Faculty Spotlight: Gabriella Musacchia, PhD

Gabriella Musacchia resizedAs a professional trumpet player, Gabriella Musacchia, PhD, became interested in psychobiology of music which led her to study how live music changes the way people perceived a song. Recently, Dr. Musacchia joined the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology as an assistant professor. She received her bachelor of arts in psychobiology from University of California, Santa Cruz and her doctor of philosophy in communication sciences and disorders from Northwestern University.

“I chose to focus in audiology and communication sciences and disorders because I became fascinated not only with music, but with the physics of sound and speech, and how these signals are transposed from the pinna to the cortex,” said Dr. Musacchia.

Dr. Musacchia joined Pacific for its excellence in professional education and she is “impressed by the commitment of the department and school administration to further that goal.” She plans to use an individualized approach to curriculum and assessment to prepare future audiologists. Her approach incorporates classroom participation, demonstrations, group breakout sessions and “learning by doing.”

“Today’s audiologists need to be prepared to communicate professionally with patients, researchers, medical doctors and business professionals. Therefore, they not only need to be proficient in their skills but also have a working knowledge of research, physics and physicality of the hearing mechanism,” she said.

In her early professional career, she conducted research for the W.M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neurosciences at University of California, San Francisco and Brain-Computer Interface Development at the N.A.S.A. Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Dr. Musacchia completed a post-doctoral fellowship sponsored by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32) at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York. Following this, she completed a second post-doctoral position in developmental neuroscience at the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University in Newark.

Her research interests revolve around the neuronal mechanisms of hearing. She is also active in foundations for early music education (e.g. VH1 Save the Music) and is the developer and president of Baby Rhythms®, a music program for infants and toddlers.

“My long-term goal is to generate research that is translatable to the classroom and clinic.”

A few interesting facts about Dr. Musacchia include: she is currently learning to speak Korean, she played trumpet in a 15-piece funk and disco band during her twenties, and she has a weakness for peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, but does not like chocolate.