Laura A. McLaughlin, MSN, PhD

Saint Louis University (SLU)

My professional goal is to begin to build a program of research that provides empirical evidence for effective interventions to treat and manage taste dysfunction in persons living with head and cancer. I have chosen to focus my research efforts on persons living with head and neck cancer for several reasons. The pool of head and neck cancer survivors is growing rapidly due to the increased incidence of human papilloma virus (HPV) related head and neck cancers and the development of more effective treatment techniques. Unfortunately this is a particularly vulnerable population because head and neck cancer treatment is often physically disfiguring and results in significant long-term impairment in speech, swallowing, and eating. Eating is especially challenging because the act of chewing and swallowing are time consuming and because taste is often severely altered.