Meet Our Team

From left to right: (back row): Tom Scerri, Sarah Horton, Lottie Morison, Olivia van Reyk, Inge Timmerman, Miya St John, Ruth Braden (front row): Fatma Lelik, Lorraine O'Donnell, Alecka Garrett, Mariana Lauretta, Elana Forbes, Charlotte Boulton, Angela Morgan.


Prof. Angela Morgan leads the Speech and Language team at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute where she is also a senior principal research fellow. Prof Morgan is also a senior speech pathologist with over 25 years of clinical-research experience across Australia and the United Kingdom. Her current research is focussed on understanding the neurobiology of speech disorders to improve outcomes for children.

Dr. Emma Baker is a post-doctoral fellow. Dr Baker is an autism specialist with extensive experience working with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders that present with an autism phenotype, including Fragile X, Prader-Willi, Angelman and Chromosome 15 Duplication Syndromes.

Charlotte Boulton is a speech pathologist and research assistant with the Speech and Language group. She has worked in both clinical and research settings, with an interest in speech sound disorders and early language development.

Dr. Ruth Braden is a speech pathologist and post-doctoral fellow. Her research primarily focuses on elucidating gene-brain-behaviour relationships, by refining the speech and language phenotypes of children with genetic and neural pathologies.

Juliette Catherall is a research assistant with the Speech and Language group. Juliette is also a Masters of Speech Pathology student at The University of Melbourne. 

Sophie Fontaine is a research assistant with the Speech and Language group. Sophie is also a medical student at Monash University.

Elana Forbes is a research coordinator and clinical trial coordinator with experience conducting research in neurodevelopment, family and child psychology, and neurodegeneration. She is also currently a Clinical Neuropsychology PhD candidate and provisional psychologist at Monash University.

Alecka Garrett is a speech pathologist and research assistant within the Speech and Language group. Alecka also works clinically as a speech pathologist in private practice, with individuals ranging from infants to young adults.

Loretta Gasparini (Lottie) is a PhD candidate with the Speech and Language group. Her PhD investigates early communication abilities as predictors of later language difficulties, utilising data from large cohort studies including including Generation Victoria (GenV), a whole-of-state birth and parent cohort spanning many areas of health and development. She is also a research assistant for GenV. 

Sarah Horton is a PhD candidate completing her PhD titled "Sub-phenotyping in a genome-wide association study of stuttering". She also works clinically as a speech pathologist and volunteers with SAY: Australia. Sarah has an interest in identifying sub-groups of stuttering to better inform future treatment trials

Mariana Lauretta is a speech pathologist, associate genetic counsellor and research assistant. Mariana has worked across clinical and research speech pathology, and genetics service settings. She is currently working as a speech pathologist and genetic counsellor with the Speech Apraxia and Genetics clinic, a gene discovery clinic at the The Royal Children's Hospital and MCRI. She has a keen interest in the translational implications of genetic testing for children with speech sound disorders.

Fatma Lelik is a research coordinator with a background in psychology. She has experience in conducting research in mental health, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. She worked as a school counsellor in the past and is currently interested in working with NRXN1 deletion syndromes.

Lottie Morison is a speech pathologist and research assistant. Lottie has worked in clinical and research settings as a speech pathologist. Lottie's areas of interest include motor speech disorders, augmentative and alternative communication, and early language and literacy development. Lottie is also a PhD student at the University of Melbourne.

Lorraine O’Donnell is a registered nurse and research coordinator of the Speech Apraxia and Genetics clinic and Methylphenidate (Ritalin) in Childhood Apraxia of Speech trial. Lorraine has worked in clinical setting as a Research Nurse.

Dr. Tom Scerri is a biologist trained in molecular genetics and bioinformatics.  He is using his skills to unravel the genetic pathways underpinning childhood apraxia of speech. Previous areas of research have included dyslexia, ADHD, handedness and epilepsy.

Dr. Miya St John is a speech pathologist and research assistant who has recently submitted her PhD thesis with the University of Melbourne. She has experience working as a speech pathologist both clinically and in research. Miya has explored the speech and language phenotypes of children with rare genetic conditions, with a focus on chromatin-related conditions (e.g. KAT6A syndrome). She has also collaborated with others to explore the links between hearing loss and speech sound disorder. Miya is currently completing a singing-based pilot speech trial in Koolen-de Vries syndrome. She also works clinically at the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School. 

Inge Timmerman is the Research Coordinator of the CRE - Translational Centre for Speech Disorders. She has extensive experience in the health and medical research field.

Olivia van Reyk is a speech pathologist and research officer with expertise in speech and language phenotyping. She coordinates a population-based study collecting normative data in school and early learning settings for the development of a digital speech assessment tool, as well as natural history studies in rare genetic conditions. 

Each year, we support around 8 to 16 Masters students with research projects in Speech Pathology as well as Genetic Counselling. 

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