Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory

The Voice Biomechanics and Acoustics Laboratory (V-BAL) is housed in the Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. Eric J. Hunter, Ph.D., is the lead investigator. We are a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from a wide variety of fields including Acoustics, Communications, Economics, Engineering, Epidemiology, Health Care, Immersive Technology, Linguistics, Music, Physics, Psychology, Education — and, of course, Communication Sciences & Disorders.

About V-BAL

VBAL’s research direction is multi-faceted and interdisciplinary, including:

  • the acoustics of voice production and perception
  • the physiology and biomechanics of the laryngeal system
  • the mechanisms of association between voice, swallowing, and coughing
  • occupational voice disorders and vocal health
  • the effects of acoustic sound propagation in a room on talkers and listeners
  • the effects on vocal health due to behavior, physiology, biomechanics, and environment.

VBAL members are given a great deal of autonomy to pursue aspects of our research that interest them while supporting the general mission of the lab. In so doing, they learn to work in multi-disciplinary teams and to appreciate the valuable synergy which stems from these types of collaborations.

Open Positions

We are always looking for great students and other researchers to join us. Students and researchers in the lab will not only have the opportunity to participate in the principal investigator's projects but will be encouraged to find their own projects that spark their interest. They will gain practice with interdisciplinary collaborations and research team dynamics while learning about the research process through authoring papers, conference presentations, and small proposals.

Candidates with experience in one or more of the following areas are encouraged to inquire about opportunities: acoustics and instrumentation, big data, biomechanical modeling, applied computational science, signal processing, voice and speech science, and voice disorders. Training will be given in the specific areas of our funded research, along with opportunities to learn important skills like mentoring/teaching, grant writing, scientific dissemination, team development and program management. Our goal is to help you become a successful independent academician. Postdoctoral researchers will be expected to remain with VBAL for at least 1 year, with preference given to candidates who can remain for 18 months to 2 years. The goal is that all doctoral candidates can receive funding for 4 years to complete their program requirements.

VBAL welcomes students from a variety of programs looking for multi-disciplinary research opportunities. Because of the investment needed to train lab members, all lab members must volunteer for at least one semester (5-10hr/week), but an ideal candidate would be interested in multiple semesters (A minimum of 2 semesters is required before letters of recommendation will be provided for graduate school applications). After the initial semester, there may be an opportunity to transition into paid positions.

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