Meet the recipients of the 2023 Barbara Martin Aphasia Research Grant.

Alexander Swiderski

Alexander Swiderski, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh and The Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, received funding for a study titled: “The neurocognitive mechanisms underlying semantic feature generation in persons with aphasia.”

What does that mean?


Swiderski says, “Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) is a widely-used word production treatment for people with aphasia that requires participants to generate semantic features associated with target words.” His study models how the brain interprets this treatment to make it more useful as an aphasia treatment.

Sarah Grace Dalton and Brielle Stark

Sarah Grace Dalton, Ph.D., CCC-SLP (Marquette University), and Brielle Stark, Ph.D. (Indiana University Bloomington) will work together from their midwest institutions on this funded research: “Identifying the needs and desires of individuals with aphasia related to current discourse assessment practices.”


Stark says, “This project is near and dear to the PIs’ hearts. We have focused our careers on improving the way we (researchers and speech-language pathologists) assess and analyze language for individuals with aphasia. We want to shift the focus of assessment to discourse, which is the kind of everyday communication we engage in as a society: telling stories, having a conversation, ordering a meal.”


People with aphasia will partner with the two researchers to identify strengths and weaknesses in currently available materials to improve them for future people with aphasia.

2023 Barbara Martin Aphasia Research Grant

The NAA’s research team received many strong submissions for this year’s funding. Elizabeth Galletta, Ph.D., at New York University, states, “We were so thrilled to award funding to support these high-quality proposals. We are in our second year of making these awards, and we are happy that we will be able to continue to award these grants next year, thanks to funds started by Barbara Martin.”


Funding goes to clinicians who work with people with aphasia or a researcher whose work focuses on aphasia, with the caveat that the project has yet to receive external research funding. Without these funds, valuable research that benefits the community would not be able to happen. We are grateful to Barbara Martin’s family for starting the initial award.