UF swallowing researchers take top honors at international research meeting

Giselle Carnaby-Mann, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-director of the UF Swallowing Research Laboratory and an associate professor in the department of behavioral science and community health, has received the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance’s 2012 Investigator of the Year Award.

UF Swallowing Research Laboratory team members at the Dysphagia Research Society annual meeting: Graduate students Aarthi Madhavan, Lisa LaGorio, Isaac Sia, Livia Sura, and faculty members Dr. Giselle Carnaby-Mann and Dr. Michael Crary.

Carnaby-Mann received the award at the Dysphagia Research Society’s 20th Annual Meeting in Toronto March 8-10 where she presented the findings of her American Cancer Society-funded Phase III randomized, controlled trial in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. The study investigated the efficacy of an exercise intervention called “Pharyngocise” in preserving the muscles involved in swallowing and preventing swallowing disability associated with head and neck cancer treatment.

The University of Florida Swallowing Research Laboratory was well-represented at the meeting with lab members making eight presentations and receiving two awards. 

The UF showing is all the more impressive given that competition at the research meeting was particularly fierce this year, said Michael Crary, Ph.D., director of the Swallowing Research Laboratory.

“The meeting was attended by representatives from over 30 countries and the competition to present — platform or podium — was the highest this year than any other year in the history of the meeting,” said Crary, also a professor in the college’s department of speech, language, and hearing sciences.

Isaac Sia, a graduate student in the rehabilitation science and public health programs, won the 3rd place award for Best Overall Poster Presentation out of a field of more than 100 poster presentations. His research examined the effects of physiologic and other factors on adequate upper esophageal sphincter relaxation, which is critical for normal swallowing, in a group of healthy adults.

The Dysphagia Research Society meeting brings together swallowing and swallowing disorder researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, neurology, pediatrics, gerontology, nursing, speech pathology and public health. UF Swallowing Research Laboratory faculty and students presented five oral presentations and three poster presentations at the meeting.