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Gruen Lab Members

  • Principal Investigator

    Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology) and of Genetics; Faculty, Investigative Medicine Program, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

    Dr. Gruen received his BS and his MD degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans. He has been at Yale since beginning internship training in pediatrics in 1981, which was followed by subspecialty training in neonatology and research training in molecular genetics with Dr. Sherman Weissman. Dr. Gruen formally joined the faculty at Yale in 1988, splitting his time as a neonatology attending in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Yale-New Haven Hospital and his lab where he initially mapped the gene for hemochromatosis. By 2000, the focus of his lab turned to mapping and identifying the reading disability (dyslexia) gene locus on chromosome 6 (DYX2). His lab was the first to generate high-resolution genetic markers, genetic association maps, and gene expression maps of DYX2. These studies led to the identification of DCDC2, a dyslexia gene that was cited by the journal Science as the 5th top breakthrough of 2005. The lab performed an NIH funded clinical study of DCDC2 and other genes related to reading and language in the ALSPAC birth cohort of 10,000 children and mothers. These studies identified the transcriptional control element called READ1, and READ1 alleles that are detrimental and protective for reading disability and language impairment. Dr. Gruen is the principal investigator for the Yale Genes, Reading and Dyslexia (GRaD) Study, a ground-breaking case-control study of dyslexia in 1,400 Hispanic American and African American children recruited from seven sites across North America. He was the Yale site PI for the NIH Pediatric Imaging NeuroGenetics (PING) Data Resource Study of 1,575 normal children, ages 3-20 years. Most recently, Dr. Gruen started the New Haven Lexinome Project, a new six-year longitudinal study of the genetics of response-to-intervention spanning the entire 2015 and 2016 New Haven Public Schools first grade classes. The goals of the New Haven Lexinome Project are to determine risk for learning disabilities conferred by specific genetic variants for presymptomatic diagnosis, and to determine how genetic variants inform intervention for precision/personal education. In addition to his research, Dr. Gruen continues to attend 8 weeks each year in the NICU at the Children’s Hospital at Yale-New Haven. How genes can change language. Short video showing how our genes could account for a substantial amount of the diversity of languages around the world
  • YCCI Senior Clinical Trials Project Manager

    Joan brings over 13 years’ experience in managing clinical trials here at Yale University. She is the associate director of the New Haven Lexinome project. She served as Project Director for the CT Early Development Project an epidemiological study of child development, the Yale Cancer Center and the Department of Pediatrics in Endocrinology, specifically Type I diabetes continuous glucose monitoring. She also serves as a founding trustee for Elm City Montessori School, a public Montessori school in New Haven. Her combination of experience in epidemiological, educational and medical research makes her uniquely qualified to direct this groundbreaking project.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow

    Mia Daucourt is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Gruen lab. She graduated from Florida State University with a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Dr. Daucourt studies individual differences in academic achievement using advanced methods that are focused on aligning research questions to the methods employed. She takes a bioecological, whole-child approach to building identification models for learning difficulties, considering the genetic, environmental, cognitive, affective, and neurological influences on academic achievement and school success. Her work before coming to Yale as a Postdoctoral Fellow focused on the home, school, and neighborhood environments and examining genetic influences using twin samples. She has joined the Gruen lab in Yale's Pediatrics Department to expand her model building to include biological data in the form of molecular genetic and neuroimaging measures to her development of empirically-driven early identification models for learning disabilities. In the Gruen lab, she is currently leading a project exploring the whole-brain functional connectivity of reading and language and its molecular genetic influences.
  • Yue is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics. She completed her bachelor's degree in Statistics at Sun Yat-sen University before joining Yale. Yue's research interests encompass various areas, including genetics and nonparametric statistical methods. Her dissertation is focusing on developing nonparametric statistical methods that can incorporate environmental information in genetic studies. Additionally, Yue is actively involved in projects employing various genetic methods to identify novel genetic variants associated with learning disabilities.
  • Mike is a PhD Student in the Department of Genetics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University in 2018, after which he joined the Ocular Genomics Institute at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Under the supervision of Dr. Eric Pierce, he helped identify the importance of DNA damage in the pathogenesis of NMNAT1-associated retinal degeneration and contributed to the development of a successful AAV-mediated gene therapy to treat the disease in a mouse model. Since 2022, he has been working under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Gruen and is currently investigating the mechanism of neurodevelopmental conditions using gene edited organoid models.
  • Clinical Fellow

    Anna, a pediatric hematology-oncology fellow at the Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, combines her clinical work with research. She received her MD degree from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland, and she is now pursuing a PhD in the Investigative Medicine Program. Her research is focusing on the genetic factors influencing the pathophysiology and patient outcomes in sickle cell anemia.
  • I am a PhD student in Biostatistics. My research interests are statistical genetics, neuroimaging, and imaging genetics. I am developing novel methods and applying existing statistical methods on genomic data, such as whole-genome sequencing data and biobank scale dataset, to identify genetic variants and genes for diseases and complex traits.

Recent Alumni

Natalie Powers, PhD Post-Doctoral Associate, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME

John Eicher, PhD Senior Scientist, Merck, Boston, MA

Angela Montgomery, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), Director, Yale NICU GRAD Program

Anastasia Wise, PhD Epidemiologist, Division of Genomic Medicine
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

Kelly Cho, PhD Research Scientist, Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, Division of Aging, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center

Haiying Meng, MD-PhD Clinical Fellow, Human Genetics, University of Cincinnati Medical Center

Christopher Gibson, MD Post-Doctoral Fellow, Medical Oncology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA

Natalie Cope, PhD Teacher of Science, Alleyne’s High School, Stone, Staffordshire, UK


Jan Frijters, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator, New Haven Lexinome Project
Associate Professor Brock University
Click to visit Dr. Frijters's Faculty page at Brock University.

Kevin Tang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor -- ZJU 100 Young Professor (Hundred Talents Program)
Department of Linguistics, Zhejiang University
Click to visit Dr. Tang's website

In-Hyun Park, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Genetics
Associate Professor in the Child Study Center
Yale Stem Cell Center
Click to visit Dr. Park's Faculty page

Lawrence D. Shriberg, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Click to visit Dr. Shriberg's Faculty Website

Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center (CLDRC)
Institute for Behavioral Studies
University of Colorado, Boulder
Click to visit the CLDRC's website