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Laboratory of Applied Swallowing Research

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The Laboratory of Applied Swallowing & Research (LASR) seeks to enhance our understanding of healthy and impaired swallowing, known as dysphagia, with the goal of improving patient outcomes.

The research focuses on various aspects, including the coordination of breathing and swallowing in conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), changes in sensorimotor swallowing related to aging and disease and the effectiveness of different doses in swallowing treatments.

Student Involvement

The LASR provides classroom instruction in evidence-based evaluation and treatment of individuals having trouble with swallowing. Its faculty provide hands-on learning opportunities for students to enhance their classroom instruction, such as fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and manometry.

Participate in a Study

The LASR is always recruiting individuals with a history of swallowing difficulty or COPD to participate in our studies.

If you or someone you know has a history of swallowing difficulty and would like to participate in one of our studies, contact or call 817-257-6887.

Difficulty swallowing symptoms may include:

  • Coughing when eating or drinking.
  • Sensation of food getting stuck in your throat.
  • Difficulty clearing food from your mouth when eating.

Symptoms above may occur with chronic respiratory infection or pneumonia.

Research Areas

Dosing and Efficacy of Swallowing Treatment

Focusing on evidence-based dysphagia practice, LASR aims to create effective treatments that enhance the swallow's physiology after injury or disease.

Dysphagia in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Role of Breathing and Swallowing Coordination

Examining the mechanisms related to reduced breathing and swallowing coordination in individuals with COPD and how discoordination contributes to abnormal swallowing physiology.

Sensorimotor Swallowing Changes in Aging and Disease

Identify physiological changes in swallowing in presbyphagia or dysphagia to inform clinical practice evaluation and treatment methods.

Lead Faculty

Teresa Drulia, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor in the Davies School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at TCU and director of the LASR. Drulia earned her degrees from James Madison University and has over 20 years’ experience in various medical settings, sparking her research interest in mechanisms contributing to swallowing impairment and improving the quality of life for adults and geriatrics with dysphagia. She has worked to develop competencies in techniques like videofluoroscopy and FEES, teaches courses related to neurological substrates of communication and swallowing, and consults on complex dysphagia cases in the Miller Clinic.