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

March 21, 2017

New position opening for postdocs! For details, please see the link below:

Apply to join our thriving and exciting team of scientists, clinicians, and staff members conducting research to elucidate the neurobiological bases of stuttering.

February 17, 2017

Check out the lab's most recent article In Press in the Special Issue on NeuroImaging Studies on Stuttering in Journal of Fluency Disorders (Title: Anomalous network architecture of the resting brain in children who stutter. In this article,  whole brain connectomics analyses were used for the first time to comprehensively examine developmental functional connectivity differences in children who stutter. Furthermore, anomalous network connectivity patterns found in earlier scans predicted persistence or recovery from stuttering in later years. Click here for the article

January 9, 2017

Giving Blue – Thank You – and a Happy New Year! We would like to thank those who gave to the Matthew K. Smith Stuttering Research Fund on Giving Blue Day in November 2016. It’s now a new year, and with that comes a new opportunity to donate. All gifts up to 10,000 are being matched. Your donation supports innovative neurobiological research on stuttering. Our goal is to develop new and effective therapeutic interventions for those who stutter.

January 4th, 2017

Dr. Garnett presented at the Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds Data Blitz. The title of her talk was Modulating brain activity in speech areas with noninvasive brain stimulation (HD-tDCS). 

December 15th & 16th

SNL celebrated the end of the semester on both the UM and MSU campuses. We're looking forward to a great 2017! Click here for photos.

December 8

Our latest newsletter is now available. Click here to see what we have been up to in the SNL.

Click here for previous news