Teresa Lever, PhD


As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Lever has a broad background in neuroscience in swallowing impairment, or dysphagia, related to adult-onset neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease and stroke. Her clinical degree is in speech-language pathology and she is board-certified with more than 20 years of clinical practice experience working in various medical settings with adult populations. Dr. Lever transitioned from patient care to research after seeing a need to improve patient outcomes.

Dr. Lever’s translational research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of dysphagia in neurodegenerative diseases across multiple species including humans, dogs, horses and rodents. Her research spans from basic science to veterinary medicine to clinical research. She has developed several forms of technology and methodology to permit direct comparisons of dysphagia between humans and animals. She is currently conducting pre-clinical investigations to identify candidate treatments for future use in clinical trials with patients affected by neurological conditions that result in dysphagia. Dr. Lever has several ongoing studies with human subjects to accelerate the translation of her biomedical innovations into products that directly improve patient care. To date, continuous funding for her work has been provided through federal, foundation and intramural sources.

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Academic Information

Associate Professor
P. 573-882-6109

Research Interests

  • Neurogenic dysphagia (swallowing impairment)
  • Aerodigestive health and disorders
  • Biological aging
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

Areas of Expertise

  • Neurogenic dysphagia
  • Neurolaryngology
  • Neurology
  • Deglutition (swallowing)
  • Upper airway function/dysfunction

Education & Training

Post-Graduate School

PhD, East Carolina University, North Carolina
MS, University of Redlands, California

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

East Carolina University, North Carolina

Awards & Honors


  • 2017: MU Top Faculty Achievers Award for receiving prestigious grants within the past year
  • 2016: Excellence in Research Mentoring of Trainees Award, University of Missouri School of Medicine
  • 2013: Nominated for the President’s Award for Early Career Excellence

Professional Affiliations

  • 2022: American Physiological Society (APS)

  • 2010: Missouri Board of Speech and Language Pathologists License
  • 2007: Dysphagia Research Society
  • 1992: Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • 2005: Society for Neuroscience
  • 2005: ASHA Special Interest Group 2 (Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders)
  • 2000: ASHA Special Interest Group 13 (Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders)


  • US 9,107,385 B2 – Animal kennel for scientific examination – Issued 8/18/2016
  • US 2016/0081591 A1 – System and Method for Laryngeal Reflex Examination – Published 3/24/2016
  • US Provisional App. 62/481,946 – Detecting and Monitoring Bulbar Dysfunction – Filed 4/5/2016

In the News


Complete Listing of Published Work