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May 1, 2019

This is Part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Dennis Drayna, a human geneticist who has identified mutations in several genes that cause communications disorders, particularly stuttering, using family- and population-based genetic methods. Dr. Drayna's team studies the biochemical and cellular effects of these mutations and how they may cause specific neuronal pathologies. With so much to cover, we divided this episode into two parts. Here, we continue to explore stuttering research and delve into Dr. Drayna’s perspectives about research and research training at the NIH, as well as his lab’s ground-breaking work on how genetic variation affects the sense of taste and how population-specific genetic factors can influence preference for menthol in cigarettes, a common flavor additive that is particularly popular among African American smokers.

Dennis Drayna, Ph.D., is a Senior Investigator in the Section on Systems Biology of Communication Disorders at NIH's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Learn more about Dr. Drayna and his research at