Rohan K -

Hello! My name is Rohan Kshatriya. Welcome to my Senior Project blog. After working on several AI + Biology projects last summer, I discovered the field of computational biology. For my project, I will be researching computational methods for studying laryngeal dystonia (LD), a rare neurological speech disorder. On Friday, February 9th, I will be flying to Boston for 2 months to research LD at the Dystonia and Speech Motor Control Lab at Mass General Brigham.

Laryngeal dystonia is when the laryngeal muscles in the neck spasm, causing a patient’s voice to sound strangled, shaky, or forced. Dr. Kristina Simonyan’s lab at Mass Eye and Ear specializes in researching diagnostic tools and treatments for LD by using several methods: neuroimaging, clinical-behavioral testing, and machine learning. I will be focusing specifically on machine learning and AI as a tool to study speech improvement.

Training an AI to classify a piece of data requires a vast amount of labeled data to learn from. This process is similar to how infants learn the name of an object. Let’s take, for example, dogs. Let’s say you are a toddler seeing a golden retriever for the first time, and someone tells you, “This is a dog.” Immediately, your brain pairs the image (golden retriever) with the label (dog). This would work every time you see a golden retriever, however, dogs are different shapes, sizes, and colors. Your brain needs to see a large variety of animals labeled “dog” or “not dog” before you can learn effective patterns to classify what a dog is by yourself. The same goes for an AI using computer vision. It needs to see thousands of labeled pictures before it can find the important features to classify something as a sitting dog, a moving car, or a stop sign. For my project, I will be using AI to help facilitate the development of treatment options for patients. I am doing some exploratory work with speech recordings in Audacity and Python in the weeks leading up to my site placement.

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    Rohan - You’ve done a great job defining LD with clarity. I am excited to watch you connect the dots between AI and enhanced speech. Super cool - thanks for bringing us along on your research adventure.
    Great introduction! I look forward to seeing how your research progresses!
    Nicholas Armistead
    This is a really cool project! I think technology like this could be revolutionary in the future.
    Heya, Rohan. How is Boston? In what capacity have you met with your on site advisor? Have you spent any time in the lab?
    Hi Mrs. Ungar! It's currently day two in the lab with the biggest snow storm in two years outside. My onsite advisor has been out of town, so before I get access to the servers with data, I am reading books and papers on speech phonetics and speech processing. I will be working with one of the research fellows on the automated speech scoring project, so he gave me a few papers to read to familiarize myself with the topic. Here is a book about speech processing that I am currently reading:
    Gita K.
    What a great opportunity! Can't wait to read about the progress of the project.

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