Dr. Jamila Minga
Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences
Member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Contact Information

Office: Duke South Yellow Zone 4000, Durham, NC 27710

Campus Mail: DUMC Box 3805, Durham, NC 27710

Phone: 919-681-2279

Email: jamila.minga@duke.edu

Join our research



Scientific Focus

Under the leadership of Dr. Jamila Minga, the Minga Right Hemisphere Communication Lab is dedicated to understanding the communication impairments, particularly those concerning language production, that can occur following acquired damage to the right hemisphere after stroke. Dr. Minga co-developed the RHDBank database and protocol as a foundation for increasing scientific inquiry and understanding of language production after a right hemisphere stroke. We are dedicated to improving knowledge about specific hemispheric contributions to language as a basis for engineering population specific diagnostic and treatment approaches that will improve the quality of life of survivors, their loved ones, and caregivers. We are committed to accomplishing these goals with the support of survivors, community and educational partners.

Our goal is to engage in research that will:

  1. Identify reliable patterns of communication during structured and unstructured language production tasks for improved diagnostic outcomes.
  1. Contribute to the discovery and understanding of brain-behavior relationships for language production using neuroimaging.
  1. Facilitate client-centered and driven discussions with survivors of right hemisphere stroke community (survivors, family, friends, and support entities). 

Funded Grants

Selected Contributions

  • RHDBank development (rhd.talkbank.org); the largest repository of language samples for the study of discourse after right hemisphere stroke
  • Identified question-asking as an area of deficit after right hemisphere stroke
  • Piloted treatment focused on enhancing awareness of communication challenges after a right hemisphere stroke

Lab Members

Clinical Research Coordinator, 2022- Present
Research Assistant
Speech-language pathologist, Duke University Health System

2019-2021 Clinical Research Coordinator 

  • Marcia Rodriguez M.SP., CCC-SLP

Former Speech-Language Pathology Student Research Assistants

  • Nelya Kirby, Duke Undergraduate
  • Giselle "Gigi" Dunn, BS
  • Derrick Davis, NCCU Graduate Student
  • Kyrsten Legrant, NCCU Graduate Student
  • Alexandra "Lexie" Ortiz, Undergraduate 
  • Jada Elleby, MS 
  • Mallory Parke, MS
  • Megan Hollembaek, MS
  • Emily McGinn MS
  • Joyah Morris MS
  • Kayla Valentine, MS
  • Taravia McLawhorn, MS
  • Jennifer Nelthropp, CCC-SLP
  • Julia Black, CCC-SLP
  • Kaitlynne Julie Bryan, CCC-SLP
  • Whitney Hewitt, CCC-SLP
  • Juliet Bourgeois-Berwyn, CCC-SLP
  • Olivia DeStefano, MS
  • Stephanie Furimsky, CCC-SLP
  • Samantha Tyson, CCC-SLP
  • Leilani Burgess, CCC-SLP
  • Sarah Stidham, CCC-SLP
  • Ashton Wainright, CCC-SLP
  • Frank Brown, CCC-SLP
  • Traci Bright, CCC-SLP
  • Sarah Baker, MS
  • Sarah Allen, MS
  • Zhaojing Liu, MS


Duke CNAP Welcomes First Speech-Language Pathologist

Duke’s Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program (CNAP) is set to welcome its first speech-language pathologist as a doctoral student. Shanika Phillips Fullwood, a clinically certified SLP with over a decade of experience, will begin her studies in the fall of 2024.

Future Physician Discovers Intersections Between Media and Science

Perez-Sanchez has completed two independent studies in the lab and co-authored a paper on non-muscle myosins — proteins involved in muscle contraction and other types of motor processes. And if that wasn’t enough, she recently became involved in the Minga Right Hemisphere Communication lab, which is focused on understanding the communication impairments of individuals who have experienced a stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain.

Right-Hemisphere Strokes: Researching Linguistic Apragmatism

Pragmatic communication skills can be impaired when a stroke causes apragmatism. Jamila Minga, Ph.D., seeks to help survivors of right-hemisphere stroke return to their jobs, families, and communities with their best possible outcomes.

Defending The Brain

Stroke patients with damage to the right side of their brains don’t ask a lot of yes-no questions. Although they commonly retain their command of language, people with right hemisphere damage (RHD) have trouble processing the information and assumptions that go into crafting such “polar questions.”

Duke Clinician’s Research and Passion Lead to Fund Development

Dr. Minga, a dedicated researcher at the intersection of Neurology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Communication Sciences departments, focuses her work on understanding linguistic apragmatism, a communication impairment that impairs the ability to use contextually appropriate language after a right hemisphere stroke.


Help Right Brain Stroke Survivors with Apragmatism (PDF)


Right Hemisphere Strokes | Why Do You Study That?

Jamila Minga, Ph.D. studies right hemisphere strokes and their resulting brain disorders. Right hemisphere strokes differ from the more widely known left hemisphere strokes in that the survivors are still capable of speech but have trouble with pragmatic language (the ability to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it).

Minga’s Minions

lab members dressed up as Minions

Join Our Lab and Become One of Minga’s Minions!

Are you ready to embark on a journey of scientific mischief and discovery of right hemisphere communication? Talented individuals with a passion for innovation are welcome to complete our form to join our extraordinary lab team! When we have an opening, we will contact you.

Complete this form and unlock the door to Minionhood

Don't miss your chance to be a part of groundbreaking, cutting-edge research and maybe a few banana-related shenanigans along the way. We're not just looking for team members but assembling a league of extraordinary minions! Join us, and let the adventure begin!

Hidden Diagnosis Documentary

Dr. Minga and stroke survivors

“RHD: Hidden Diagnosis” is a compelling documentary produced by Dr. Jamila Minga Ph.D, CCC-SLP. The film delves into the profound impact of right hemisphere brain damage (RHD) on stroke survivors and their families. It provides an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs of these survivors.

The narrative also follows a dedicated group of graduate students from North Carolina Central University’s (NCCU) Speech-Language Pathology program. Amidst the Covid Pandemic, these students adapt and learn to facilitate an online communication treatment group for RHD stroke survivors.

In 2023, this documentary was selected for screening at four prestigious film festivals: the North Carolina Film Festival, the Longleaf Film Festival, the Raleigh Film & Art Festival, and the Foothills Film Festival.

The documentary is directed by Michael Pearce, a professor of mass communication at NCCU. His direction brings a unique perspective to the film, making it a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding the human side of medical conditions like RHD.

Film festival selection badges
Raleigh Film & Art Festival and Foothills Film Festival badges
Simon Barton sitting at a table
RHD stroke survivor, Simon Barton, at his book signing held at the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Convention in Boston, MA, 2023.
Sarah Barton, Dr. Minga, and Simon Barton
Sarah Barton, Dr. Minga, and Simon Barton at the RHD: Hidden Diagnosis Documentary Screening at ASHA. Boston, MA, 2023.
Room full of people watching Hidden Diagnosis
Full house-RHD: Hidden Diagnosis. Encore requested.

Presentation Highlights

Research Presentations

ANCDC 2022 Dinner
2022 ANCDS Annual Meeting. Pictured: Left to right; Margaret Lehman Blake, Alexandria Durfee, Jamila Minga,  and Argye Hillis at pre-conference dinner in New Orleans, LA.
2022 ANCDS Annual Meeting Program. 
group of Minga lab members
Left to right pictured: Ashton Wainright, Leilani Burgess, Dr. Jamila Minga, Sarah Stidham at NBALSH Convention 2017
Members of the Minga Laboratory
Dr. Brielle Stark, La'Toria Jallah, and IU doctoral students (Julianne Alexander, Comfort Fabode, Malachi Henry, Brandon Merritt, Karli Morris, Armando Ramirez, and Katelyn Urena) with Dr. Minga after her presentation for the 13th Annual Diane Kewley-Port (DKP) Mentored Lecture.
2022 ANCDS Annual Meeting: Dr. Jamila Minga presenting. 
Dr. Leanne Togher, Dr. Jamila Minga, and Dr. Mckay Sohlberg
Dr. Leanne Togher, Dr. Jamila Minga, and Dr. Mckay Sohlberg at ANCDS 2023.

Minga and Minions moments

group of Minga lab members
Left to right pictured: Zhaojong Liu, Mallory Parke, Dr. Jamila Minga, Jada Elleby, and Megan Hollembaek at GRUB in Durham NC, 2021
Minga's Minions at an Escape Room
Minga’s Minions’ end-of-the-semester/graduation celebration at Game On Escapes at Boxyard in RTP.



The Minga Right Hemisphere Communication (MRHC) Lab can be contacted via email at mingarhclab@duke.edu.