We are pleased to announce that Marja-Liisa Mailend, PhD, has recently joined our team of Institute Scientists at MRRI. Dr. Mailend’s academic training began with a clinical focus at the University of Tartu in Estonia where she received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology. During her early scientific training, she realized the critical need for further development of a solid evidence base for clinical care. This, combined with her passion for research and scientific thinking, drove her to pursue a doctoral degree. Dr. Mailend was awarded her Ph.D. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona where she had an opportunity to work with several exceptional researchers. In 2017, Dr. Mailend came to MRRI where she trained as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Erica Middleton, PhD, and Laurel Buxbaum, PsyD.
Research in Dr. Mailend’s new laboratory focuses on improving our understanding of impairments of phonological encoding and motor planning for speech. She applies theoretical models of typical speech production to elucidate the underlying impairments in apraxia of speech (a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult to speak) and aphasia (an acquired language impairment that impairs one’s ability to express and understand language). The ultimate goal of Dr. Mailend’s research program is to develop theory-driven assessments and treatments to help people with speech and language impairments lead independent and fulfilling lives.
Dr. Mailend’s work complements ongoing research at the Institute in the area of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive rehabilitation, and she looks forward to continuing to build collaborations with other world-class researchers both within and outside of MRRI.