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Dr. Derek Braun
Professor & Director, Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Ph.D., Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland
B.A., Computer Science, Gallaudet University

Dr. Braun is currently reconstructing the genealogy of the connexin 26 gene, which causes much of the congenital deafness in the American deaf community. The overall goal of this project is to answer some fundamental questions about why and how the large number of current connexin 26 mutations first appeared, and what these mutations and their histories can tell us about human evolution. There is some fascinating evidence that connexin 26 mutations might make deaf individuals resistant to diarrheal diseases such as dysentery and cholera, a major cause of death over the past 2,000 years. A number of authors believe that the 35delG mutation may have originated in Anatolia during the Hittite empire before 2300 BC. These are just two, of many questions, that will be answerable through this research.

As a Gallaudet student, Dr. Braun was in the New Signers Program and involved with Buff and Blue and Student Body Government.