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Gruen Lab Members

Dr. Jeffrey Gruen

Dr. Gruen has received continuous funding from the NIH for dyslexia research since 1999. He currently has an NIH grant to develop a pre-symptomatic genetic screening panel for identifying children at risk for developing reading disability, utilizing the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a sample of over 10,000 children collected in the Avon region of the UK. In the 2005 annual breakthrough edition of the journal Science, the discovery of DCDC2 for dyslexia headed by Dr. Gruen, was named the 5th most important breakthrough of the year. In 2009, Dr. Gruen received a generous grant from the Manton Foundation to study genetics and dyslexia in minority children. This study, the GRaD Study (Genes, Reading and Dyslexia) is currently enrolling children ages 8-15 with and without reading problems.

Click here to view Dr. Gruen's YSM Academic Faculty Profile

Joan Bosson-Heenan

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. Faculty profile

Mellissa DeMille, Ph.D.

Mellissa is an Associate Research Scientist working in the Gruen lab. She received a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. She has worked on the genetics of Neuropsychiatric disorders at the University of California at San Francisco and added human population studies at Yale University. She is interested in the way that subtle changes in the regulation of genes may contribute to the evolution of and changes in Language. Faculty Profile

Dongnhu (Nhu) Truong, Ph.D

Nhu is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab. She received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Connecticut in 2014 under the mentorship of R. Holly Fitch where she studied neuroanatomical and genetic correlates of reading- and language- related disability using a rodent model. In the Gruen lab, she has turned her focus to human genetic studies where she examines the genetic basis of cognitive and neurological traits associated with reading and language-based learning disorders. This approach will help identify underlying genetic and neural mechanisms that contribute to the development of specific subtypes of reading and language-based disorders.

Andrew Adams

Andrew is a PhD candidate in the Department of Genetics. He joined the Gruen Lab in 2015 as part of the Molecular, Cellular, Genetics, and Developmental track of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program. His research focuses on the use of rare variants in the discovery of novel reading and language genes.

Jeffrey Malins, Ph.D.

Jeff is an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Pediatrics. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario in 2013. While at Western, Jeff studied how spoken word words are recognized in different languages such as English and Mandarin Chinese. After his PhD, Jeff moved to New Haven to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Haskins Laboratories, where he used neuroimaging to better understand how children learn to read and why it is that some children show a higher degree of response to reading intervention programs than others. In the lab, Jeff’s main focus is working with the neuroimaging data from the New Haven Lexinome Project to investigate how genetic and environmental factors interact to shape the development of different networks of the brain responsible for various learning domains, such as reading and attentional control. Jeff's website.

Steven Paniagua

Steven is a PhD candidate in the Department of Genetics. He received his B.S. at the University of Santa Cruz in 2015, while focusing on confocal microscopy in Drosophila oocyte development. He is currently studying dynamic changes in chromatin interactions, in regions associated to reading performance, during neuronal differentiation. Through this we hope to gain a better understanding of effects on brain development leading to dyslexia.

Amanda Rendall, Ph.D.

Amanda’s primary research interests are understanding the genetic, neurobiological and environmental influences contributing to language-related disorders. She received her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Connecticut under the mentorship of Dr. R. Holly Fitch in August 2017. Her dissertation work focused on the behavioral and neuroanatomical characterization of transgenic mouse models targeting risk genes of neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly those with a language component (e.g. developmental dyslexia, specific language impairment, autism spectrum disorder). As a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Jeffrey’s Gruen lab she is investigating imaging genetics of language/cognitive disorders as well as the effects of prenatal psychotropic medication exposure on language development.

Hailey Mulder

Hailey is a Research Associate specializing in neuroimaging at the New Haven Lexinome Project. Prior to joining the Gruen lab, Hailey worked in several neuroscience laboratories, including managing the collection of a large study at Haskins Laboratories using fMRI and fNIRS to investigate early indicators of reading disability in preschool and early elementary school age children. Hailey is interested in understanding the neurobiological basis of reading disability and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Denver in 2013, majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Chintan Mehta, Ph.D.

Chintan is currently an Associate Research Scientist in the lab. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Princeton in 2014.

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