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Senior Investigator

Dennis Drayna, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Communication Disorders

Building 35 Room 1F-127
35A Convent Drive MSC3320
Rockville MD 20892
Office: (301) 443-2626

Dr. Drayna received his B.A. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, and his PhD in Genetics from Harvard University in 1981. He did postdoctoral research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salt Lake City, where he constructed the first full-length genetic map of a human chromosome (the X chromosome), and performed a number of disease gene linkage studies. He then spent 15 years in the San Francisco Bay area biotechnology industry, where he worked on genetic aspects of human genes involved in cholesterol and lipid metabolism, and identified the gene responsible for hereditary hemochromatosis, an iron overload disorder, that represents the most common disease gene in Caucasians. In 1996 Dr. Drayna moved to the NIDCD, where he pursues studies on the genetics of human communication disorders.

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 and positional cloning studies, used to identify genes responsible for communication disorders in humans, including disorders of auditory pitch recognition, deficits in the human sense of bitter taste, and the speech disorder of stuttering.

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  • 1) Wooding S, Kim UK, Bamshad MJ, Larsen J, Jorde LB, Drayna D (2004)
  • Natural selection and molecular evolution in PTC, a bitter-taste receptor gene
  • American Journal of Human Genetics , 74(4), 637-46
  • 3) Prodi DA, Drayna D, Forabosco P, Palmas MA, Maestrale GB, Piras D, Pirastu M, Angius A (2004)
  • Bitter taste study in a sardinian genetic isolate supports the association of phenylthiocarbamide sensitivity to the TAS2R38 bitter receptor gene
  • Chemical Senses , 29(8), 697-702
  • 4) Shugart YY, Mundorff J, Kilshaw J, Doheny K, Doan B, Wanyee J, Green ED, Drayna D (2004)
  • Results of a genome-wide linkage scan for stuttering
  • American Journal of Medical Genetics , 124A(2), 133-5
  • 6) Kim UK, Jorgenson E, Coon H, Leppert M, Risch N, Drayna D (2003)
  • Positional cloning of the human quantitative trait locus underlying taste sensitivity to phenylthiocarbamide
  • Science , 299(5610), 1221-1225
  • 7) Puls I, Jonnakuty C, LaMonte BH, Holzbaur EL, Tokito M, Mann E, Floeter MK, Bidus K, Drayna D, Oh SJ, Brown RH Jr, Ludlow CL, Fischbeck KH (2003)
  • Mutant dynactin in motor neuron disease
  • Nature Genetics, 33(4), 455-6
  • 8) Shugart YY, Mundorff J, Kilshaw J, Doheny K, Doan B, Wanyee J, Green E, Drayna D (2003)
  • Results of a genome-wide linkage scan for stuttering
  • American Journal of Medical Genetics DOI:, 10.1002/ajmg.a.20347
  • 9) Drayna D, Coon H, Kim U-K, Elsner T, Cromer K, Otterud B, Baird L, Peiffer A, Leppert M (2003)
  • Genetic analysis of a complex trait in the Utah Genetic Reference Project: a major locus for PT taste ability on chromosome 7q and a secondary locus on chromosome 16p
  • Human Genetics , 112, 567-572
  • 10) Drayna D. (1998)
  • Genetics tunes in. Commentary.
  • Nature Genetics, 18, 96-97
  • 11) Drayna D. (1997)
  • Genetic linkage studies of stuttering; ready for prime time? Commentary.
  • Journal of Fluency Disorders, 22, 237-241
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