Melanie Fried-Oken, PhD

Melanie Fried-Oken photo

Professor, Neurology, Pediatrics, Biomedical Engineering, and Otolaryngology
Academic Interests: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Assistive Technology, Speech-Language Pathology, Neurogenic Communication Disorders
503 494-7587



Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., CCC/Sp is a certified speech-language pathologist and a leading international clinician and researcher in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). She provides expertise in the design of communication technologies, evaluation protocols, treatment strategies and policy for persons with congenital or acquired disabilities who cannot use speech or writing for communication.

Dr. Fried-Oken has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles. Along with Dr. Hank Bersani, she is author of the book, Speaking Up and Spelling It Out, a collection of essays written by adults who rely on speech technology. She has served as guest editor and associate editor of the international journal, Augmentative and Alternative Communication. She is director of the OHSU REKNEW Projects, where she leads a number of federally funded research grants on AAC for persons with primary progressive aphasia, locked-in syndrome, neuromuscular diseases, dementia, and the normally aging population.

Dr. Fried-Oken has conducted research since 1979 and served patients at OHSU since 1991. She strongly believes that individuals with complex communication needs must be involved in all levels of research, and that the best AAC research agendas are generated with patients and families in the clinical setting. When she is not in her office, she can be found traveling, hiking, kayaking, cooking, reading or visiting her children.



Ph.D. – Boston University, 1984, Interdisciplinary Study of Language Behavior
M.A. – Northwestern University, 1978, Communication Disorders and Sciences
B.A. – University of Rochester, 1976, Psychology and Linguistics


Summary of Current Research

R01 DC009834 NIH/NIDCD. 2/1/2009 – 1/13/2015 (Fried-Oken, PI). Translational refinement of adaptive BCI communication system for locked-in patients
The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a new non-invasive brain-computer interface that integrates new engineering developments in EEG analysis with language models for people who are functionally locked-in so they can participate in communication and environmental control.

H133E140026 U.S. DHHS. 10/1/2014 – 9/30/2019 (J. Light, PI). Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative & Alternative Communication
The RERC on AAC is a NIDRR-funded collaborative assistive technology center that supports research, development, training, and dissemination activities in rehabilitation strategies, techniques and interventions. The OHSU team will contribute to the research and development of brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, applications for co-construction of messages by people who use speech-generating devices (SGDs), and an examination of the cognitive demands of SGDs. We also will participate in the training and dissemination activities of the RERC on AAC. 

R21 DC014099 NIH/NIDCD. 9/1/2014 – 8/31/2016 (Fried-Oken, PI). Co-construction of lexica in primary progressive aphasia
This project combines AAC technology and innovative Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques in an effort to develop and evaluate a novel intervention tool for individuals with language loss secondary to primary progressive aphasia (PPA).

R43 DC013294 NIH/NIDCD. 9/1/2014 – 5/31/2015 (Jakobs, PI). Co-construction for AAC Devices
This project will develop an innovative, technology-based system for AAC conversation that is grounded in the success and efficiency of dialogue co-construction and word prediction. The app is being developed for persons with SSPI and their communication partners in collaboration with Invotek, Inc.


Scholarly Work/Publications

  1. Fried-Oken, M., Mooney, A., Peters, B., & Oken, B. (2015). A clinical screening protocol for the RSVP Keyboard™ brain computer interface. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 10(1): 11-18. doi:10.3109/17483107.2013.836684.
  2. Huggins JE, Guger C, Allison B, Anderson CW, Batista A, Brouwer A-M, Brunner C, Chavarriaga R, Fried-Oken M, Gunduz A, Gupta D, Kübler A, Leeb R, Lotte F, Miller LE, Müller-Putz G, Rutkowski T, Tangermann M, Thompson DE. (2014). Workshops of the Fifth International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting:  Defining the Future. Brain-Computer Interface Journal, 1(1), 27-49.
  3. Oken, B.S., Orhan, U., Roark, B., Erdogmus, D., Fowler, A., Mooney, A., Peters, B., Miller, M., and Fried-Oken, M. (2014). Brain-Computer Interface with Language Model-Electroencephalography Fusion for Locked-In Syndrome. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 28(4): 387-394.
  4. Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Noethe, G., Dixon, M., Fuller, B., Mills, C., Gibbons, C., Daniels, D., Small, J., Still, K., & Oken, B. (2012). AAC to support conversation in persons with moderate Alzheimer's disease. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 28(4), 219-231.
  5. Fried-Oken, M., Beukelman, D., & Hux, K. (2012). Current and future AAC research considerations for adults with acquired cognitive and communication impairments. Assistive Technology, 24, 56-66.
  6. Fried-Oken, M., and Granlund, M. (2012). AAC and the ICF: A good fit to emphasize outcomes. Augmentative and Alternative  Communication, 28(1): 1-3.
  7. Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Gibbons, C. (2010). Providing augmentative and alternative communication treatment to persons with progressive nonfluent aphasia. Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders. 21-25.
  8. Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Baker, G., Dixon, M., Mills, C., Schultz, D., Oken, B. (2009). The Effect of Voice Output on AAC-Supported Conversations of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease. ACM Transactions of Accessible Computing (TACCESS). 1(3).
  9. Fried-Oken, M., Fox, L. Rau, MT, Tullman, J., Lou, JS (2006). Purposes of AAC Device Use for Persons with ALS as Reported by Caregivers. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 22(3): 209-221.
  10. Fried-Oken, M. (2001). Been there, done that: Personal experiences with augmentative communication for persons with acquired communication impairments. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. 17: 138-140.