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West Bloomfield Resident Wins Prestigious Research Award

Wayne State assistant professor Shelly Jo Kraft travels to Italy to receive the Manuel Garcia Prize.

West Bloomfield resident Shelly Jo Kraft receives the Manuel Garcia Prize. Photo credit: Wayne State University
West Bloomfield resident Shelly Jo Kraft receives the Manuel Garcia Prize. Photo credit: Wayne State University
West Bloomfield resident Shelly Jo Kraft, 33, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Wayne State University, recently traveled to Torino, Italy, to accept the prestigious Manuel Garcia Prize for her research. 

Presented during the opening ceremony of the 29th International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP) World Congress, the award is named after Manuel Garcia, a 19th century singer, music educator, vocal pedagogue and inventor of the laryngoscope.

“Being a young investigator, I was pleasantly shocked when I received the award notification,” says Kraft, a trade geneticist and speech and language pathologist. “It’s an honor to be included in a list with so many outstanding scientists from around the world.”

She received the 2013 award in recognition of the article “Genetic Bases of Stuttering: The State of the Art, 2011.” The article, which gives a historical overview of research done on the genetics of stuttering, is recognized among the top contributions to the IALP’s official journal Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica.

Kraft's current research aims to discover genes contributing to the disorder of stuttering in families and unrelated individuals worldwide. She is collecting DNA samples and working with colleagues in Australia, Ireland and Canada.

Additionally, she is investigating cognitive factors that contribute to stuttering severity in children and adults and is a principal investigator on an international project using imaging genetics to study stuttering.

“We’re beginning to understand how the genetics interplay with speech and language production, and how they contribute to disorders,” Kraft notes. “Advancements in technology are allowing us to finally do this.”

Source: Wayne State University press release

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