimmerman was invited to serve as a “First Lady Mentor” at the First Lady Mentoring Breakfast at the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School.

Dr. Zimmerman was invited to present her research entitled, “The Nurturing Womb: How This Environment can be Leveraged to Optimize Sucking, Feeding, and Growth in Premature Infants” at the 8th Annual Leadership Conference ‘Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology: Research to Practice’ at UMASS Amherst, MA.

January 20

Beach in Dorado, Puerto Rico

Dr. Zimmerman was invited to attend the ‘Puerto Rico Test site for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Research Retreat’ in Dorado, Puerto Rico.  (Funded by the NIEHS, SRP Center, Award # P42ES017198). Dr. Zimmerman is very excited to be part of this amazing research center and to start her collaboration (funded by a supplement to the above P42 grant) that will build upon PROTECT and collect and analyze data on environmental exposure, growth, feeding and neurodevelopment on 200 newborns in the cohort.

Dr. Zimmerman chaired the session entitled, “Tenure Track: The Job Search and Interview Process” and  was an invited panelist on the session entitled “Thinking about a PhD? Informative Session for Prospective Doctoral Students.”

Kelsey Thompson presented her master’s thesis research entitled “Decoding Feeding  Readiness Cues in Infants” (poster # 9241).

Dr. Zimmerman and Kelsey at the 2014 ASHA Convention

October 2014

Dr. Zimmerman received one of the Integration of Oral Health and Primary Care Curricular Innovation Award from the DentaQuest Foundation.

August 2014

Dr. Zimmerman presented on the “Benefits of Non-Nutritive Suck” for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff at University of Massachusetts Memorial Healthcare in Worcester, MA.
Dr. Zimmerman completed NIH mHealth Summer Training. You can find more information about this training here:

July 2, 2014

Monica Maki presented her Master’s Thesis research project, ‘Using FoxP2 Expression as a Predictor of Successful Oral Feeding’ to her thesis committee remotely.

June 2, 2014

Kelsey Thompson was awarded one of the Sertoma Communicative Disorders Scholarship. She was one of fifty Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology graduate students selected to receive this award.

May 12 , 2014 

Kelsey Thompson presented her Master’s Thesis research project, ‘Decoding Feeding Readiness Cues in Infants’, to her thesis committee.

Kelsey Thompson presenting her masters thesis

May 3, 2014

Dr. Zimmerman was invited to speak at the Neonatal Feeding Club at Pediatrics, a conference in Vancouver.

See page 100 of the program guide here for more information.