About Us

Our Mission

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

  • Imaging Technology
  • 3D Visualization
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Precision Medicine

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, 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.

We are currently funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Featured News

How Technology is Revolutionizing Care for Cleft and Craniofacial Differences

UVA researchers are using cutting-edge imaging, 3D visualization and machine learning to address speech difficulties for children with cleft lip and palate. Cleft lip and cleft palate – when a baby’s lip or mouth doesn’t form completely during pregnancy – is one of the most common birth defects in the United States and this puts children at risk for difficulties in feeding, speech & language development, hearing, and dental health. But new technological advances are poised to transform treatment and drastically improve patient outcomes.

Read More

Current Projects

Anatomy and Physiology

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 difference?

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 speech physiology and craniofacial differences. She received her fellowship training at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and doctoral training in the Craniofacial Imaging Lab.

Ellie Botz

Lab Manager

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.

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.

Isabelle Liu

Research Assistant

Isabelle is a current UVA doctoral student in systems engineering. Her research passion lies in computer vision of medical imaging and data science. Beyond academics, she loves traveling, classical music and discovering new foods. At home, her relaxing companion is a cute Siamese cat, Piano.

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 her cat, Scout, and exploring Charlottesville.

Sammy Vadlamani

Research Assistant

Sammy is a current UVA graduate student. She is a project lead working on anatomic studies for surgical predictors of success.

Lauren Tidwell

Research Assistant

Lauren is a current UVA graduate student and a board certified music therapist. She is leading recruitment for our cleft palate MRI studies. In her free time, she loves hiking, practicing yoga, making music, and crocheting!

Erin Moulton

Research Assistant

Erin is a current UVA undergraduate student majoring in Speech Communication Disorders. Her research interests are swallowing disorders and imaging techology related to speech production. Outside of the lab she can be found playing pickleball or nannying.

Kendall Peterson

Research Assistant

Kendall is an undergraduate student studying speech communication disorders. Her clinical interests include swallowing disorders and aphasia. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and listening to live music.

Irelyn Hearn

Research Assistant

Irelyn is an undergraduate student with an interest in neuroscience. She is also interested in music, content creation and livestreaming. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, swimming, weightlifting, and building computers. Fun fact: she has competed in the Junior Olympics three times.

Zoe Tekian

Research Assistant

Zoe is an undergraduate student majoring in Music and Health, Ethics, & Society on the Premed track. She is also a coxwain on the varsity rowing team. Her clinical and research interests are related to surgery and pediatrics.

Bridget Dinora

Research Assistant

Bridget is a current UVA undergraduate student studying speech communication disorders. She is interested in swallowing/feeding disorders and speech production disorders. A fun fact about her is that she was at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Final game in France when USA won!

Gloria Ren

Research Assistant

Gloria is a current UVA undergraduate student majoring in Speech Communication Disorders. Her clinical and research interests lie in pediatric and neonatal speech differences. In her off hours, she spends her time basking in the outdoors, listening to podcasts, and working on puzzles. Fun fact: her favorite flowers are pink tulips.

Meghan Lepsis

Research Assistant

Meghan is a current UVA undergraduate student studying Speech Communication Disorders. She is still exploring her research interests within the realm of Speech Pathology. In her free time, she loves to volunteer, read, and travel. One fun fact about Meghan is that she published a novel in high school.

Molly Goodall

Research Assistant

Molly is a current UVA undergraduate student planning on majoring in Speech Communication Disorders and minoring in Data Science. Her research interests are in pediatric research on children with autism spectrum disorder. Outside of the lab, she can be found on a run, spending time with her family, or reading a book.

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)
      • Caroline Hudgens (2020 – 2022)
        Project: Imaging analyses and 3D modeling of the velopharyngeal mechanism (presented at national level)
      • Erin Taffe (2021 – 2023)
        Project: Assessment of Acute Laryngeal Injury Following Intubation
      • Bailey Hansen (2021 – 2023)
        Project: Analysis of velopharyngeal measurement techniques (presented at national level)
      • Lily Kase (2022 – 2024)
        Project: Clinical Applications for 3D Segmentation of the Lateral Pharyngeal Walls (presented at national level)

      • Kennedy Wilkins (2023)
      • Stephanie Rodriguez (2023)
      • Neyda Villatoro (2023)
      • Lexi Kohler (2023)
      • 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