Our lab studies the genetics of communication disorders and learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia and developmental language disorder. Dyslexia or reading disability (RD) is by far the most common learning disability in schoolchildren, with prevalence estimates ranging from 5-17%. Children with dyslexia are frequently undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed until school age. By then, educational interventions available are not as effective, since interventions are most successful when started early in development (prior to school age). Without proper remediation, affected children are at higher risk for adverse socioeconomic outcomes, poor academic performance, lowered self-esteem, and lifelong struggles with basic linguistic skills. Little is known about the underlying biological etiology of dyslexia and language impairment. However, heritability estimates for both dyslexia and language impairment range from 40% - 80% indicating a substantial genetic component but with a complex pattern of inheritance. The premise of the lab is to use a combination of statistical genetics, neuroimaging, and molecular tools to examine the biological underpinnings of dyslexia, developmental language disorder, and other learning disabilities.
We are actively seeking talented and motivated graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to join our research group. Interested candidates should send a brief description of research background/interests and curriculum vitae to Dr. Jeffrey Gruen.