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Research theme


We use neuroimaging to ask:


  • The human brain understands and produces language. For example, how does brain activity for speech processing differ from brain activity for other types of sound processing? And how does brain activity for reading differ from brain activity for object recognition and naming?
  • Stroke survivors recover the ability to speak when the parts of the brain that are normally used for language are damaged
  • Profoundly deaf people process signed and spoken languages. For example, how do deaf people learn to read in the absence of knowing about word sounds?
  • The Bilingual brain can switch back and forth between different languages

How we can predict

  • Whether and when a stroke survivor will recover their speech
  • Whether a therapeutic intervention will speed up the recovery process

Our goal is to provide:

A better understanding of how the typical and atypical brain processes language.  This information can be used to develop clinical tools that help people with speech and language disorders to understand and influence their own recovery.

It can also be used to develop more tailored treatment for individuals who have suffered a stroke and provide better literacy education interventions for deaf children.



Our research into the neural mechanisms that support language aims to benefit:

  • People with aphasia after stroke
  • Patients needing neurosurgery to language regions to treat brain tumour or epilepsy
  • Those born profoundly deaf
  • Those who speak multiple languages

Recent Findings

  • The right inferior frontal cortex contributes to linguistic and non-linguistic working memory capacity that is needed for normal speech comprehension (Gajardo et al., 2018)
  • The right posterior superior temporal sulcus plays a special role in monitoring speech output during speech production (Yamamoto et al., in press)
  • The superior and inferior parts of the left occipito-temporal sulcus have different functional roles in reading (Ludersdorfer et al., 2019)
  • Recovery from language difficulties, years after stroke, is associated with structural adaptation in the intact right hemisphere of the brain (Hope et al., 2017)
  • Recovery of picture naming abilities, after phonemic cueing treatment, is supported by reorganisation of brain activity in both the left and right hemispheres (Nardo et al., 2017)
  • The effect of post-stroke treatment for reading skill scan be predicted by quantifying the pre-treatment structural MRI, demographic and behavioural data (Aguilar et al. 2018)
  • The absence of auditory input from birth leads to dissociable and altered functions of left and right STC in deaf participants (Twomey et al., 2017)
  • Semantic category representations are shared for speech and sign language (Evans et al., 2019)

Click here to find out more about PLORAS, which predicts language outcome and recovery after stroke.

Teams in this research area