What We Do...

The Rachel Upjohn Building, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan

The Rachel Upjohn Building, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan


The speech and stuttering 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 and treatment options for stuttering are 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 lead to further 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. Our MSU lab website, which provides details about this longitudinal study in children who stutter, can be found at childstutter.org.

Michigan State University campus areal photo

Michigan State University campus areal photo

News and Updates

April, 2015

Three undergraduate students working in the lab, Alex Powers, Lexy Barman, Jessa Prieskorn, along with PhD student Greg Spray, presented a poster (The title of the poster: "Predicting persistence versus recovery in developmental stuttering") at the recent MSU UURAF meeting. 

They were awarded first place by the Cognitive Science Program judges!

March, 2015

Our recent publication, "White matter neuroanatomical differences in young children who stutter" was selected as an Editor's choice article and was featured on the cover of the March issue of the journal Brain. Check out the cover at the journal website, or at our Facebook page (link below).

February, 2015

Saralyn Rubsam, MA, CCC-SLP, has joined the lab to work as Speech Language Pathologist in our lab. Welcome, Saralyn!

January, 2015

Ho Ming Chow, a new Research Investigator, has joined the lab. Ho Ming comes from NIDCD where he worked as a  postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Al Braun. Welcome, Ho Ming!

Matthew Smith Stuttering research fund awarded to Dr. Chang was featured in the UM psychiatry newsletter. Check it out at:


December, 2014

Dr. Chang has been selected as one of the winners to receive this year's Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Award :http://sitemaker.umich.edu/advance/crosby_research_fund

November, 2014

UM Dept. of Psychiatry Headlines the Mathew K. Smith Stuttering Research Project: http://ummentalhealth.info/2014/11/06/the-matthew-k-smith-stuttering-research-project/

Dr. Chang and doctoral student Liz Wieland attended the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference held in Washington, DC:

Chang, S-E., Choo, A., Angstadt, M., Zhu, D.C. (2014). White matter differences in young children who stutter. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC. 2014 Abstract Viewer/Itinerary Planner. (to appear). *Accepted into Neuroscience 2014’s media materials “Hot Topics” book.

Wieland, E.A., McAuley, J.D., Zhu, D., Dilley, L.C., Chang, S.E. (2014). Brain activity differences during rhythm discrimination in adults who stutter. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC. 2014 Abstract Viewer/Itinerary Planner. (to appear).

October, 2014

Dr. Chang was awarded a Clinical Research grant from the American Speech-Language Hearing Foundation for a project entitled, "Enhancing speech motor function in stuttering speakers with neuromodulation: A tDCS study".

September, 2014

New job posting on a Research Investigator position in the lab: look for it at http://umjobs.org 

Research Investigator in Neural Bases of Developmental Stuttering