Michelle R Ciucci, PhD


Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

(608) 263-0192

1300 University Ave
MC 1509
Madison, WI 53706


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

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 the 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. She 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

Dr. Michelle Ciucci and Dr. Nadine Connor were recently awarded a five-year, $3.8 million federal research grant to study swallowing problems that can occur in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Read more here.

Recent Publications

  • Early ultrasonic vocalization deficits and related thyroarytenoid muscle pathology in the transgenic TgF344-AD rat model of Alzheimer's disease.
    Rudisch DM, Krasko MN, Barnett DGS, Mueller KD, Russell JA, Connor NP, Ciucci MR
    Front Behav Neurosci 2023; 17: 1294648
    [PubMed ID: 38322496]

  • Tongue and laryngeal exercises improve tongue strength and vocal function outcomes in a Pink1-/- rat model of early Parkinson disease.
    Broadfoot CK, Hoffmeister JD, Lechner SA, Krasko MN, Lambert E, Russell JA, Szot JC, Glass TJ, Connor NP, Kelm-Nelson CA, Ciucci MR
    Behav Brain Res 2024 Mar 05; 460: 114754
    [PubMed ID: 37981125]

  • Dysphagia in Parkinson Disease: Part I - Pathophysiology and Diagnostic Practices.
    Rudisch DM, Krasko MN, Burdick R, Broadfoot CK, Rogus-Pulia N, Ciucci MR
    Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 2023 Jun; 11(2): 176-187
    [PubMed ID: 37608845]

  • Pink1-/- Rats Demonstrate Swallowing and Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Model of Prodromal Parkinson Disease.
    Krasko MN, Szot J, Lungova K, Rowe LM, Leverson G, Kelm-Nelson CA, Ciucci MR
    Dysphagia 2023 Oct; 38(5): 1382-1397
    [PubMed ID: 36949296]

  • Changes in ultrasonic vocalizations after unilateral cerebral ischemia in a rat stroke model.
    Cullins MJ, Lenell C, Ciucci MR, Connor NP
    Behav Brain Res 2023 Feb 15; 439: 114252
    [PubMed ID: 36496078]

All Publications on PubMed