Principal investigator

Jill B. Firszt, PhD

Jill B. Firszt, PhD

Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Director, Cochlear Implant Program

Lab members

Christine Brenner, MA

Research Consultant

Chris obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the Univeristy of Missouri-Columbia in 1987 and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences from Washington University in 1995. For over 20 years, she has been involved with several funded research studies conducted at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis. She is an author on numerous publications that describe speech recognition and communication in children who are cochlear implant recipients. Chris has expertise in database management, statistical analysis and graphics and assists with many ongoing projects in the Firszt Lab.

Jamie H. Cadieux, AuD, CCC-A

Pediatric Cochlear Implant Audiologist

After beginning her bachelor’s education in Biomedical Engineering, Jamie was drawn to audiology because of clinical application interests. She has worked with children and adults using cochlear implants since 2001, and joined the cochlear implant research group at Washington University School of Medicine in 2004. After completing her clinical doctorate (AuD) from Washington University in 2006, she began working at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as lead clinician within the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team. She currently participates in various projects in Dr. Firszt’s lab. Jamie’s areas of expertise include use of objective measures, optimization of coding strategies for children using cochlear implants, and hearing aid optimization for children with hearing loss.

Noël Dwyer, AuD, CCC-A

Clinical Research Coordinator / Audiologist

Noël joined the Firszt Lab in the fall of 2011. She brings her audiology and cochlear implant experience to the team along with her interest in research. Noël received her clinical doctorate in audiology (AuD) from Washington University School of Medicine after completing a year-long fellowship with the WUSM Adult Cochlear Implant Program. In addition to working directly with study participants, Noël assists with data management, data analysis, manuscript preparation and participates on the clinical cochlear implant team. She has a wide range of interests, including Russian Studies, for which she received her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in New York.

Laura Holden, AuD, CCC-A

Research Scientist

Laura graduated in 1986 with a Master of Arts degree in Audiology from the University of Illinois and obtained her Doctor of Audiology degree (AuD) from Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2008. She began working with cochlear implant patients when she joined Washington University School of Medicine in 1986 as a clinical audiologist when the cochlear implant program was just beginning. Laura is primarily involved in research activities; her area of interest involves optimizing patient benefit from a cochlear implant, especially improving patients’ speech understanding in difficult listening situations such as in background noise. Laura is on the Audiology Advisory Board for Cochlear Americas and Advanced Bionics Corporation. She has over 30 research publications related to cochlear implants.

Tim Holden, BSE

Research Scientist

Tim earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Iowa and has been a researcher with the Washington University Cochlear Implant Program since 1985. His area of expertise includes reconstructions of CT images of the cochlea for cochlear implant patients before and after surgery. This CT analysis is part of a longitudinal study to optimize the benefit from cochlear implants by examining electrode array insertion with speech recognition test results. Tim supports testing hardware and software used in the Research Program and aids in the design and creation of programs based on C, MATLAB, and other software programs.

Ruth M. Reeder, MA, CCC-A

Research Scientist

Ruth began working with children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and their families in the early 1970’s and has been in the field of cochlear implants since the late 1980’s. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University and a Master’s degree in Educational Audiology from the University of Illinois. Ruth has extensive experience in candidacy, pre- and post-implant evaluation, and device programming with all ages (infants through adults). She joined the cochlear implant program at Washington University School of Medicine as a research scientist in Dr. Firszt’s lab in 2005. She is involved in numerous projects with Dr. Firszt including those addressing cochlear implant device optimization, bilateral cochlear implantation, implantation of adults with asymmetric hearing loss, and identification of test methods that better replicate real-life listening experiences.

Lab Alumni

Christine Alexander, AuD
Jacquelyn Baudhuin, AuD
Elizabeth Boddicker, BA
Megan Carter, AuD
Laura Czarniak, AuD
Nada Hanna, AuD
Amanda Hartz, AuD
Sarah King, AuD
Sheli Lipson, AuD
Kristi Musser, AuD
Erin Nelson, BFA
Lindsay Weberling, AuD
Colleen Zenczak, BS


Harold Burton, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri
Lisa Davidson, PhD, CCC-A, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri
Charlie Finley, PhD, Advanced Bionics, Valencia, California
Bomjun Kwon, PhD, Gallaudet University, Washington DC
Kristin Lewis, AuD, CCC-A, St. Luke’s Midwest Ear Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Christopher Long, PhD, Cochlear Americas, Denver, Colorado
Jonathan Peelle, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri
Lisa Potts, PhD, CCC-A, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri
Mike Strube, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
Rosalie Uchanski, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri
Sarah Zlomke, AuD, CCC-A, St. Luke’s Midwest Ear Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Adult Cochlear Implant Team

Craig Buchman, MD
Richard Chole, MD, PhD
Andrew Drescher, MD
Noël Dwyer, AuD
Brenda Gotter, AuD, CCC-A
Andrea Gregg, MS, CCC-SLP
Laura Holden, AuD, CCC-A
Jonathan McJunkin, MD
Karen Mispagel, AuD, CCC-A
Sarah Nicewaner
Lisa Potts, PhD, CCC-A
Sallie Vanderhoof, AuD/MA, CCC-A/SLP

Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team

Craig Buchman, MD
Jamie Cadieux, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Carlson, AuD
Richard Chole, MD, PhD
Andrea Gregg, MS, CCC-SLP
Keiko Hirose, MD
Meghan Hunt, MA
Julie Jackson
Mary Lucido, MSW
Mary Kay Piantanida, LPN
Bernadette Rakszawski, AuD
Janet Vance, AuD, CCC-A
Casey Voegtle
Becky White, LPN