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.

Caroline Hudgens

Lab Manager

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.

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.

Rylee Fennell

Research Assistant

Rylee is a current UVA graduate student. Her clinical interests include fetal alcohol syndrome, traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorders, and craniofacial differences. In her free time, Rylee enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and athletics.

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 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.

Isabelle Kress

Research Assistant

Isabelle is a current UVA undergraduate student. She is studying Speech Communication Disorders and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology. Outside of the lab, Isabelle enjoys doing yoga and trying new local restaurants.

Emily Kagey

Research Assistant

Emily is a current UVA undergraduate student studying Speech Communication Disorders. She plans to attend a graduate program with the goal of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. Emily’s clinical interests include craniofacial differences, as well as swallowing disorders in infants. In her free time, Emily enjoys being outside, spending time with friends, and riding horses with her mom.

Nikitha Yemisetty

Research Assistant

Nikitha is a current UVA undergraduate student. Her academic interests include child psychology and how cognition and speech can be influenced by the slightest change in the brain. In her free time, Nikitha enjoys reading books, going on long walks outside, and spending time with her family and friends.

Kennedy Wilkins

Research Assistant

Kennedy is a current UVA undergraduate student. She is a member of the speech perception study and 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.

Cabell Williams

Research Coordinator

Cabell is a current UVA doctoral student in the department of Psychology. Her research interests include the effects of genetic variation on neurological development and social behavior. She holds a B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology from George Mason University and an M.S. in Clinical Research from UVA.

Liz Wyer

Research Assistant

Liz is a current UVA graduate student. She received her B.A. in Cognitive Science from UVA in May 2021. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder, augmentative and alternative communication, and the neuroscience of speech and language. Outside of the lab she enjoys yoga, spending time with friends and family, and practicing aerial silks.

Natalie Park

Research Assistant

Natalie is a current UVA graduate student. Her clinical and research interests include childhood apraxia of speech and bilingual/multilingual speech and language acquisition. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and listening to podcasts.

Sarah Naidu

Research Assistant

Sarah is a current UVA undergraduate student studying Systems Engineering. She is passionate about turning information into actionable insights and leveraging technology to improve quality of life. In her free time, Sarah enjoys trying various hot sauces, reading, and listening to podcasts.

Morgan Brown

Research Assistant

Morgan is a current 4th year UVA undergraduate student studying Speech Communication Disorders. She is member of the data collection team for the Speech Perception Study.

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.

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)

      • 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