Perry and Kollara-Sunil research unique clinical population through Cleft Palate Foundation grant

Dr. Jamie Perry, assistant professor, and Lakshmi Kollara-Sunil, a second year doctoral student,  both in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, have a newly funded grant from the Cleft Palate Foundation.


Dr. Jamie Perry


Lakshmi Kollara-Sunil

In their work, they are using dynamic magnetic resonance imaging during speech to examine the musculature in a unique clinical population – 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. This study will represent the first published findings of speech muscles among this clinical population. Data will provide insight into the unique muscle and cranial variations among these children.

22q11.2 deletion syndrome is caused by the deletion of part of Chromosome 22. It affects an estimated 1 in 4,000 people. The features of this syndrome vary considerably; however, common signs and symptoms include heart abnormalities, cleft palate and distinct facial features. Individuals with this syndrome may develop autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Graves disease.  Children with this syndrome experience developmental delays including speech development delays and learning disabilities.

Both Dr. Perry and Kollara-Sunil expect the study will impact the surgical and clinical treatment plans and improve the speech outcomes following surgery.

According to the foundation website, the Cleft Palate Foundation (CPF) has funded research related to cleft and craniofacial anomalies since 1989. CPF has awarded over half a million dollars in research funding with the grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Such funds are awarded based on criteria such as the significance or importance of the proposed research in the field of health care and the relevance of the proposed research to the field of cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial abnormalities.

For more information about the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders visit the department website.

For more information about the Cleft Palate Foundation click here.