About Us

Our Mission

We are a team of researchers focused on using imaging technology to study speech physiology & optimize surgical outcomes for children with cleft palate.

  • Imaging Technology
  • 3D Visualization
  • Predictive Analytics

The University of Virginia Imaging & Communication Outcomes Lab, under the direction of Kazlin Mason, PhD CCC-SLP, is dedicated to improving speech and surgical outcomes for individuals born with craniofacial differences. Our methodologies integrate imaging technology (MRI and fNIRS), 3D computer visualization, machine learning, predictive analytics, and acoustic and aerodynamic data to examine the anatomy and physiology of the speech, swallowing, and velopharyngeal mechanisms. Our goal is to utilize this knowledge to inform clinical practice and support evidence-based interventions for this population.

Current Projects

Anatomy and Phsyiology

Quantifying the Anatomy & Physiology of the Vocal Tract, Velopharynx, and Clefting

Surgical Outcomes

Assessing anatomic predictors for surgical outcomes in patients with velopharyngeal dysfunction

Speech Production

Using functional imaging to assess anatomy & neurophysiology of compensatory articulation error production

Computational Modeling

Collaborative development of computational models for surgical success

Clinical Outcomes

Center-wide and multi-site analyses of clinical outcomes


Please reach out for more information on any of our current projects or if you are interested in participating in one of our studies.

iCO Lab Participant Interest Form

Do you have a history of cleft lip and palate? Are you a parent of a child with a craniofacial condition?

This registry is for anyone who may be interested in participating in one of our current or upcoming studies.
Participating in the registry allows members of the iCo Lab to tell you about current and future research opportunities for you and/or your child.

Click here to open the registry

Who We Are

Kazlin Mason, PhD CCC-SLP

Principal Investigator; Lab Director

Dr. Mason is the Lab Director. She is a licensed speech-language pathologist who specializes in craniofacial disorders. She received her fellowship training at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and doctoral training in the Cleft Palate Speech Imaging & Visualization Lab.

Kennedy Wilkins

Lab Manager

Kennedy is a current UVA undergraduate student and responsible for day-to-day lab management. She is also leading data collection for our speech perception study. Her clinical interests include articulation and swallowing disorders. She plays the mellophone in the Cavalier Marching Band and in her free time she enjoys baking cookies.

Kenn Dela Cruz

Research Assistant

Kenn is a current UVA doctoral student in the department of Psychology. His research interests include the interplay between social cognitive and emotional processes. He received his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and M.A. in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University.

Caroline Hudgens

Lead Research Assistant

Caroline is a current UVA graduate student. She is leading data collection for our MRI studies. Her research interests include speech imaging as well as the physiological effects of cleft palate on swallowing and speech production. In her free time, Caroline enjoys hiking and volunteering at local animal shelters.

Bailey Hanson

Research Assistant

Bailey is a current UVA graduate student. Her clinical interests include autism spectrum disorders, apraxia, as well as articulation and phonological disorders. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dog, painting, and playing guitar.

Erin Taffe

Research Assistant

Erin is a current UVA graduate student. She is conducting research related to post-intubation voice outcomes. She was born in Istanbul Turkey (and can speak Turkish). When outside the lab, you can find her hiking with her dog, doing yoga, and gardening.

Neyda Villatoro

Research Assistant

Neyda is a current 3rd year UVA undergraduate student studying Kinesiology. Her clinical interests are craniofacial differences and autism spectrum disorders. Outside of the lab she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and exploring new music.

Ellie Botz

Research Assistant

Ellie is a current UVA graduate student. Her clinical and research interests include neurodevelopmental disorders and speech production in children and adolescents. In her free time, she enjoys musical theatre, jazz, and trying new foods. She also has a German Shepherd puppy named, Zoey.

Lily Kase

Research Assistant

Lily is a current UVA graduate student. Her clinical interests include dysphagia, stroke rehabilitation, and dementia research. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities like backpacking and canoeing, reading, and cooking. Fun Fact: her last name comes from the German word for cheese ("käse") which also happens to be her favorite food!

Sage Miller

Research Assistant

Sage is a current UVA graduate student. Her current clinical interests are dysphagia and autism spectrum disorders. In her free time she enjoys hiking, spending time with my cat, Scout, and exploring Charlottesville.

Lexi Kohler

Research Assistant

Lexi is a current UVA undergraduate student, double majoring in Speech Communication Disorders and Spanish. Her research interests include craniofacial differences and swallowing disorders. Outside of the lab she can be found spending time with family and friends, reading, or preparing her next Halloween costume.

Join the team!

The lab often has positions for interested graduate and undergraduate students.

Please click here for more information and reach out to the lab director with any questions.

      • Hannah Sypniewski (2018 – 2020)
        Capstone Publication: A Comparative Analysis of Graduate Education for Low Incidence Disorders (presented at national level)
      • Sydney Cadogan (Lab Manager, 2019 – 2021)
        Thesis: A Novel Application of Natural Language Processing for the Assessment of Communication Outcomes Post-Stroke (presented at state & national level)
      • Emily Sherrod (2019 – 2020)
        Capstone Project: Perceptual Changes in Voice Following Surgical Adaptations to The Vocal Tract
      • Makaela Purcell (2020 - 2021)
        Project: A Survey of Practice Patterns for SLPs Related to Cleft/Craniofacial Care (presented at national level)
      • Cayla Eason (2020 – 2022)
        Project: A Review of Imaging Methods for Assessing Velopharyngeal Function (presented at national level)
      • Natalie Park (2021 – 2022)
        Project: Visualization of the Pharyngeal Flap Surgery (presented at University Level)
      • Liz Wyer (2021 – 2022)

      • Caillie Smith (2022)
      • Leah McConnell (2022)
      • Emily Kagey (2022)
      • Isabelle Kress (2022)
      • Nikitha Yemisetty (2022)
      • Morgan Brown (2022)
      • Sarah Naidu- USOAR Scholar (2021)
      • Kirsty Thompson (2021)
      • Nicole Gannow (2019-2020)
      • Todd Kirks (2019)
      • Rainy Sun (2019)
      • Monica Campbell (2019)
      • Mackenzie Cooper (2019)
      • Brittany Andris (2019)
      • Emily Sigmon (2019)
      • Katy Butler (2019)
      • Ricardo Vallejo (2019)

      Contact Us

      Imaging & Communication Outcomes Lab at UVA

      Our lab is located in Bavaro Hall on Emmet Street South, just across the pedestrian bridge from the University of Virginia Bookstore and Newcomb Hall. Enter through the Sheila Johnson Center. Vistor parking is available and parking passes can be obtained from the front desk.

      417 Emmet St. South
      Charlottesville, VA 22903
      +1 434-924-0542