Neonatal Neurogenetic Biomarkers of Dyslexia Risk

  • English language proficiency required
  • Cambridge

Cambridge University

Dyslexia is a congenital, lifelong disability in language learning that affects up to 10% of individuals worldwide. Genetic models suggest that the dyslexic brain may be ‘mis-wired’ during fetal development as a result of faulty axonal guidance mechanisms (Giraud & Ramus, 2013; Kere, 2014). Mis-wiring disrupts neuronal oscillatory mechanisms in the auditory cortex that support neural processing of speech, leading to inaccurate speech sound representations that map poorly to letter symbols during reading (Leong & Goswami, 2015). We have previously found that neonates with a high (familial) genetic risk for dyslexia show poorer neural oscillatory processing of speech sounds at birth. We have further identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in one dyslexia susceptibility gene, DCDC2, that may significantly predict individual differences in the neonatal neural response to speech.

The Masters student will join an existing longitudinal study project that is assessing the long-term developmental outcomes of neonates with low-risk vs high-risk genetic and neural profiles, in relation to their early home language environment.

Supervisor: Victoria Leong, PhD,

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