Dr. Arjmandi is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) and the Director of Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a specialization in Cognitive Sciences at Michigan State University. He completed a postdoctoral training in Auditory Neuroscience and Clinical Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear-Harvard Medical School. Dr. Arjmandi's research combines behavioral (psychophysical tuning curves, speech perception), signal processing, and neuroimaging techniques (fNIRS, EEG, fMRI) to systematically investigate the mechanisms and factors influencing the auditory, speech, and language outcomes in individuals with typical hearing and hearing loss, particularly listeners who receive cochlear implants. The goal of his basic and translational research is to translate the findings into clinical practice for developing improved diagnostic tools and personalized interventions and treatments for individuals with hearing impairment.
Anjali Desai, AuD, is a research audiologist whose passion is helping children and adults with hearing loss, with a focus on cochlear implants and other hearing technologies. She is interested in studying auditory processing in individuals with hearing loss, with an emphasis on understanding how cochlear implants and other hearing technologies can improve hearing outcomes. Anjali is known for her ability to connect with patients and their families, making them feel at ease and comfortable during experiments. Anjlai is committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals with hearing loss and their families. She is an avid reader and enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest research in audiology and cochlear implant technologies.
Graduate Research Assistants
Samin Ashjaei is a Ph.D. student and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience lab at the University of South Carolina. Samin joined the lab in August 2023. She holds a master’s degree in Audiology and has conducted extensive research in the areas of normal hearing, hearing impairment, and cochlear implants. Her primary focus is to identify the underlying causes of poor speech perception, especially in noisy environments, among individuals with hearing impairments and to develop effective clinical solutions for this issue. Within the Translational Auditory Neuroscience lab, Samin is responsible for investigating speech perception and production among cochlear implant listeners. She uses advanced techniques such as real-time altered auditory feedback presentation and vowel identification assessments. Additionally, she plans to employ neuroimaging methods such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system to further enhance her research. In her free time, she enjoys watching talk shows and drama series.
Madison Paxton is from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of South Carolina. Her interest in working with and learning about cochlear implants is what drew her to a field that bridges both audiological and speech/language sciences. She is passionate about improving communicative access for all and hopes to work in a pediatric medical setting after graduation. Within the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab, she is currently working on collecting and analyzing psychophysical tuning curve measurements for both normal hearing and cochlear implant listeners. This research aims to elucidate the impact of cochlear implants on spectral resolution and speech perception in cochlear implant listeners. When not on campus, Madison enjoys exploring Columbia, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Lucy is a graduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at the University of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in speech-language pathology and is passionate about helping children find their voice. She is specifically interested in helping the pediatric population with hearing loss. Lucy has a Bachelor of Arts in speech, language, and hearing sciences from the University of Colorado and is enjoying her time in South Carolina thus far. She enjoys being outside, reading books, and trying new restaurants with friends. In the lab, she is working on analyzing daylong LENA audio recording data to study the early language input experiences of children with cochlear implants in their home environments early after implantation. Lucy is eager to continue researching and learning more about the crossing between speech-language pathology, audiology, and neuroscience. She is looking forward to applying her learning experience of working in the TAN Lab to her future endeavors as an SLP!
Undergraduate Research Assistants
Karen is a junior undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at the University of South Carolina. Majoring in Neuroscience, her interest in research stems from her curiosity about brain operations. She is fascinated by human speech, specifically focusing on phonological contrasts, and speaking styles, to gain a deeper understanding of how auditory input contributes to the shaping of the human auditory system. She is involved in a project that investigates the role of caregiver responsiveness to language development of children with cochlear implants. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Karen plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neurosurgery and she enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano/flute in her spare time.
Kathryn is from Long Island, New York. She is a biology major in the Honors College with a minor in economics. She plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in the healthcare field. Kathryn joined the Translational Auditory Neuroscience lab with Dr. Arjmandi in January 2023 as an undergraduate research assistant. She is currently working on the importance of the electrode-neuron interface and specific measures that help to improve speech and language outcomes in listeners with cochlear implants. This can potentially be applied to improve overall hearing in cochlear implant listeners, particularly in noisy conditions. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with friends and family.
Sarah is an undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at the University of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences and minoring in Spanish and Medical Humanities and Culture, with the hope of matriculating into medical school after graduation. Sarah's primary interest lies in improving speech and language outcomes in individuals with hearing loss. Within the lab, Sarah holds the position of Database Manager. Her responsibilities include creating case report forms using REDCap software, as well as overseeing the management, reporting, and analysis of participants' data. When she is not engaged in lab work or attending classes, Sarah enjoys going on hikes, discovering new coffee shops, and indulging in Netflix show marathons.
Reed Farrar is an undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at the University of South Carolina. He is majoring in Neuroscience and is particularly interested in the afferent nervous system and the way it brings sensory information to the brain. This ties into the work he does in the lab where he is learning how the electrode-neuron interface impacts auditory, speech, and language outcomes in cochlear implant users. He is also learning about the operation and application of fNIRS neuroimaging technology. After completing his undergraduate degree, Reed plans to attend medical school as the next step in his journey toward becoming an ophthalmologist. Outside the academic aspects of his life, Reed enjoys running, weightlifting, and designing board games.
Tatiana Ramirez is an undergraduate research assistant currently working in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of South Carolina. She is pursuing a degree in Neuroscience with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Neurobiology, reflecting her keen interest in the field. Tatiana is particularly interested in language development in children with cochlear implants and is actively involved in the analysis of language input experienced by children with cochlear implants. Her research is focused on investigating the early linguistic exposure of young children with cochlear implants in their home environments shortly after implantation. Beyond her academic pursuits, Tatiana enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, upcycling clothes, and listening to podcasts in her spare time. Tatiana is looking forward to furthering her research of audiology and neuroscience.
Shaivee Fozdar is an undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at the University of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing a degree in Public Health and is interested in providing medical solutions and innovations in medical problems such as improving spoken communication in listeners with hearing loss. In the lab, she is working on studying the effects of partially restored auditory feedback on speech production in cochlear implant listeners. Shaivee is enthusiastic about exploring speech outcomes with restored auditory feedback to assist individuals who use cochlear implants, as it offers improved hearing opportunities for them. In her spare time, Shaivee likes to binge-watch shows on Netflix, explore new cuisine, and likes painting and drawing.
Vrutti is an undergraduate research assistant in the Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab at University Of South Carolina. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. As a budding researcher, her interests lie in contributing to improving speech and language outcomes in individuals with hearing loss which has led her to gain experience in analyzing language input data from home environments of children with cochlear implants. She is excited to learn about the properties of early language environments to uncover the study of early language development in cochlear implants users. Looking to the future, she aspires to get into the field of medicine, and hope to make a positive impact in the community of healthcare. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys dancing as well as spending time with family and friends.