College of Health Professions

Date of Last Revision

2023-05-08 14:13:20


Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Honors Course


Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2023


Addressing difficulties with swallowing is a small, yet critical portion of a speech-language pathologist’s role. Infants often experience challenges associated with swallowing safely, yet the ability of SLPs to prescribe effective interventions is limited by the lack of knowledge on how anatomy and physiology interact to drive these challenges. The goal of my Honors Research Project is to address this lack of knowledge by determining how the infant pig tongue moves during feeding from a bottle versus drinking from a bowl, as well as how the muscles controlling the tongue differ in these behaviors. I used infant pigs for this project, since they have the same swallowing mechanisms as human infants. Video data was processed by digitally tracking radio-opaque beads from videos in 3-D in XMALab. Electromyographic data, processed using an established workflow, was utilized to determine muscle activity. By combining these two metrics, I contributed to our understanding of how infants transition to solid foods, providing critical insight on the physiology of this change in feeding. These results will be useful in determining what anatomical and physiological changes occur to better inform clinical practice in helping infants with feeding difficulties.

This content of this research article was submitted to the Journal of Integrated and Comparative Biology, awaiting review.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Angela Reif

First Reader

Dr. Christopher Mayerl

Second Reader

Dr. Rebecca Z German

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. James Steiger

Proprietary and/or Confidential Information




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