Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. It can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person’s eyes.
— Oliver Sacks


Viv Dickens attended the 2nd annual MRtrix3 workshop in Antwerp, Belgium Sept. 8-13! This workshop focused on the application of state-of-the-art software for analyzing white matter structure in the brain.

Kelly Michaelis, Maryam Ghaleh, & Viv Dickens presented their work on speech perception, working memory, and neuropsychological assessment of reading at the 2019 Society for the Neurobiology of Language meeting in Helsinki!

Peter Turkeltaub starred as the neurologist in a children’s book about aphasia, called “Now I Understand Aphasia.” Check it out!

Our phenomenal graduate student Kelly Michaelis defended her dissertation in July! Congrats, Dr. Michaelis! She will begin her post-doctoral fellowship at NINDS with Dr. Leo Cohen in the fall.

Graduate student Kelly Martin was selected to be a part of the Neural Injury and Recovery training grant.

Congrats to graduating seniors Vanessa Lim and Jenny Zack!

Liz Dvorak presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia, PA

Congrats! Research Assistant Stephen Tranchina will matriculate to Georgetown University School of Medicine’s class of 2023!

Congrats! Graduate student Viv Dickens was awarded an NIDCD National Research Service Award (F30)!

Congrats! Research Assistant Liz Dvorak successfully earned her MA in Psychology from American University!

Candace van der Stelt and Elizabeth Lacey presented at the 2019 annual meeting of Apashia Access in Baltimore, Maryland


Stroke Comeback Club - The Slow Road to Better

Listen in as Dr. Turkeltaub answers questions directly from people living with aphasia!

In this episode, the group asks Dr. Peter Turkeltaub all things aphasia...and how to pronounce his name.

For more podcasts on The Slow Road to Better,  click here



Congrats! Graduating senior Mary Henderson accepted a lab manager position at Penn State University

Maryam Ghaleh presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the Academy of Aphasia in Montreal, Canada

Andrew DeMarco presented at the 6th Biennial Conference on Resting State and Brain Connectivity in Montreal, Canada

Kelly Michaelis and Vivian Dickens presented at the 10th annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language in Quebec City, Canada

Kelly Michaelis presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping in Suntec City, Singapore

Maryam Ghaleh awarded
NIDCD sponsored Academy of Aphasia Young Investigator Travel Fellowship

CRL welcomes new research assistant, Liz Dvorak

CRL welcomes new lab manager, Candace van der Stelt, MS, CCC-SLP

CRL welcomes new research assistant, Stephen Tranchina

CRL welcomes new PhD Student, Kelly Martin

Congrats! Zainab Anbari accepted into a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Biomedical Sciences program

Congrats! Maria DeGraba accepted into Masters of Social Work program at the University of Maryland

Congrats! Mackenzie Fama successfully defended her dissertation and accepted a role as an Assistant Professor of speech language pathology at Towson University

Mackenzie Fama presented at the 2018 annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Boston, Massachusetts

Mackenzie Fama presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the Clinical Aphasiology Conference in Austin, Texas 


Mackenzie Fama presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Academy of Aphasia in Baltimore, Maryland 

Congrats! Mary Henderson on her induction into the 2017 Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society

Dr. Peter Turkeltaub awarded
2017 GUMC Research Recognition Award

Mackenzie Fama awarded
2017 Dr. Zofia Zukowska Award for Excellence in Thesis Research

Ayan Mandal awarded
2017 Barry Goldwater Scholarship

2017 Congrats graduating CRL seniors!

Dr. Peter Turkeltaub awarded
2017 Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral Neurology

For more information:

CRL welcomes new PhD Student, Vivian Dickens

2017 CRL welcomes new post-doc fellow, Andrew DeMarco

Andrew DeMarco will be joining the CRL as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. Andrew successfully defended his dissertation titled, "Neural substrates of phonological processing in individuals with chronic aphasia from stroke" in December 2016 to receive his PhD in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona. His research will focus on the use of structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of aphasia and other acquired neurogenic disorders.


Happy Holidays and Happy New year from the Cognitive Recovery Lab

Georgetown University Department of Neurology Holiday Party 2016


2016 American Society of NeuroRehabilitation (ASNR)

Ayan Mandal ASNR 2016.jpg

"Successful Self-Monitoring of Speech Errors Depends on Frontal White Matter Tracts"

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"The Proportion of Critical Area Damaged (PCAD) as a Predictor of Behavioral Outcome in Chronic Aphasia"

2016 Congrats and best wishes to post-doctoral scholar, Dr. Laura Skipper-Kallal as she continues her work in science and technology as a AAAS Fellow!

2016 Congratulations to Dr. William Hayward on successfully defending his Doctoral Thesis


"Objective Support for the Subjective Report of Successful Inner Speech in People with Aphasia"


2016 Congratulations to Dr. Laura C. Erickson on successfully defending her Doctoral Thesis


"Examination of Audiovisual Speech Processes, The McGurk Effect and the Heteromodal Superior Temporal Sulcus in the Human Brain Across Numerous Approaches".


Safe travels to Post-Doctoral Researcher and Lab Member, Dr. Shihui Xing, as he returns home to China following a two year research fellowship with the Cognitive Recovery Lab!

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2015 Happy Holidays from the Cognitive Recovery Lab

Georgetown University Department of Neurology Holiday Party 2015

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New Published Study Findings!


Georgetown University

November 6, 2015 – A new Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) study has found that the right side of the brain can take on speech duties when a stroke damages that function on the left side.

The journal Brain today published the study, the first to look at brain structure and gray matter volume in stroke-related speech recovery, and is contradictory to what many neurologists have debated for more than a century.

“Over the past decade, researchers have increasingly suggested that the right hemisphere interferes with good recovery of language after left hemisphere strokes,” explains Dr. Peter Turkeltaub, assistant professor of neurology at GUMC. “Our results suggest the opposite – that right hemisphere compensation improves recovery.”


Turkeltaub and his colleagues show in the study that patients who have regained their voice have more gray matter volume in the back of their brains’ right hemispheres compared with those who have not experienced a stroke.

“Our study indicates growth in these brain areas that relates to better speech production after a stroke,” says Turkeltaub who also directs the aphasia clinic at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network (NRH).

And while not likely to end the debate, the new information suggests a new direction in treatment.


Approximately one-third of stroke survivors lose speech and language — a disorder called aphasia.

Most never fully regain their ability to speak.

Turkeltaub says loss of speech occurs in roughly 70 percent of people with left hemisphere strokes have language problems.

“We found that patients who had better than expected speech abilities after their stroke had more gray matter in the back of the right hemisphere compared to stroke patients with worse speech,” the professor explains. “Those areas of the right hemisphere were also larger in the stroke survivors than in the control group.”


Turkeltaub, a member of the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery at Georgetown and MedStar NRH, and his colleagues are continuing their study, looking for areas that compensate for other aspects of language use, such as comprehension of speech.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences via the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (KL2TR000102), the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2012062), and other entities supported this research.

See link:


New Published Study Findings! Postdoctoral researcher, Shihui Xing M Sc. Ph.D., publishes new research findings in Brain. "Right hemisphere grey matter structure and language outcomes in chronic left hemisphere stroke 

Congratulations to Mackenzie Fama for receiving the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Century Scholars Doctoral Scholarship (2015-2016)!

Congratulations to Laura Erickson for receiving the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Metropolitan Washington Chapter Scholar Award (2015-2016)!

2015 Conferences and Travel!

Academy of Aphasia (Arizona): Presenter: Maryam Ghaleh, Ph.D "Phonotactic awareness deficit following left-hemisphere stroke" Tuesday Oct 20th, 2015

Society for Neuroscience (Chicago): Presenter: Laura Kallal, Ph.D "Task-based connectivity between the inferior frontal lobes increases following left hemisphere stroke and is associated with worse naming performance" Tuesday. Oct 20th, 2015

Presenter: Laura Erickson "Audiovisual speech perception and presence of the McGurk effect in left­-hemisphere stroke patients and matched control participants" Tuesday. Oct 20th, 2015

Presenter: Shihui Xing, M.Sc/Ph.D. "White matter connectivity in ventral language pathway supports residual speech comprehension in chronic post-stroke aphasia" Monday, Oct 19th, 2015

Society of Neurobiology of Language (Chicago): Presenter: Laura Kallal, Ph.D. "Psychophysiological interaction analysis reveals increased connectivity between the inferior frontal lobes following left hemisphere stroke related to worse naming performance" Friday Oct 16th, 2015

Presenter: Mackenzie Fama "The effects of healthy aging and left hemisphere stroke on statistical language learning" Friday, Oct, 16th, 2015

Presenter: Laura Erickson "Audiovisual speech perception and presence of the McGurk effect in left­-hemisphere stroke patients and matched control participants" Saturday Oct, 17, 2015

Georgetown University Student Research Day Presenter: Mackenzie Fama "The effects of healthy aging and left hemisphere stroke on statistical language learning" Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015

Presenter: Laura Erickson "Audiovisual speech perception and presence of the McGurk effect in left­-hemisphere stroke patients and matched controls" Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015



MedStar National Rehabilitation Network - Posted on September 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Sept. 9, 2015 – “On the tip of my tongue” is a much-used phrase—and familiar experience to many. For most of us, this momentary search for a word is a simple annoyance. For those suffering from aphasia, it’s a frustrating and isolating, everyday reality.


Millions of Americans suffer from aphasia—an acquired impairment of language and communication as a result of stroke or another type of brain injury. While current therapies can be effective, they have limitations. So when MedStar NRH Researcher Peter Turkeltaub, MD, PhD, observed a phenomenon while treating patients, he recognized a potential for progress.


“Many people with aphasia describe experiencing inner speech. While searching for a word, they will say it to themselves. They hear the ‘inner speech” in their heads, but can’t say it aloud. Some patients experience this all of the time—some feel it only occasionally,” says Dr. Turkeltaub, director of the MedStar NRH Aphasia Clinic.


“When we think of aphasia, we think of people struggling, but failing, to find the right word. But those people with inner speech experience something different. They find the word—and go a step further. They hear it spoken in their minds, yet can’t say it aloud,” Dr. Turkeltaub explains.


“The problem may be that the mouth can’t move properly to form the sound. We want to know why some people experience this phenomena—while others do not. Ultimately, we want to understand how this might impact future aphasia therapy.” NIDCD Grant


Dr. Turkeltaub and his colleagues conducted a preliminary study of a small sample of patients with promising results: Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed experienced the phenomenon. Also, their reports about inner speech were related to the particular part of the brain affected by the stroke, and even predicted which words they would relearn during speech therapy.


Now Dr. Turkeltaub has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to explore the concept further.*


“Successful inner speech is hard to verify,” Dr. Turkeltaub says. “It hasn’t been investigated at all in aphasia—except for a study published in 1976 that examined self-reporting of ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ sensations. We hope this new study will build on this and on our own preliminary research,” he adds. 


This new investigation has three key objectives:Understand how common the sense of successful inner speech is among people with aphasia and who is most likely to report it;Examine the relationship between the sense of successful inner speech and the psychological processes of word-finding; andExamine whether brain activity patterns during word-finding reflect the perception of success or failure of inner speech.


Dr. Turkeltaub and his team hope to recruit approximately 50 men and women who have aphasia as a result of a stroke. Participants will first be surveyed about their inner speech experiences and information will be collected about their diagnoses and the location of their strokes.


A subset of participants will also be asked to participate in a series of tests of inner and out loud word recognition, while undergoing functional MRI. Imaging will examine brain activity when patients are calling these words to mind.New Therapy Approaches


Investigators hope that results will help to clarify if patients who are more likely to experience inner speech share certain characteristics—information that may help to identify a subset of patients for whom a modification in traditional therapy might enhance recovery. 


“Aphasia is very difficult for patients and the people around them,” says Dr. Turkeltaub. “We have made progress in therapy in recent years. There are also medications we prescribe that may improve memory and language. At MedStar NRH, we’re looking at the use of transcranial direct current stimulation to increase recovery for people with aphasia. And we are studying other ways to boost brain plasticity, as well.


“Still, this research could provide us with a new way to guide individualized aphasia therapy, and could fundamentally change the way we understand the experience of having aphasia,” Dr. Turkeltaub adds.


*This is the third grant the lab has received from NIDCD on inner speech in the past year. Two of Dr. Turkeltaub’s graduate students, William Hayward and Mackenzie Fama, won National Research Service Award training grants from NIDCD to study inner speech in aphasia.


See link:{}

December 2014: Annual Department of Neurology Holiday Party

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CRLab presents in multiple formats at Society for Neuroscience 2014 Conference
Laura Skipper-Kallal was selected to give a Nanosymposium Talk
Kate Spiegel presented a poster on her undergraduate honors thesis
Mackenzie Fama presented a poster on authorship issues

Kate becomes Lab Manager!
Alexa goes to the Physician's Assistant program at George Washington University!


Click here for the slides to Peter's Talk at Speaking Out! on April 20, 2013

Welcome to the lab, Laura Skipper!
Thank you, John Vernon and the Vernon Family Fund for continuing to support our research!
William submitted his NRSA!

William passed his oral comps!

Peter was on the Diane Rehm Show talking about aphasia and stroke recovery.
Click here to hear Dr. Turkeltaub speak about stroke as a guest on the Diane Rehm Show.

Peter joined the board of the National Aphasia Association

William presented his first poster at HBM!

William passed his written comps!

Laura passed her oral comps!

Mackenzie got into the IPN!

Welcome to the lab, Kate!

Peter won a KL2 grant to add neuroimaging to the tDCS trial!

William is an MD/PhD student!

Peter is featured in a Neurology Today article about language 


GUMC Update highlights our research on stroke recovery

Thank you to John Vernon and the Vernon Family Fund for their generous donation to our research!

The tDCS trial for aphasia is on

Daily Mail (UK) article on one of our SFN presentations
Science Daily article on the same presentation
Healthline article on the same presentation

Elizabeth and Greg got married!

Welcome to the lab, Elizabeth!

Welcome to the lab, Adaeze, Claire, and Lauren!

Peter won a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award

Georgetown officially launches the new Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery

Welcome to Georgetown, Elissa and Ted!
Welcome to the lab, William!

Aphasia Clinic featured in NRH today

Mackenzie gave a great talk at Clinical Aphasiology!

Laura won an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!