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Dissertation Defense for Ashley Zaleski-King

To: Students, Faculty and Staff

From: Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School

Re: Dissertation Defense for Ashley Zaleski-King

It is my pleasure to announce that Ashley Zaleski-King, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences, will defend her dissertation on “Oculomotor and perceptual measures of visual motion sensitivity in patients with chronic dizziness” on Tuesday, April 14 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community via a live webinar. Click here to attend.

The purpose of Ashley Zaleski-King’s study is to provide empirical data describing the relationship between peripheral vestibular impairment, self-reported visual motion sensitivity and behavioral responses to dynamic visual motion in adults with chronic dizziness symptoms. After incurring an insult to the vestibular system, most patients experience spontaneous resolution of dizziness symptoms due to the central nervous system compensation process. However, a subset of patients continues to report dizziness symptoms, beyond the acute stage, through a chronic stage (> 3 months). Visual motion sensitivity is thought to be a primary characteristic related to chronic dizziness. The results indicate that (a) collectively the ability to fixate on a target and degree of self-reported anxiety explained a significant proportion of the variance of postural stability measured in a dynamic visual background; (b) variability in verticality perception was predictive of postural stability measured in a dynamic background, and this relationship was strengthened when accounting for the ability to fixate on a target; (c) degree of visual motion sensitivity could not be predicted by the presence of peripheral vestibular impairment, oculomotor activity, visual perception of verticality, or postural stability in dynamic visual background and; (d) in this cohort, peripheral vestibular impairment could not differentiate behavioral responses to visual motion from individuals who were symptomatic without peripheral vestibular impairment. These findings were used to advocate for changes in the clinical approach to patients with chronic dizziness symptoms.

The members of Ashley Zaleski-King’s dissertation committee are Dr. Chizuko Tamaki, Department of Hearing Speech and Language Sciences, co-chair of the dissertation committee; Dr. Matthew Bakke, Department of Hearing Speech and Language Sciences (retired), co-chair of the dissertation committee; Dr. Dragana Barac-Cikoja, Department of Hearing Speech and Language Sciences (retired); Dr. Jamie Bogle, Otolaryngology Department, The Mayo Clinic Arizona; and Dr. Douglas Brungart, Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Ashley Zaleski-King is an audiologist and assistant research professor in the Department of Surgery at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She currently works at GWU Medical Faculty Associates as a clinician-scientist focusing on characterizing the vestibular system in patients with dizziness. Prior to her current post, Ashley obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from Vanderbilt University and her Doctorate of Audiology degree from Gallaudet University. She completed clinical training through the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2014, she entered Gallaudet’s Ph.D. program while jointly completing a research fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, supported by the U.S. Army Public Health Center Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. During this post, she focused on research related to the audio-vestibular natural history of traumatic brain injury and the use of visual information for spatial orientation. She also presented and first-authored several peer-reviewed scientific papers and served as an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University. Recently, Zaleski-King and the Walter Reed vestibular team obtained grant funding to support a study merging vestibular and physical therapy departments. Her current clinical research interests include visual/vestibular sensory interactions, electrophysiology, and delayed compensation processes following vestibular insult.

Please join me in extending best wishes to Ashley Zaleski-King for her dissertation defense. 

Posted by Elizabeth Gibbons | Posted April 6, 2020 at 11:28 AM

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