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Dennis T. Drayna, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Systems Biology of Communication Disorders


5 Research Court
Room 2B-46
Rockville, MD 20850


Research Topics

The Section on Systems Biology of Communication Disorders is focused on identifying genetic variation in the molecular components of human communication systems. Our primary tools are genetic linkage, genomic analysis, gene identification studies, and generation of mouse models of human genetic disorders.


Dr. Drayna received his bachelor of arts degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, and his Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University in 1981. Dr. Drayna conducted his postdoctoral research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Utah, where he constructed the first full-length genetic map of a human X chromosome, and performed a number of disease-specific gene linkage studies. He later spent 15 years in the San Francisco Bay area biotechnology industry, where he worked on genetic aspects of cholesterol and lipid metabolism, and identified the gene responsible for hereditary hemochromatosis. In 1996, Dr. Drayna moved to the NIH as a visiting investigator at NHGRI. He joined the NIDCD in 1997 and since then has focused on the genetics of disorders such as auditory pitch perception, variation in the sense of taste, and disorders of voice and speech. His current research is primarily directed toward the genetics of stuttering and the identification of the neural deficits that underlie this disorder.

Selected Publications

  1. Kim UK, Jorgenson E, Coon H, Leppert M, Risch N, Drayna D. Positional cloning of the human quantitative trait locus underlying taste sensitivity to phenylthiocarbamide. Science. 2003;299(5610):1221-5.
  2. Raza MH, Mattera R, Morell R, Sainz E, Rahn R, Gutierrez J, Paris E, Root J, Solomon B, Brewer C, Basra MA, Khan S, Riazuddin S, Braun A, Bonifacino JS, Drayna D. Association between Rare Variants in AP4E1, a Component of Intracellular Trafficking, and Persistent Stuttering. Am J Hum Genet. 2015;97(5):715-25.
  3. Barnes TD, Wozniak DF, Gutierrez J, Han TU, Drayna D, Holy TE. A Mutation Associated with Stuttering Alters Mouse Pup Ultrasonic Vocalizations. Curr Biol. 2016.
  4. Kang C, Riazuddin S, Mundorff J, Krasnewich D, Friedman P, Mullikin JC, Drayna D. Mutations in the lysosomal enzyme-targeting pathway and persistent stuttering. N Engl J Med. 2010;362(8):677-85.
  5. Raza MH, Domingues CE, Webster R, Sainz E, Paris E, Rahn R, Gutierrez J, Chow HM, Mundorff J, Kang CS, Riaz N, Basra MA, Khan S, Riazuddin S, Moretti-Ferreira D, Braun A, Drayna D. Mucolipidosis types II and III and non-syndromic stuttering are associated with different variants in the same genes. Eur J Hum Genet. 2016;24(4):529-34.
This page was last updated on July 12th, 2012