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Michelle R Ciucci, PhD

Contact Dr. Ciucci


(608) 263-0192

Goodnight Hall
1975 Willow Dr

Michelle R Ciucci, PhD

Assistant Professor
Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery


  • PhD, Speech and Hearing Science & Neuroscience, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ, 2006

Research Interests

Dr. Ciucci’s research interests focus on the neurobiological and behavioral underpinnings of cranial sensorimotor control. She is currently exploring the effects of degenerative neurologic disease-induced deficits on voice, speech, and swallowing (oromotor function) using both clinical and basic science methods. Her clinical studies on swallowing focus on fine motor skills required to generate subtle changes in pressure generation during the pharyngeal stage of swallowing, considering the influence of disease state, therapy, and medications on these processes. She also studies Parkinson disease to examine the impact of early sensorimotor training approaches on functional improvement of vocalization and swallow behaviors as well as the underlying neural substrates of exercise-induced brain changes and explores how anti-Parkinson medications influence complex sensorimotor enrichment outcomes. Dr. Ciucci believes understanding these processes will lead to better treatments and functional outcomes for patients with Parkinson disease and other neurologic disorders.

Dr. Ciucci's Lab

Recent Publications
  • Exercise Effects on Early Vocal Ultrasonic Communication Dysfunction in a PINK1 Knockout Model of Parkinson's Disease.
    Kelm-Nelson CA, Yang KM, Ciucci MR
    J Parkinsons Dis 2015 Nov 9; 5(4):749-63.
    [PubMed ID: 26577653]
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  • Cross-activation and detraining effects of tongue exercise in aged rats.
    Schaser AJ, Ciucci MR, Connor NP
    Behav. Brain Res. 2016 Jan 15; 297():285-96.
    [PubMed ID: 26477376, PMC ID: 4679533]
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  • Decreased approach behavior and nucleus accumbens immediate early gene expression in response to Parkinsonian ultrasonic vocalizations in rats.
    Pultorak JD, Kelm-Nelson CA, Holt LR, Blue KV, Ciucci MR, Johnson AM
    Soc Neurosci 2015 Sep 14; ():1-15.
    [PubMed ID: 26313334]
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  • A multisensor approach to improve manometric analysis of the upper esophageal sphincter.
    Jones CA, Ciucci MR, Hammer MJ, McCulloch TM
    Laryngoscope 2015 Aug 22.
    [PubMed ID: 26297859, PMC ID: 4548824]
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  • Evidence for early and progressive ultrasonic vocalization and oromotor deficits in a PINK1 gene knockout rat model of Parkinson's disease.
    Grant LM, Kelm-Nelson CA, Hilby BL, Blue KV, Paul Rajamanickam ES, Pultorak JD, Fleming SM, Ciucci MR
    J. Neurosci. Res. 2015 Nov; 93(11):1713-27.
    [PubMed ID: 26234713, PMC ID: 4575652]
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  • Relationships among rat ultrasonic vocalizations, behavioral measures of striatal dopamine loss, and striatal tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity at acute and chronic time points following unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine-induced dopamine depletion.
    Grant LM, Barnett DG, Doll EJ, Leverson G, Ciucci M
    Behav. Brain Res. 2015 Sep 15; 291():361-71.
    [PubMed ID: 26026785, PMC ID: 4497944]
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  • Changes in Rat 50-kHz Ultrasonic Vocalizations During Dopamine Denervation and Aging: Relevance to Neurodegeneration.
    Johnson AM, Grant LM, Schallert T, Ciucci MR
    Curr Neuropharmacol 2015; 13(2):211-9.
    [PubMed ID: 26411763, PMC ID: 4598432]
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  • Vocalization deficits in mice over-expressing alpha-synuclein, a model of pre-manifest Parkinson's disease.
    Grant LM, Richter F, Miller JE, White SA, Fox CM, Zhu C, Chesselet MF, Ciucci MR
    Behav. Neurosci. 2014 Apr; 128(2):110-21.
    [PubMed ID: 24773432, PMC ID: 4079049]
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  • Morphological and behavioral impact of AAV2/5-mediated overexpression of human wildtype alpha-synuclein in the rat nigrostriatal system.
    Gombash SE, Manfredsson FP, Kemp CJ, Kuhn NC, Fleming SM, Egan AE, Grant LM, Ciucci MR, MacKeigan JP, Sortwell CE
    PLoS ONE 2013; 8(11):e81426.
    [PubMed ID: 24312298, PMC ID: 3842242]
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  • Early identification and treatment of communication and swallowing deficits in Parkinson disease.
    Ciucci MR, Grant LM, Rajamanickam ES, Hilby BL, Blue KV, Jones CA, Kelm-Nelson CA
    Semin Speech Lang 2013 Aug; 34(3):185-202.
    [PubMed ID: 24166192, PMC ID: 4477682]
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