Melissa C Duff, PhD

DuffM
Communication Sciences & Disorders
Assistant Professor
Summary statement: 

Memory, communication and social interaction

Office phone: 
(319) 384-4702
Office number: 
121D
Office building: 
WJSHC (250 Hawkins Drive)

Concomitant impairments in memory and social functioning are the hallmarks of numerous neurological (e.g., traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease) and psychiatric (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) diseases. Not only are deficits in memory and social functioning common in such individuals and diseases, they are considered among the most handicapping of cognitive impairments. The research in my lab is designed to integrate the study of memory, communication, and social interaction so as to better understand the interactions and interdependencies of these domains in human behavior.

Specifically, our research is aimed at: 1) investigations of the interdependent relationship between memory and language and the contribution of declarative memory to social functioning; 2) characterization of preserved and impaired memory, communicative, and social abilities following acquired brain damage; and 3) development and validation of effective intervention approaches for individuals with disorders of memory and social functioning. Our work seeks to inform theoretical and neurobiological frameworks of memory and social functioning and to translate scientific knowledge into clinical application, helping to improve the lives of individuals with impairments in memory and social functioning.

“Growing up in Los Angeles the thought of spending a significant amount of time in a small town brought some uncertainty. The first time I visited Iowa City those worries were dispelled. Although this is a small town there is never a shortage of things to do. My experiences in Iowa City have ranged from seeing great music to having people I didn’t know be kind to me while walking down the street. I am very glad I chose Iowa City for my graduate career, as it provides a perfect atmosphere for productivity and fun. ”