The Aerodigestive Research Core (ARC) is comprised of passionate clinician scientists who are dedicated to improving dysphagia care and outcomes. Our mission is to improve assessment and clinical management approaches for upper aerodigestive tract disorders to optimize functions of swallowing, breathing, and airway clearance, patient quality of life, and survivorship. Emily Plowman, PhD, and her team strive to conduct pragmatic, meaningful and translatable clinical research that can be utilized by clinicians working ‘in the trenches’ to improve patient outcomes. 

ARC has three inter-related research areas of study that collectively target our mission:

Image of patient outcomes

Focus 1: Increasing our understanding of the underlying mechanisms governing dysfunction of the aerodigestive tract. This includes increasing our understanding of disorders of the swallow, airway and speaking apparatus. Historically our team has focused on neuromuscular patient populations (ALS, OPMD, Myotonic Dystrophy, Inclusion Body Myositis). More recently we have expanded to include aerodigestive tract dysfunction as a result of cardiothoracic surgical procedures, lung transplantation, and congenital heart conditions and surgical interventions.

Focus 2: Development and validation of minimally invasive, pragmatic swallowing screening tools. We've successfully completed internal validation of the Physiologic Risk Index of Swallowing Impairment (PRISIM) scale for detection of swallowing impairment in ALS. Currently we are adopting this tool for other outpatient clinical patient populations and developing nursing screening tools for the intensive care unit (ICU) hospital setting. In this area we are also currently developing an electronic dysphagia risk prediction tool for individuals undergoing cardiovascular surgery to guide evidence-based triaged clinical care pathways.

Focus 3: Develop interventions to maintain and/or improve the underlying bulbar mechanism and physiologic reserve of the upper aerodigestive tract. Specifically, we are investigating targeted therapeutic interventions on aerodigestive physiology, function, patient reported quality of life, economic burden and survival.

Our team

Emily Plowman, PhD, CCC-SLP

Lab Director

Dr. Plowman established and directs the Aerodigestive Research Core laboratory across its two sites at The Ohio State University and University of Florida. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of dysphagia who has held uninterrupted funding from the NIH since commencing her academic career in 2009. Her current research is supported by the National Institute of Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Cancer, Department of Defense and the ALS Association. 

View her complete profile

Current clinical trials

Current clinical trials

The ARC lab is fortunate to have received funding from six different NIH institutes, the Department of Defense, ALS Association, American Heart Association, Children’s Miracle Network and the American Speech and Hearing Association. Current funded studies are summarized below.

Our publications

Our publications

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