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Massachusetts Eye and Ear

October 10, 2017Press Release

Kristina Simonyan, MD, PhD, Leading Voice and Speech Scientist, Recruited to Mass. Eye and Ear

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Mass. Eye and Ear Communications

Boston, Mass. — Kristina Simonyan, MD, PhD, recently joined Massachusetts Eye and Ear as Director of Laryngology Research. She will lead a research program focused on neurological disorders affecting voice, speech and other complex behavior involving fine motor control. A scientist trained in both neuroscience and laryngology (voice and speech disorders), Dr. Simonyan brings more than 15 years of experience in her field to Mass. Eye and Ear. 

Most recently, Dr. Simonyan was Associate Professor of Neurology and Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, where she served on the faculty from 2009 to 2017. While at Mount Sinai, her laboratory mapped the large-scale neural architecture that underlies speech production and its impairments in focal dystonia, a neurological condition that affects certain muscles of the body (including those controlling the vocal cords). This work led to the identification of potential neural markers of dystonia, as well as the assessment of new therapeutic options for the treatment of this disorder.

Previously, she earned her medical degree from Yerevan State Medical University in her home country of Armenia as well as from University of Göttingen in Germany. She completed additional medical training in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat care) and received doctoral in neurobiology from TiHo University of Hannover in Germany. She moved to the United States in 2004 to pursue clinical research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health that ultimately led her to her faculty position at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Simonyan has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles on neuroscience of voice and speech control. She chaired several national and international scientific meetings, served on various NIH study sections, including the working group on NIDCD strategic plan for 2017-2022, and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. At Mass. Eye and Ear, she will continue her work on brain mechanisms of normal and diseased speech production. 

“Our ability to speak is one of the most unique features defining us as human beings. Understanding the fundamental principles of speech control is critically important for determining where mechanisms break down and how they can be repaired in neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as spasmodic dysphonia, stuttering, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and schizophrenia, to name a few,” Dr. Simonyan said. “I am very excited to bring my research program to Mass. Eye and Ear and continue working towards unraveling the neural aspects of speech control, which could lead to the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients with neurological disorders affecting voice and speech production.” 

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear 

Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. In the 2017–2018 “Best Hospitals Survey,” U.S. News & World Report ranked Mass. Eye and Ear #2 in the nation ear, nose and throat care and #4 for eye care. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit