Wendy Olsen, PhD, CCC-SLP

Wendy Olsen

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Year I became a Gator: 2019

Department: Electrical Engineering

Mentor: Nicholas Napoli, PhD

Research focus: Respiration and functioning airway protective behaviors are crucial to overall health. However, understanding impaired breathing and airway protective behaviors is essential. Impairment may be due to a host of issues (i.e., extreme environments, weak musculature, neurological injury, neuromuscular disease, etc.). Identifying these key issues and tying them to respiratory mechanics provides insight into our current understanding of breathing behavior.

My active research includes: 1) studying respiratory function in neurodegenerative disease, 2) ventilatory mechanics, 3) breathing dynamics and its impact on human performance in extreme environments, and 4) examining quantitative models to determine respiratory and airway protective behaviors.

Why I chose BREATHE at The University of Florida: The BREATHE Training Program’s collaborative spirit and scientific community cultivates a diverse network of basic scientists, clinicians, and engineers. The BREATHE Center provides a rich, robust training environment and an invaluable opportunity for researchers. My previous training consisted of anatomy, physiology, dysphagia, vocalization and how it relates to disordered populations. Many of the clinical research that investigates these functions in typically functioning and disordered populations is informative. However, there are many questions that remain about these behavioral components. The BREATHE Center at the University of Florida aims to answer these questions with its multifaceted research mission. As a postdoctoral fellow, my mentor has provided crucial feedback and guidance necessary for the development of a healthy scientific career. I have also learned new scientific methods and protocols to address empirical questions that were not possible during my doctoral training. The many seminars, virtual meetings, and conferences are additional ways that the program enhances its members’ scientific culture. I am enthusiastic for all of the career changing opportunities the BREATHE Center has provided and continues to present.