James Madison University

Vestibular Sciences Lab

Focus of Lab

The Vestibular Sciences Lab focuses on investigations and clinical applications of diagnostics and treatments relative to vestibular system disorders. Primary areas of study currently occurring in the lab include:

  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex and functional balance correlates of aging
  • Effectiveness of vestibular diagnostic assessment in subpopulations
  • Investigations in the fundamentals of vestibular diagnostic assessments
  • Vestibular function after cochlear implantation

This laboratory strives to facilitate endeavors that promote our understanding of vestibular physiology and vestibular system disorders while also providing a “hands-on” training environment for student scholarship.

Lab Personnel

  • Erin G. Piker, Ph.D., CCC-A
    Director, Vestibular Sciences Lab
    Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
    Contact Information: 540-568-3871
  • Paris Atabek, Au.D. doctoral student
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Students interested in the topics of this lab


2015 - 2018
MED-El Corporation
Piker (PI)
"Vestibular function after cochlear implantation using soft surgical techniques"
The first goal of this study is to assess the utility of vestibular testing in surgical ears. The second goal is to utilize validated electrophysiological techniques to measure short-term and long-term changes in vestibular function in cochlear implant patients.
Role: PI

2014 - 2015
American Academy of Audiology Foundation
Piker (PI)
"Vestibulo-ocular reflex and functional balance correlates of aging"
The goal of this study is to better understand the age-related changes on the VOR using both sinusoidal harmonic acceleration and video head impulse testing and to determine any correlates between the VOR and both static and dynamic gait measures in an elderly population.
Role: PI

2013 - 2018
R01-AG043438-02S1, National Institute of Aging
Whitson (PI)
"Cognitive changes and brain connectivity in age-related macular degeneration"
This research will yield new knowledge about the types of cognitive problems and brain changes in older adults with vision loss, hearing loss, or both. This is a necessary step toward developing early detection plans, treatments, and solutions.
Role: Consultant

2011 - 2012
VR1946, Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
Piker (PI)
"Age-related differences in the frequency tuning of the VEMP"
The goal of this study is to compare the effects of multiple stimulus frequencies and intensities on the amplitude and latency of the cervical and ocular VEMP across different age groups
Role: PI