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Student Profile: Uzma Wilson

What were your previous program(s) of study or experiences?

My undergraduate studies were in the areas of Cell & Molecular Biology and Chemistry with a strong pre-medical focus. During this time, I also worked in the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Missouri State University, where I was introduced to the world of Communication Sciences and Disorders and later decided to pursue a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree. While completing my clinical training in Audiology, I was also involved in several auditory research projects at Washington University in St. Louis, which eventually led me to pursue a PhD at Northwestern.

What are your research interests?

As a clinically-trained audiologist, my research interests are aimed at improving current diagnostic tools in audiological assessment while also understanding the basic inner workings of the auditory system.

What is a project that are you working on now?

Currently, I am using otoacoustic emissions (sounds emitted from the inner ear) to better understand normal and impaired physiological processes. These measures are not routinely used in conventional audiological protocols, but hold great promise as a sensitive tool for detecting changes in auditory function due to aging or toxicity.

What made you choose Northwestern’s CSD department?

Aside from Northwestern’s beautiful campus, the quality of translational research and researchers, state-of-the-art facilities, and level of academic, financial, and research support were some of the most important factors in my decision to choose Northwestern.

What resources or characteristics of Northwestern enable your research?

I have personally benefited from various resources Northwestern has to offer, including special student access to software for data processing and statistical analysis, workshops on various data analysis, data visualization, and statistical approaches, and support for attending and presenting research at professional conferences. The Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders specifically has a plethora of research support for students. Just to name a few: the department regularly invites translational and basic scientists from various research institutes to present their research, hosts annual student research presentation days as an opportunity for me to present my own research, and offers workshops in Matlab and R periodically as additional support. All of these resources, in addition to invaluable faculty support and mentorship, contribute tremendously to the quality of my overall research training.

What are your professional goals?

Ultimately, I would like to be a principal investigator of my own laboratory that addresses translational and theoretical questions on objective measures of hearing. My hope is to contribute to the amelioration of current audiological protocols so that impairments of the auditory system can be detected early, with higher accuracy and more efficiency.