The Speech Neurophysiology lab conducts research on the neural bases of developmental stuttering, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by frequent occurrences of sound-syllable repetitions, prolongations, and blocks that interrupt the flow and rhythm of speech production. Stuttering affects approximately 1% of the population, and 5% of preschool age children. The cause of stuttering is unknown, although accumulating evidence points to a neurodevelopmental etiology. Treatment options for stuttering remain limited.

Our studies involve analyses of brain functional and structural measures acquired through multimodal neuroimaging methods such as fMRI, DTI, structural MRI, fNIRS, and EEG.  Using these techniques, we are able to examine subtle differences in brain functional and structural connectivity that differentiate people who stutter compared to people who do not stutter. These findings are expected to help us better understand the mechanisms behind stuttering onset, persistence, and recovery and further lead to investigations to develop novel treatments for stuttering in the future.

Funded by the NIH (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)), our lab also conducts one of the first studies to examine brain developmental trajectories in children who stutter. This research is expected to lead to novel insights into the brain bases of stuttering during childhood. This research is currently being conducted at both the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and the Michigan State University (MSU) (East Lansing) campuses. 

Recent news

February 16, 2018

The SNL Winter Newsletter is out! Click here to read what we've been up to. 

December 6, 2017

Dr. Chang participated in the Henry Steward Talk (HSTalks) series "Speech Dysfluency". Check out her lecture here: Chang, S. (2017, November 30). Brain anatomy and functional differences in developmental stuttering [Video file]. In The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks. Retrieved December 6, 2017, from

November 9-11, 2017

SNL lab members Ho Ming Chow and Emily Garnett, along with Dr. Jennifer Chesters (Oxford University), were invited speakers at the ASHA convention held in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Chang chaired this seminar at ASHA entitled: Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Measures of Speech Fluency & Brain Activity.

Ho Ming Chow and Andrew Etchell's poster entitled "Individual Differences in White Matter Integrity in Childhood Stuttering", was designated as a Meritorious Poster. 

September 26, 2017

Notice of Award received on a new NIH R21 grant (PI: Liu, Co-Is Chang, Fitzgerald) titled: “Psychological and Neurophysiological Risk Markers of Persistent Stuttering in Early Development”. Congrats to Dr. Liu on this achievement! Exciting work on anxiety markers for childhood stuttering to begin!

September 20-23, 2017

Dr. Chang attended the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (September 20-23) held at St. Catherine's College at Oxford University. New work from the lab was presented: "Differences in the developmental trajectories of subcortical structures in childhood stuttering" (authors: Emily Garnett, Ho Ming Chow, Soo-Eun Chang).

September, 1, 2017

Our lab's research was featured in the most recent issue of the Capital Women's Lifestyle Magazine (Lansing). To check it out, please go to:

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