Group Members

Principal Investigator

Dr. Charlotte (Charlie) Wiltshire

I am a lecturer at Bangor University. I am based in the department of psychology and work across the departments of sports science and linguistics. I lecture on speech production, neurodevelopmental disorders and neuroimaging analysis.

My research aims to understand how humans produce speech, and what causes speaking to become difficult for some people (e.g. stammering, Parkinson's Disease). To do this, I take an multi-disciplinary approach by investigating the entire speech system - from the brain to the speech movements themselves. Over my career I have enjoyed collaborating with researchers in the fields of physics, neuroscience, phonetics and sports science to create innovative cross-disciplinary projects. I work closely with STAMMA, supporting the new "Journal Club" and contributing to the "Research Arena".

I completed my PhD at the University of Oxford in 2020, with Kate Watkins. During my PhD, I contributed to a large randomised control trial looking at whether tDCS can enhance fluency in people who stutter (INSTEP trial). Within this, I used a range of techniques, including tDCS, TMS and brain and vocal tract MRI, to investigate the neural control of speech in people who stutter and people who are typically fluent. 

My Postdoctoral Fellowship was based at the Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximillains-University (LMU), Munich. My work with Phil Hoole combined brain stimulation techniques (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and articulography (Electromagneticarticulography, vocal tract MRI) to investigate the neural processes underlying the initiation and inhibition of speech movements in people who stutter and people who are typically fluent.

Bangor Profile

Post Graduate Researchers

Michael Pendlebury

I started my PhD in October 2023 in the Integrative Speech Research Group. 

I am focusing on the neural basis of stuttering, and the effect of timing on speech production. I am currently developing my first study for my PhD, which will investigate the effect of timing on speech, using different types of metronomes.

Project: Stammering (stuttering) is a disruption to the fluency in speech, resulting in blocks, repetitions and prolongations. There are known tricks which result in fluent speech, called “fluency enhancement” techniques. One of these tricks is called metronome-timed speech. 

When people who stutter speak in time to the beat of a metronome, their speech becomes more fluent. This has lead to multiple theories on the cause of stuttering, such as difference in auditory-motor integration, and difficulty in speaking at the correct timing intervals.

 I want to investigate this effect further, by using different types of metronomes. 

We know this effect works with an auditory metronome. The purpose of this study is to investigate if this effect works with a tactile metronome and a visual metronome. This will allow us to see what the cause of stuttered speech is as it will demonstrate why the metronome works. We will see if the effect works due to providing an external auditory cue, or because the metronome provides timing cues for people to speak to. 

My study will test this effect using a auditory metronome, a tactile/vibrating metronome and a visual metronome. The benefit of this study is we will add to these previous theories. We want to explore if fluency enhancing techniques work with all types of external cues, or if this effect only works for an auditory cue, suggesting reliance on auditory signal.  This will develop our understanding of speech timing and speech motor control in people who stutter and typical speakers.

Bangor Profile

Magdalena Saumweber & Jana Freudenberger

Magdalena and Jana are working on MSc projects investigating speech movement control in people who stutter, supervised by Dr. Charlie Wiltshire (Bangor) and Prof. Phil Hoole (LMU, Munich).

They are working on the project "The role of the Supplementary Motor Area in Speech Production: Evidence from People Who Do, and Do Not Stutter."


Dr. Gabriel Cler 

University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Dr. Cler (he/him) is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences at the University of Washington. 

Dr. Cler and Dr. Wiltshire collaborate on various projects, including using vocal tract MRI with people who stutter and people with developmental language disorder, and quantitative neuroimaging. 

Quills Lab Profile

Dr. Defne Abur 

University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Defne Abur directs the Speech Biosignal Processing lab at the University of Groningen. She is an Assistant Professor of Speech & Speech Technology in the Computational Linguistics department and she is affiliated with the Research School for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences. Dr. Abur’s lab examines a variety of biosignals to characterize typical and disrupted auditory function and speech production using an interdisciplinary approach combining engineering, hearing science, and speech science.

Dr. Abur and Dr. Wiltshire collaborate on projects investigating speech motor control in people who stutter and people with Parkinson's disease. D. Abur supervises Valentine Lucquiault, a Masters-by-research student who recently got PRIME funding to complete an internship in Dr. Wiltshire's lab in summer 2024. 

Speech Biosignal Processing Lab Website

Dr. Miriam Oschkinat & Professor Phil Hoole

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich

Dr. Miriam Oschkinat is a Phonetician from Berlin/Munich with a Ph.D. in Phonetics and Speech Processing and a background in Music and German studies. She uses temporal auditory feedback perturbation to probe the cognitive representation of speech timing. 

Professor Phil Hoole is a phonetician interested in articulography and speech motor control. 

Charlie collaborates with LMU colleagues for the project "The Role of the SMA in Speech Production".  They have recently been awarded British Springboard funding to host Early Career Researcher exchange visits and to develop new grant bids. 

Institute for Phonetics and Speech Processing Website

Dr. Hanna Binks (Aberystwyth University). 

Dr. Jasper Verheul (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Dr. Chelsea Starbuck (Swansea University) 

Charlie collaborates with colleagues from across Wales as part of two interdisciplinary projects supported by the Welsh Crucible: Movement control in people with developmental stuttering: A whole system approach (Sport Science, Verheul & Starbuck) and Investigating the experiences of Welsh-English bilinguals who stutter (Bilingualism, Binks)

Data collection is due to start in summer 2024 - get in touch for more details!