Prof Alex Leff - Research

My research has two main components:

  • Brain imaging studies of aphasia and alexia.
  • Web-based therapies for patients with visual impairment or language impairment.

I am also a member of both the Department of Brain, Repair and Rehabilitation at the Institute of Neurology, a principal investigator at The Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging and the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London.


Web-based Therapies


Read-Right provides a free downloadable therapy which can help to improve reading speeds in patients with Hemianopic Alexia (a specific reading disorder related to visual impairment usually caused by a stroke or head injury).

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Eye-Search is a free online therapy for patients with visual search problems caused by brain injury. It is a clinically proven, behavioural therapy designed to improve patients' speed and accuracy when finding objects.

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Sheila Kerry

Sheila is a Research Assistant working on the central alexia project. Her PhD is focused on investigating the effects of tDCS on aphasic patient’s reading performance, and seeing how therapy effects play out across the distributed reading network using MEG.

Victoria Fleming

Victoria is trained in both psychology and speech and language therapy. She is a Research Assistant working on the Listen-In project, funded by the NIHR i4i programme. Her PhD is focused on the development and testing of a web-based therapy application for patients with impaired speech comprehension caused by stroke.

Catherine Doogan

Catherine is a Post Doc and Clinical Psychologist who is working on developing three Digital Interventions in Neuro-Rehabilitation (DINR). The first, iTALKbetter, is an interactive word retrieval therapy for with people with aphasia; the second is to help people with dementia remember the names of familiar people, while the third is for stroke patients with visuo-spatial neglect.

Henry Coley-Fisher

Henry is a Research Assistant and PhD student with a background in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. His current research focuses on Digital Interventions in Neuro-rehabilitation (DINR). Henry is also investigating whether stroke patients who have trouble understanding speech also have problems processing non-speech sounds. He is also involved in the Listen-In project.


Sonia Brownsett

Sonia is a post-doc and Speech and Language therapist working on the ‘Listen-in’ project. During her PhD she developed a computer-based therapy targeting auditory discrimination deficits and used fMRI to investigate how ‘non-language’ areas of the brain are important in the rehabilitation of aphasia. Her new project, ‘Listen-in’, aims to combine therapy for auditory comprehension deficits with gamification technologies in order to maximally engage patients with their aphasia therapy.

Oscar Aguilar Mejia

Oscar is a PhD student funded by the Colombian government. He is interested in understanding the relationship between aphasic patients' response to therapy and their capacity to learn. His hypothesis is that we can predict patients’ response to reading therapy based on their cognitive performance on a range of linguistic and non-linguistic tests, and the distribution of their stroke damage.

Yean-Hoon Ong

Yean worked on websites which provide online therapies for patients with visual and language impairments.

  • Read-Right: a free online therapy for patients with Hemianopic Alexia.
  • Eye-Search: a free online therapy for patients with visual search problems.
  • iREADmore: reading therapy to improve the language function of patients with aphasia and a reading problem (central alexia); trial active now.
  • iTALK: anomia therapy to improve the language function of patients with aphasia; currently under development.

Zoe Woodhead

Zoe researched the neural networks supporting reading in both healthy controls and patient groups, using fMRI and MEG. She also developed a behavioural therapy for patients with pure alexia and an adapted version of this therapy ‘iREADmore’ in patients with central alexia.