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Susan Thibeault, PhD, CCC-SLP, professor of surgery, director of the UW Voice and Swallow Clinics, and associate vice chair of research for the Department of Surgery, was awarded approximately $2.75 million by the NIH for her R01 proposal “Engineering the Vocal Fold Extracellular Matrix.” This 5-year award, which starts April 1, 2016, supports a new phase in Thibeault’s 17-year-long investigation into treatments for voice disorders caused by vocal tissue scarring.

The grant will allow Thibeault and her lab to study prenatal development of vocal fold cells in mice. By studying the factors that influence cell development, Thibeault and her team hope to discover developmental cues that could be used to encourage cell and tissue regeneration. The ultimate goal of Thibeault’s work is to gain FDA approval to introduce adult stem cells into vocal folds in an effort to remedy a wide range of voice disorders.

Funding is provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Key staff include Xin Sun, PhD, Department of Medical Genetics; Christina Kendziorski, PhD, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics; and Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng, PhD, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System