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Jacquie Kurland

Associate Professor and Interim Director of the Human Magnetic Resonance Center

Research in our lab investigates the neurobiology of language, its breakdown in stroke-induced aphasia, and the mechanisms of brain reorganization supporting language recovery in aphasia. We use language and cognitive behavioral testing along with structural and functional MRI to explore training-induced neuroplasticity.

Current Research

Aphasia is an acquired neurogenic language disorder, most often occurring secondary to left hemisphere stroke. It impairs the ability to produce or understand spoken or written language, and can significantly limit a person’s ability to participate in routine activities associated with a meaningful life. Short-term intensive language treatment can produce quick improvements in language performance that provide rich opportunities for investigating restorative and compensatory recovery mechanisms. Neuroplasticity is not a new concept, but the demonstration of treatment-induced neuroplasticity, and our understanding of the neural mechanisms supporting language recovery in chronic aphasia, is in a nascent stage. The Brain Research on Chronic Aphasia (BRoCA) lab is investigating these issues with a NIDCD supported randomized clinical trial comparing behavioral, fMRI, and quality of life outcomes following constrained vs. unconstrained intensive language therapy. The potential impact of harnessing treatment-induced neuroplasticity on the functional independence and quality of life of aphasic stroke survivors is enormous. Moreover, a better understanding of the mechanisms supporting language recovery can improve our understanding of redundant neural strategies for performing complex cognitive tasks such as speaking.

Learn more: blogs.umass.edu/jacquie/

Academic Background

  • BA New Mexico State University, 1986
  • MS University of New Mexico, 1999
  • PhD University of Colorado, 2006
  • Pre-doctoral training: Boston University, 2003-05
  • Postdoctoral training: Georgetown University, 2006-07
Kurland, J, Liu, A, & Stokes, P (2018). Effects of a tablet-based home practice program with telepractice on treatment outcomes in chronic aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 1140-56.
Kurland, J, Liu, A, & Stokes, P (2018). Practice effects in healthy older adults: Implications for treatment-induced neuroplasticity in apahsia. Neuropsychologia, 109, 116-125.
Kurland, J, Stanek, EJ III, Stokes, P, Li, M, & Andrianopoulos, M (2016). Intensive language action therapy in chronic aphasia: A randomized clinical trial examining guidance by constraint. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 25, S798-S812.
Kurland, J, Reber, A, & Stokes, P (2014). Beyond picture naming: Norms and patient data for a verb generation task. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23, S259-S270.
Kurland, J, Wilkins, AR, & Stokes, P (2014). iPractice: Piloting the effectiveness of a tablet-based home practice program in aphasia treatment. Seminars in Speech and Language, 35, 51-64.
Kurland, J, Pulvermuller, F, Silva, N, Burke, K, & Andrianopoulos, M (2012). Constrained vs. unconstrained intensive language therapy in two individuals with chronic, moderate-to-severe aphasia and apraxia of speech: Behavioral and fMRI outcomes. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 21, S65-S87.
Kurland, J, & Falcon, M (2011). Effects of cognate status and language of therapy during intensive semantic naming treatment in a case of severe non-fluent bilingual aphasia. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 25, 584-600.
Kurland, J, Cortes, CR, Wilke, M, Sperling, AJ, Lott, S, Tagamets, MA, VanMeter, J, Friedman, RB. (2008). Neural mechanisms underlying learning and maintenance of learning following semantic mediation treatment in a case of phonologic alexia. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2: 147-162.
Kurland, J, Naeser, MA, Baker, EH, Doron, K, Martin, PI, Seekins, HE, Bogdan, A, Renshaw, P, & Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2004). Test-retest reliability of fMRI during nonverbal semantic decisions in moderate-severe nonfluent aphasia patients. Behavioural Neurology, 15, 87-97.
Contact Info

Communication Disorders and Neuroscience & Behavior Program
Rm 307A
358 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003

(413) 545-4007