Voice and Upper Airway Research Lab

School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

McGill University

Prof. Li-Jessen’s VUA lab integrates in vitro, in vivo and in silico (computational) approaches to study laryngeal and upper airway health and diseases.

Larynx is critical to our daily breathing, communication and swallowing functions. The VUA research lab focuses on advancing personalized medicine in voice and upper airway dysfunctions through the development of biological computing, point-of-care diagnostics, regenerative biomaterials and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).

Watch Prof. Li-Jessen's talk at the World Economic Forum

Our Motto:

Only the best is good enough

Ole Kirk Kristiansen, Founder of LEGO

The VUA Lab advocates the best practice of EDI principles in STEM and to foster a diverse, safe and inclusive training environment for individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or other diverse backgrounds.

If you share the same vision and research interests as of the VUA lab, we welcome you to join our dynamic and multi-disciplinary team. We currently have open positions (Ph.D. and post-doc) in our computer modeling and digital health projects. Please send your CV, unofficial transcripts and a short description of why you're interested in our work to Prof. Nicole Li-Jessen.


Featured Articles

  1. Li, X., Liu, Y., Liu, S. Y., Huang, B. L., Li-Jessen, N. Y. K., Haglund, L., Li, J. Y. (2023). Designing regenerative bioadhesives for tissue repair and regeneration. Advanced Therapeutics. 2300139.
  2. Moya-Garcia, C., Li‐Jessen, N. Y. K.† & Tabrizian, M.† (2023). Chitosomes loaded with docetaxel as a promising drug delivery system to laryngeal cancer cells: An in vitro cytotoxic study. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 24(12), 9902. †Co-Senior Authors
  3. Li, X., Liu, Y., Li, L., Hui, R., Ghezelbash, F., Ma, Z. W., Bao, G. Y., Liu, S. Y., Yang, Z., Weber, M. M., Li‐Jessen, N. Y. K., Haglund, L., Li, J. Y. (2023). Hybrid bioadhesives for intervertebral disc repair and regeneration. Materials Horizons.
  4. Brown, M., Zhu, S., Lorne, T., Tabrizian, M., & Li‐Jessen, N. Y. K. (2023). Unraveling the relevance of tissue-specific decellularized extracellular matrix hydrogels for vocal fold regenerative biomaterials: a comprehensive proteomic and in vitro study. Advanced NanoBiomed Research. 3, 2200095.
  5. Brown, M., Li, J. Y., Moraes, C., Tabrizian, M.†, & Li‐Jessen, N. Y. K.† (2022). Decellularized extracellular matrix: new promising and challenging biomaterials for regenerative medicine. Biomaterials. 289, 121786. †Co-Senior Authors

Invited Book Chapters

  1. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. & Ridgway, C. (2020). Neuroanatomy of voice and swallowing. In P. Weissbrod & D. O. Francis (Ed.), Neurologic and Neurodegenerative Disease of the Larynx (pp. 21-40). Cham: Springer International.
  2. Orbelo, D. M., Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. & Verdolini-Abbott, K. (2019). Lessac Madsen resonant voice therapy in a young woman with vocal nodules. In J. C. Stemple & E. R. Hapner (Ed.), Voice therapy: Clinical Case Studies (5th ed.). San Diego: Plural Publishing.
  3. Orbelo, D. M., Li, N. Y. K. & Verdolini, K. (2014). Lessac Madsen resonant voice therapy in the treatment of secondary muscle tension dysphonia. In J. C. Stemple & E. R. Hapner (Ed.), Voice therapy: Clinical Case Studies (4th ed.). San Diego: Plural Publishing.
View more publications


Conference Presentations

  1. Liu, Y., Li L., Li, X., Cherif, H., Jiang, S., Ghezelbash, F., Weber, M. H., Juncker, D., Li-Jessen, N. Y. K., Haglund, L. & Li, J. Y. (2024, February). Viscoelastic hydrogels regulate adipose-derived stem cells for nucleus pulposus regeneration. Paper presented at the 2024 Annual Meeting of Orthopaedic Research Society.
  2. Coburn, P. T.*, Lungova, V., Liu, X. Y., Thibeault, S. L. & Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2023, October). Evaluating the impact of air pollution on voice and upper airway health using an ipsc-derived vocal fold mucosa organ-on-a-chip. Paper presented at the TERMIS-AP Conference, Hong Kong.*Best Oral Presentation Award (SYIS)
  3. Moya-Garcia, C. R.*, Tabrizian, M., Sadeghi, N. & Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2023, July). Induce and evaluate a docetaxel-resistant response in laryngeal cancer cells using a drug escalation method. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, Montreal, Canada.
  4. Moya-Garcia, C. R.*, Tabrizian, M., Sadeghi, N. & Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2023, July). Evaluate chemosensitizing effects of metformin on a docetaxel-resistant laryngeal cancer cell line. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, Montreal, Canada.
  5. Almutawa, D., Lagos-Villaseca, A., Albathi, M., Martignetti, L*., Masuda, M., Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. & Kost, K. M. (2023, June). Profile of an aging population seen in a tertiary laryngology clinic of Canada. Paper presented at the Voice Foundation’s 52nd Annual Symposium, Philadelphia, U.S.A.

Invited Talks/Workshops

  1. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2021, March). Integration of Computer Simulation and Empirical Research in Solving Complex Challenges in Voice Care. Invited talk at the First Pan-Canadian Voice Conference. Online.
  2. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2019, December). Towards a bioinstructive design of scaffold biomaterials for vocal fold tissue engineering. Invited lecture at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
  3. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2019, November). Teaching and learning: a reciprocal effort. Invited keynote address at the McGill Learning to Teach Day, Montreal, Canada
  4. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2019, April). How basic science improves our clinical practice in laryngology and voice therapy? Invited lecture at AQOA / QASLPA’s 7th Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.
  5. Li-Jessen, N. Y. K. (2018, November). How does computational modeling improve our clinical practice in laryngology? Invited lecture presented at the 11th East Asian Conference on Phonosurgery, Busan, Republic of Korea.
View more presentations

Lab Members

Nicole Li-Jessen


Associate Professor




Hideaki Okuyama

Post-doctoral Fellow

Patrick Coburn

Ph.D. Student

Mika Brown

Ph.D. Student

Christian Moya Garcia

Ph.D. Student

Meghana Munipalle

Ph.D. Student

Andrew Chao

Masters Student

Romi Bonomo

Masters Student

Grace Yu

Graduate Research Assistant

Chelsea Ridgway

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Vivianne Landry

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Roger Pang

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jess Matchek

Summer Research Assistant

Lisa Marginetti

Research Assistant

Aaron Glick

Research Assistant

Samson Yuen

IT Specialist

Alumni members

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Zhengdong Lei - Post-doctoral Fellow 2021

  • Huijie Wang - Research Associate 2017-2018

PhD Students

  • Zhengdong Lei - PhD Student (co-supervised), 2015-2019

  • Nuttiiya Seekhao - PhD Student (co-supervised), 2014-2019

  • Bianca Granato - QLS Rotation Student 2019 Fall

  • Joseph Szymborski - QLS Rotation Student 2018 Fall

Masters Students

  • Mattia Berrini - Lab Manager 2019-2022

  • Colin Jones - Master's Student 2021-2022

  • Luis Medrano del Rosal - Graduate Research Assistant 2021

  • Sarah Bouhabel - Masters Student (co-supervised), 2014-2018

  • Aman Garg - Masters Student 2016-2018

  • Evan Kennedy - Graduate Research Assistant 2016, 2018

  • Caroline Shung - Masters Student (co-supervised), 2014-2017

Undergraduate Research Assistant/ Summer Interns

  • Shirley Zhu - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2020-2022

  • Daniel Wagner - DAAD Exchange Student 2023

  • Jie Yu Li - Summer Research Assistant 2022

  • Marta Kanne - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2020 - 2022

  • Emily Bottone - Summer Research Assistant 2022

  • Emma Armitage - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2019-2020

  • Miasya Bulger - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2019

  • Aziz Rehman - Summer Research Assistant 2018-2019

  • Emma Cawood - Summer Research Assistant 2019

  • Halle Demchuk - Summer Research Assistant 2019

  • Muhammad Abdullah Sumbal - Summer Research Assistant 2019

  • Samson Yuen - Research Assistant 2017-2018, Undergraduate Research Assistant 2015-2017

  • James Cui - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2016-2018

  • Chelsea Ridgway - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018

  • Aziz Rehman - Summer Research Assistant 2018

  • Meghan Hollet - Summer Research Assistant 2018

  • Sandra Cortes - Undergraduate Reseach Intern 2017

  • Jesse Chevrier - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2017

  • Laurel Walfish - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2017

  • Marise Samaan - Undergraduate Research Assistant 2015-2016

  • Harry Tao - Undergraduate Research Intern 2016

  • Kimberly Trickey - Summer Research Assistant 2015

Contact Us

Voice and Upper Airway Research Lab

McIntyre Medical Sciences Building

3655 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montreal Quebec
H3G 1Y6
Directions on Google Maps

Rm 1003


School Of Communication Sciences and Disorders

2001 McGill College , 8th floor
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 1G1
Directions on Google Maps

Rm 815