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DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory Team

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Irina Castellanos, PhD

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Philip F. Holton Scholar in Otology

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13615-Kronenberger, William

William G. Kronenberger, PhD

Arthur B. Richter Professor of Child Psychiatry

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23096-Nelson, Rick

Rick F. Nelson, MD, PhD

Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

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26518-Pisoni, David

David B. Pisoni, PhD

Distinguished Professor

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12192-Yates, Charles

Charles W. Yates, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

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14980-Bergeson, Tonya

Tonya R. Bergeson, PhD

Visiting Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery

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Jessica Beer, PhD

Senior Research Scientist

Jessica Beer, PhD, joined the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory in 2024. She received her BA in psychology at Indiana University and PhD in developmental psychology at City University of New York Graduate Center. Trained in Vygotskian theory, Dr. Beer studied the co-development of language and cognition in the context of children’s pretend play, focusing on the social and linguistic complexity of preschooler’s negotiations as they plan and enact in joint pretend play. Dr. Beer extended her research to pediatric cochlear implant users as an NIDCD T32 postdoctoral fellow at IU School of Medicine in the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory. During her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Beer received specialized training in cognitive hearing science and pediatric clinical psychology.

Dr. Beer’s interest in applied developmental psychology brought her to open a play café with Indiana University colleague Dr. Tonya Bergeson. They designed the space to afford meaningful play-based social interactions and early learning experiences among children and caregivers. The duo developed a series of Play Music classes for babies and their caregivers designed to build early socioemotional and cognitive skills and studied by student researchers.

Dr. Beer taught in the Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences at Purdue University and Department of Psychology at Butler University. Her current research at the DeVault Lab focuses on 1) psychosocial and neurocognitive development of pediatric cochlear implant users, 2) hearing and quality of life across the lifespan, and 3) establishing research-community partnerships.

Dr. Beer is active in her community serving as chair of the Curriculum Committee for Hamilton County Leadership Academy, and as a mayoral appointee to the Carmel Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Human Relations, and past mayoral appointee to the Parks Board for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation. Dr. Beer regularly volunteers her time leading resident activities at Lake Meadows Assisted Living in Fishers, Indiana.

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Allison Ditmars, BS, CCRP

Clinical Research Coordinator

Allison Ditmars joined the DeVault Otologic Research Lab in March 2012 and serves as the clinical research coordinator. Having earned her BS from Purdue University in 2006, Allison studied neurobiology and physiology. She spent several years at the University of Notre Dame, Keck Center for Transgene Research as a research technician, specialized in cell culture, molecular biology and organ/cell imaging. In November of 2014, Allison obtained CCRP certification (Certified Clinical Research Professional) from SOCRA (Society of Clinical Research Associates).

Carolyn Herbert, AuD, CCC-A

Research Audiologist

Carolyn (Carrie) Herbert, AuD, CCC-A, joined the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory in 2018 as a research audiologist after working in the lab as a research assistant while earning her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) from Butler University. While studying at Butler, Dr. Herbert focused her studies on the interaction between audiological outcomes and psychology with particular interest in research methods. She worked as a teaching and research assistant to the American Sign Language (ASL) and CSD departments, respectively. 

Dr. Herbert earned her doctorate of Audiology from Indiana University in 2018 with her externship placement at IU Health in Indianapolis. While in Bloomington, she worked as a graduate assistant for the ASL program and a research assistant to the Hearing Research Laboratory (Yi Shen, PhD). She also served as the President of the Indiana University chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology and was awarded an Indiana Outstanding Student Clinician Award by the Indiana Lions Speech and Hearing McKinney Outreach Program. Dr. Herbert has extensive knowledge in clinical diagnostics, including audiologic and vestibular evaluations.

She currently works closely with David B. Pisoni, PhD, William Kronenberger, PhD, Charles Yates, MD, Rick Nelson, PhD, MD, and Shannon Risacher, PhD.

While out of the office, Dr. Herbert enjoys spending time with her friends and family, continuing to explore Indianapolis, and serving others through various volunteer opportunities including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Susan Sehgal, MA, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVEd

Speech-Language Pathologist

Susan Sehgal, MA, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVEd, returned to the DeVault Otologic Research Laboratory in 2022 after working as both the Lead Speech Coordinator in the preschool program at St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf-Indianapolis (SJI-I) and a contracted listening and spoken language specialist at the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education. Prior to her position at SJI-I, Susan worked 11 years in the DeVault Lab collecting data and assisting with manuscript preparation on NIH-funded longitudinal studies assessing the speech perception, speech production and language skills of deaf and hard of hearing children using cochlear implants, hearing aids, and vibrotactile aids.

Susan gained extensive knowledge in working with a wide range of children with hearing loss using a variety of hearing devices through her clinical and research positions. Over the past 20 years, she has specialized in conducting diagnostic listening and spoken language evaluations and teaching children to listen and talk using their auditory skills. She coached parents and mentored young professionals in using auditory-verbal strategies that are considered best practice for deaf and hard of hearing children to reach their full potential. Her clinical experience also includes working with children who have additional challenges including childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, executive function concerns, and sensory needs. 

Susan actively volunteers in the community. She served on the board of Hear Indiana and as President of that board from 1999-2001. She was a member of the ad-hoc committee to mandate Universal Newborn Hearing Screening in the state of Indiana from 1998-2000. Susan currently is a board member for Indiana Hands and Voices and a member of the advisory committee for HEA 1484 Indiana Deaf Education and Assessments of Language (IDEAL).