James T. Heaton received a BA degree in Psychology from Luther College (Decorah, IA) in 1990, and the MS and PhD degrees in Psychology (Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program) from the University of Maryland (College Park, MD) in 1993 and 1997, respectively.

He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1997 in the Department of Otology and Laryngology, and he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery.

He is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at MGH Institute, where he teaches neuroanatomy and neurophysiology to graduate students seeking the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. He is also Adjunct Professor for the PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Heaton has taught at the Institute since 1998.

  • BA, Psychology, Luther College, Decorah, IA
  • MS, Psychology/Neuroscience, University of Maryland
  • PhD, Psychology/Neuroscience, University of Maryland

Research Interests

  • Human voice and speech physiology
  • Facial and laryngeal nerve regeneration
  • Development of improved voice prosthetic equipment
  • Creation of a speech recognition platform that uses speech-related muscle signals as an input (instead of a microphone) for healthy and dysarthric populations
  • Implantable neural prosthetic systems for facial and laryngeal reanimation after nerve palsy

Vojtech, JM, Chan, MD, Shiwani, B, Roy, SH, Heaton, JT, Meltzner, GS, Contessa, P, De Luca, G, Patel, R and Kline, JC. (2021) Surface Electromyography–Based Recognition, Synthesis, and Perception of Prosodic Subvocal Speech. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. pp.1-20. doi.org/10.1044/2021_JSLHR-20-00257

Baird BJ, Tynan MA, Tracy LF, Heaton JT, Burns JA. (2021) Surgeon Positioning During Awake Laryngeal Surgery: An Ergonomic Analysis. The Laryngoscope. PMID: 34296439.

Otten, DM., Kobler, JB., Hillman, RE., Zeitels, SM., Seitter, KP., Heaton, JT. (2019) Development of a closed-loop stimulator for laryngeal reanimation, part 1: Devices.  Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 128(3_suppl), 33S-52S. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003489418820545

Heaton, JT., Kobler, JB., Otten, DM., Hillman, RE., Zeitels, SM. (2019) Development of a closed-loop stimulator for laryngeal reanimation, part 2: Device testing in the canine model of laryngeal paralysis.  Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 128(3_suppl), 53S-70S. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003489418820885

Zeitels, SM., Lombardo, P., Chaves, J., Faquin, W., Hillman, RE., Heaton, JT., Kobler, JB. (2019) Vocal fold injection of absorbable materials: A histological analysis with clinical ramifications. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 128(3_suppl), 71S-81S. https://doi.org/10.1177/0003489418805503

Meltzner, GS; Heaton, JT; Deng, Y; De Luca, G; Roy, SH; Kline, JC. (2018) Development of sEMG sensors and algorithms for silent speech recognition. Journal of neural engineering, 15(4), 046031. 

Meltzner, GS, Heaton, JT, Deng, Y, De Luca, G, Roy, SH, Kline, JC. (2017) Silent Speech Recognition as an Alternative Communication Device for Persons with Laryngectomy. IEEE/ACM transactions on audio, speech, and language processing, 25(12), 2386-2398.  https:// 10.1109/TASLP.2017.2740000

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