The Harvard-MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) is the only one of its kind in the country – a tight-knit research community dedicated to multidisciplinary training in basic, clinical and applied approaches to the study of all aspects of human communication and the treatment of its disorders.
SHBT includes more than 65 faculty members and roughly 50 students at various stages in their doctoral work, operating out of more than 30 different labs at Harvard, MIT, Boston University and the Harvard teaching hospitals.
As one of six multi-disciplinary graduate programs within the Harvard Division of Medical Sciences, we capitalize on the superb resources of the broader Harvard research community.
Our faculty’s diverse research interests range across speech, hearing, voice, language and balance, including work such as:
- Basic studies on motor control or acoustic of speech production and laryngeal function
- Clinical studies of the human voice and voice disorders
- The mechanics, biophysics, physiology and/or molecular biology of the middle and inner ear
- The mechanisms underlying acquired or genetic disorders of hearing
- Neurophysiological or modeling approaches to study the neural codes and circuitry underlying auditory central processing
- Neuroimaging approaches to study the mechanisms underlying tinnitus
- Cognitive neuroscience approaches to study language processing
- Designing, developing, and improving hardware and software systems such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, vestibular prostheses or automatic speech-recognition algorithms
Although many of these pursuits may seem unrelated, we are constantly learning from and inspiring each other in unexpected ways, across the conventional boundaries of our fields.
What unites all our faculty is a fascination with speech and hearing, broadly defined; a belief that progress in today's complex scientific environment requires active collaboration among engineers, physical scientists, biological scientists and clinicians; and the understanding that translating lab discoveries into real-world applications requires linking our efforts with appropriate industrial partners.
Our students come to us from diverse intellectual and academic disciplines. During their training years, they learn from us -- and, just as important, from each other -- in the multidisciplinary melting pot of the Boston area reasearch comminity. They leave with exciting ideas about how best to use their graduate training to improve human communication.
Of the seven to eight students we admit each year, most receive three years of support through a training grant from the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
Our students are actively engaged not only with their research, but also within the SHBT, MIT and Harvard communities. As a recent example, the current web site development was spearheaded in 2006 by SHBT students with contributions from the faculty and Maryann Czerepak (MIT Publishing Services Bureau). We'd like to thank Brad Buran, Erik Larsen, Cara Stepp, Tom DiCicco, Nicolas Malyska, Daryush Mehta, and Ryuji Suzuki for their efforts on this project, as well as faculty members Bertrand Delgutte, Louis Braida, Robert Hillman and Jennifer Melcher.
Since our founding in 1992, we have graduated about 85 PhDs. Many have entered post-doctoral training programs that led to faculty appointments and promising careers as young investigators who earn their own research grants. Others have chosen to enter the private sector, where they have risen to lead research and development teams working on communication technologies for health care, commercial or military applications. A few are using their rigorous bioengineering training to develop new technologies in the broader biotech arena. Some have chosen professions where they play an active role in shaping public policy in science and healthcare.
No matter what career you decide to build, SHBT's broad, demanding curriculum and close student-faculty connections constitute a first-rate foundation.