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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

South Carolina Doctoral Candidate Wins National Award to Support Dissertation Research

Communication sciences and disorders (COMD) doctoral candidate Mr. Karim Johari, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, has been awarded the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders Ph.D. Scholarship. This is the second major award for Mr. Johari in the past year. In the fall of 2017, he was one of the first two students to receive a Graduate Scholar in Aging Research Award — an annual award/stipend supported by the generosity of Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold to honor outstanding graduate students who exemplify the highest standards of scholarship focused on aging.

[Photo: Mr. Karim Johari]

Despite the need for COMD researchers and clinicians, there is a shortage of faculty/scholars in the field. The Council awards ten $20,000 scholarships annually to support future COMD researchers while they complete their dissertation research. The scholarships are open to all PhD candidates in accredited COMD programs. They are awarded based on demonstrated success in scientific scholarship, such as journal publications, and a commitment to pursuing an academic career in the field.

Mr. Johari will use the scholarship to extend a current project focusing on the effects of neurostimulation on speech and hand movement function in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The primary objective for his dissertation research is to validate High Definition transcranial Direct Current Stimulation over the motor cortex as a potential clinical method to improve speech and hand movement in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“The underlying mechanisms of impaired speech and hand movement have been extensively studied in patients with Parkinson’s Disease,” Mr. Johari explains. “However, there is critical gap and lack of knowledge on how we can ameliorate these impairments for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.”

Findings from this research may provide preliminary data for future clinical trials using these techniques. Using High Definition transcranial Direct Current Stimulation could prove to be a novel method for improving motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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