Johnson Lab Team | NYU Langone Health

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Johnson Lab Johnson Lab Team

Johnson Lab Team

The Johnson Lab at NYU Langone comprises a team of dedicated research professionals with broad expertise in speech–language pathology; vocal performance, health, and pedagogy; singing and music education; and laryngeal disorders.


Aaron M. Johnson, PhD, MM, CCC-SLP

Dr. Johnson is a researcher and speech–language pathologist specializing in voice habilitation and rehabilitation. He is an associate professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine (Rusk Rehabilitation) at NYU Langone, and a member of NYU Langone’s Voice Center. His research laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health, uses novel translational research methods to examine the effects of vocal training on laryngeal neuromuscular mechanisms in the aging larynx. As a clinician, he works with his physician colleagues to diagnose and treat voice disorders in performing artists. Both his research and clinical interests stem from his previous decade-long career as a professional classical singer and teacher of singing. He is actively involved in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is currently serving as President of the Pan American Vocology Association.


Elizabeth Severa

Elizabeth received her BS from Binghamton University, where she majored in integrative neuroscience and minored in chemistry as well as health and wellness studies. While an undergraduate, she spent two years as a research assistant studying drug addiction in multiple labs using behavioral and biochemical approaches. Elizabeth joined the Johnson Lab as an assistant research technician, and currently works on projects addressing muscles in the tongue and larynx, and vocal training in rodents. She is passionate about science and conducting research with the potential to help others and propel scientific discovery forward. Outside of the lab, her interests include biking, cooking, and taking walks on the High Line.


Denis Michael Rudisch, MM, MA

Denis joined Dr. Johnson’s laboratory in Spring 2020 and is involved in many different research projects as an investigator and intern researcher. He received his BA, MA, and Artist Diploma in musical theater performance from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. He holds a MM in vocal performance from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development as well as a post-graduate Advanced Certificate in vocal pedagogy with a vocology focus. Denis has performed in more than 35 professional theater productions in Europe and also worked as an official voice coach, music director, director, pianist, and vocal supervisor for many renowned theaters in Germany. He was a faculty member of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich for more than six years and worked as an adjunct voice instructor at New York University. He is currently teaching a vocal pedagogy tutorial for the University of Applied Sciences Osnabruck (Institute of Music). Denis is specialized in voice habilitation and rehabilitation for the professional singer and works as a referral singing voice specialist and a private voice instructor. He is a proud member of the Pan American Vocology Association, the Voice Foundation, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the New York Singing Teachers’ Association.


Raquel Tripp

Raquel Tripp is a graduate student in speech–language pathology at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She earned her undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary, where she studied neuroscience and jazz vocal performance, and was an active member of far too many vocal ensembles. She then spent several years after graduation teaching music and general education at the primary level and working as a private singing teacher. A referral for voice therapy motivated her to return to graduate school, and she hopes to focus her future clinical work on voice disorders, particularly of the professional voice. Raquel is currently conducting research on the use of crowdsourcing to collect auditory-perceptual data on listener estimates of talker age. Her other areas of clinical interest include tongue and jaw tension, muscle tension dysphonia, the relationship between orofacial myology and voice, and advocacy for vocal health education for teachers and other professional voice users. She continues to perform jazz in and around New York City.


Farrah Pukin

Farrah graduated from Purdue University with a BS in speech–language and hearing sciences with a concentration in pre-medicine. She is currently a graduate student completing her MS in communication sciences and disorders and is interested in completing further research in the field of voice. Farrah joined the Johnson Lab in April 2020 and is interested in the effects of behavioral voice therapy and clinical outcomes in patients and musical performers with voice disorders undergoing surgical or behavioral interventions. In her spare time, Farrah likes to play the piano, sing, and hike.


Deanna Goudelias

Deanna Goudelias received her BM in music education from Bucknell University in 2019. After developing bilateral nodules and participating in voice therapy for many months, Deanna became increasingly interested in speech–language pathology. She is currently pursuing her MS in communicative sciences and disorders at New York University. Deanna joined the lab in June 2020 and has worked on projects that include acoustical analyses, laryngeal high-resolution MRIs, and awesome beatboxing sounds. Deanna loves singing in choirs, ice skating, and taking extremely long walks.


Sarah Kervin

Singer, songwriter, and speech–language pathologist-in-training Sarah Kervin splits her time between the worlds of vocal artistry and clinical voice rehabilitation. Hailing from Atlanta, she studied classical and jazz voice and saxophone at the University of South Carolina and the University of North Texas. Sarah worked as a pop singer-songwriter, pianist, and voice teacher in New York City for almost a decade before moving north to be closer to Boston. She has been teaching voice at Berklee College of Music since 2014 and also manages the Silver Arrow Band for weddings and events in the New England area. Following a voice injury of her own, Sarah became passionate about helping other singers maintain and rehabilitate their healthiest, most powerful voices. She is currently pursuing her MS in communicative sciences and disorders with an emphasis in voice research at New York University.


Santiago Sanchez

Santiago Sanchez Jr. discovered the world of singing at the late age of 17 when he auditioned for Phantom of The Opera. He went to York College of Pennsylvania and pursued a BA in vocal performance and music industry recording technology with a minor in musical theatre. He participated in a couple of independent studies focused on vocal pedagogy, which propelled him into the field of speech–language pathology. He attended West Chester University to complete his pre-graduate requirements and is currently pursuing his MS in communicative sciences and disorders at New York University. His research interests include the larynx and the underlying factors that cause phono traumatic damage. Other areas of interest include investigating the genetic factors of vocal injury, paresis and paralysis, and understanding the demands of the voice on the professional singer. He is looking to expand his views and explore other research topics to gain better knowledge and insight into the world of voice disorders.


Bern Tan, MM

Bern holds a BA from the University of Chicago, and a MM in vocal performance and Advanced Certificate in vocal pedagogy from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. A New York City-based actor, singer, and voice teacher, he has sung professionally in operas, musical theater, barbershop, contemporary commercial music, choral, and religious settings in three continents. He maintains a voice studio in New York and thoroughly enjoys preparing his students for auditions for Broadway, national tours, Off-Broadway shows, regional productions, film and television, and voice-over work. Bern loves geeking out about voice science with this group of researchers and, as a curious jack-of-a-few-trades, often relies on his friends and colleagues to ground his enthusiasm in a bit of reality. He has also been certified in EpicCare Ambulatory while working for an electronic medical records company. Research areas of interest include vibrato, registrations and mixed-registrations in singing, sustainability, and vocal health in musical theater.


Melissa Ford

Melissa is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy’s Musical Theatre Integrated Conservatory and received her BFA from The New School University. She actively performs in Off-Broadway plays, cabarets, and television and film productions, while also maintaining her private voice studio. She is currently finishing her MS in communicative sciences and disorders from New York University to further her knowledge of the voice and to work with injured singers as a singing voice specialist. She has a special interest in belting and vocal pedagogy as applied to musical theatre.


Adrianna C. Shembel, PhD, MA

Dr. Shembel received her postdoctoral training at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where she spent two-and-a-half years in Dr. Johnson’s lab studying the effects of increased vocal demands on senescent laryngeal muscle, including neuromuscular junction morphology, muscle fiber size and composition, and acoustic correlates. Dr. Shembel, a licensed speech–language pathologist, has practiced in a variety of outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation settings, diagnosing and treating patients with voice and breathing disorders. As an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and Southwestern, she investigates the effects of increased neuromuscular demands on the vocal subsystems.

Charles Lenell, PhD, MS

Charlie received his PhD at New York University in 2020 with Dr. Aaron Johnson serving as his primary mentor. Currently, Charlie is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The primary focus of his research is evaluation and treatment of laryngeal disorders, particularly voice and swallowing disorders. His current research aims to elucidate how sex hormones affect vocal fold biology.