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Esther Kim, PhD, MS, BSc

Associate Professor

Rehabilitation Medicine

Communication Sciences and Disorders

About Me

PhD – Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences – University of Arizona – 2006
MS – Speech-Language Pathology – University of Arizona – 2000
BSc – Psychology – University of Alberta – 1998


Research Affiliate - Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute

Alberta Cognitive Neuroscience

Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA)

American Speech-Language Hearing Association

Academy of Neurologic Communication Sciences and Disorders (ANCDS)

Academy of Aphasia

Background Information
After receiving her BSc (Psychology) from the University of Alberta, Dr. Kim completed graduate and post-graduate training at the University of Arizona. She has worked in several settings with adult neurogenic clients, including skilled nursing facilities, home health and the Aphasia Research Project at the University of Arizona. She joined the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in December 2009.

Professional Interests
Dr. Kim's research focuses on investigating cognitive factors contributing to language processing (particularly written language processing) and treatments to remediate acquired language disorders. She also investigates treatment-induced neuroplasticity in adults with acquired neurological communication disorders. She is a Research Affiliate of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, and a member of the Centre for Neuroscience and Alberta Cognitive Neuroscience.

Dr. Kim is also actively involved in aphasia awareness and advocacy in the community. She is co-founder of the Alberta Aphasia Camp, in partnership with March of Dimes Canada.


The ultimate goal of our research lab is to develop evidence- and model-based treatments to remediate acquired language disorders. To do this, we have two related lines of inquiry:

  1. To understand the cognitive mechanisms underlying language processing (particularly written language processing). Using a cognitive neuropsychological approach, we assess individuals with known focal brain damage (usually as a result of stroke) to delineate spared/impaired domains. We use a combination of behavioural and clinical methods, including eye-tracking, to examine cognitive (e.g., attention, working memory) and linguistic (e.g., semantic, orthographic, phonologic) processing.
  2. To investigate neural underpinnings of recovery from language impairments. High resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and more recently, event-related potentials (ERPs) are used in conjunction with behavioural/clinical measures to investigate treatment-induced neuroplastic changes in the brain.

Current Research

- Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Reading in Aphasia

- Enhancing neural plasticity in aphasia: Constraint induced language therapy in conjunction with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

- Written Language Processing in Aphasia and Primary Progressive Aphasia

- Alberta Aphasia Camp: Examining Engagement & Social Participation Outcomes

Dr. Kim is currently recruiting individuals with aphasia as well as healthy controls (age 40+) for these research studies. Please contact her via telephone (780-248-1542) or email ( for more information.