Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience



The Neurotherapeutics group investigates the rehabilitation of language and cognitive deficits caused by stroke and dementia. The group is jointly led by Prof Jenny Crinion and Prof Alex Leff.

Jenny Crinion

Aex Leff

Jenny Crinion

Group Leader - Crinion Lab


Alex Leff

Group Leader - Leff Lab


Neurotherapeutics Research

Our research focuses on the rehabilitation of acquired language and cognitive impairments, in individuals who have had a stroke and those with dementia. We specialise in developing novel digital interventions (i.e. apps and web-based therapies) for hemianopic alexia, aphasia and other neurological conditions.

We are passionate about involving end users in the co-design of our therapy apps and at all stages of our research.

We are also interested in the potential application of non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g. tDCS) in enhancing therapy effects, and improving language recovery.

We use a range of neuroimaging techniques (including MRI, fMRI and MEG) to further our understanding of the language network, identify how the brain changes in response to rehabilitation (neuroplasticity) and to explain and predict individual differences in recovery.

Group Members

Haya Akkad

Haya Akkad

Haya is a PhD student with a background in clinical and cognitive neuroscience. She is funded by an independent BRUK fellowship to improve recovery in patients left with speech production difficulties after a stroke. To do this, she uses methods of non-invasive brain stimulation, specifically transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), alongside functional brain imaging techniques such as MEG and fMRI to characterise the coordinated interactions between brain regions that support successful speech prduction. She uses this to inform the development of a non-invasive brain stimulation intervention that can be used alongside behavioural treatment to strengthen brain network functionality and improve speech rehabilitation in patients with post-stroke Aphasia. You can read more about Haya's research here: https://www.brainresearchuk.org.uk/research-project/stroke-improving-speech-recovery-haya-akkad

David Sabate Barbera

David Barbera

MRC Industrial CASE PhD student interested in developing software to help people with aphasia recover their speech. I am involved in the iTALKbetter project for which I am preparing the speech recognition module and its integration into a mobile platform. My background is in Mathematics, Economics and Computer Games programming.

Catherine Doogan

Cathrine 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.

Victoria Fleming

Victoria Fleming

Victoria is a Research Assistant and PhD student working on the ‘Listen-In’ project, funded by the NIHR i4i programme. Her PhD is focused on developing and testing a home-based digital therapy application, for individuals with impaired speech comprehension caused by stroke. Victoria is using a combination of behavioural and structural imaging (MRI) methods to investigate the efficacy of speech comprehension therapy, and identify factors which predict treatment outcomes. She will also use longitudinal structural imaging techniques to investigate treatment-related neuroplasticity.  

Victoria is a Speech and Language Therapist, and completed her undergraduate training at University College London in 2014. Prior to this Victoria completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex.

Thomas Hope

Thomas Hope

Language is our defining cognitive skill. I study the neurobiology of language in health and disease, with a particular focus on language impairments consequent to abrupt brain damage (e.g. in stroke). By studying how damage causes deficits, I aim to infer the organisation of language in the undamaged brain. I also try to understand how patients recover from these impairments, and in this sense my research also addresses neuroplasticity. My most recent work aims to understand why some patients respond so much more quickly and fully to therapeutic interventions for these impairments than others. By showing that this inter-patient variability is systematic, and even predictable to some extent, I hope to contribute to a more positive and personalised medicine for these patients. 

Thomas Langford

Thomas Langford


Tom is a PhD student with a background in neuroengineering. His current research focuses on applying co-design and machine learning to optimise a reading therapy app (iReadMore) for people with aphasia or alexia. iReadMore is available to download now on Apple and Android devices. Tom is funded by an MRC industrial CASE studentship.

Emily Upton

Emily Upton

Emily is a Research Assistant and PhD student with a background in speech and language therapy and cognitive neuroscience. Her current research focuses on the development of three Digital Interventions in Neuro-Rehabilitation (DINR). These include: 1) the iTALKbetter word retrieval therapy app for people with post-stroke aphasia; 2) the Gotcha! name retrieval therapy app for people with dementia; and 3) an app for stroke patients with visuo-spatial neglect. As part of her PhD, she will use MRI to investigate how brain damage relates to changes in speech production following the use of the iTALKbetter app.

Arshia Qasim Ahmad 

Arshia Qasim Ahmad Smiling At Camera


Dr Arshia Qasim Ahmad is a neurologist and a PhD candidate working on aphasia rehabilitation, through the dual pathway fellowship offered by UCL and HCA. She does clinical work at Wellington Hospital Neurorehabilitation Unit and aphasia research at ICN. She has joined the team from Tokyo, Japan, where her family currently reside. Her other interests are learning languages and practicing yoga.

Honorary Research Fellows

Mathieu Doogan
Pedro Quijada Leyton
Alejandro Leyton 


Sharifa Al-Ragam

Sharifa Al-Ragam

Sharifa completed a PhD whilst at the Neurotherapeutics lab. Her researched focused on the development and validation of a therapy app for Arabic readers with Hemianopic Alexia. She used behavioural testing and eye-movement tracking to achieve this. The app retains eye movements that are important for reading using scrolling text. After her time at the Neurotherapeutics lab, Sharifa returned to Kuwait to a position as Assistant Professor at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training.

Davide Nardo

Davide Nardo

Davide is a postdoctoral research associate with a background in cognitive and clinical neuroscience. During his time at the lab, he used behavioural and functional neuroimaging techniques to investigate the effects of neurostimulation (tDCS) and phonemic-cueing-based anomia training on spoken language recovery in chronic aphasic patients. After leaving the Neurotherapeutics lab, Davide moved to the Cambridge Brain Sciences Unit to work with Dr. Michael Anderson.

Katerina Pappa

Katerina Pappa

Katerina worked as a research assistant with an interest in the neurorehabilitation of aphasic patients with speech production difficulties. Whilst working at the NT lab, she implemented neurostimulation techniques (tDCS) combined with functional neuroimaging techniques and behavioural training. Katerina left the Neurotherapeutics lab to take up a PhD position at the University of Glasgow under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Evans.

Sonia Brownsett

sonia Brownsett

Sonia Brownsett was a post-doc and Speech and Language therapist at the Neurotherapeutics lab, she worked on the ‘Listen-in’ project. This project aimed to combine therapy for auditory comprehension deficits with gamification technologies in order to maximally engage patients with their aphasia therapy. 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. After working at the Neurotherapeutics lab, Sonia moved to the Queensland University of Technology.

Zoe Woodhead


During her time at the Neurotherapeutics lab, Zoe worked as a Post-doctoral researcher on the 'iReadMore' project. This project investigated whether a therapy app for acquired reading disorders after stroke, called ‘iReadMore’, improved single word reading. She continues to collaborate with the Neurotherapeutics group on the online release of the iReadMore app. In 2016, Zoe moved to the University of Oxford, to take up a Postdoctoral Research Associate position working for Dorothy Bishop in the OSCCI lab. Her current research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional transcranial doppler sonography (fTCD) to investigate the profile of lateralisation across various language tasks. 

Hui Hui Gan

Davide Nardo

Hui Hui is currently an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience. She has practised as a Speech Language Therapist in Singapore for over 10 years and her special interest is in communication disorders after acquired brain injury. The current project she is working on is exploring the neural correlates underlying naming error patterns in Aphasia using confrontational naming and picture description tasks. 

Sheila Kerry

Sheila Kerry

Sheila is a post-doctoral research associate working on the Back of the Brain Project (BoB). This collaborative project is concerned with visual and cognitive problems following stroke to the back of the brain. Sheila’s PhD focussed on a reading therapy app, called iReadMore, for people with a post-stroke reading disorder.  She used Magnetoencephalography to investigate connectivity changes in participants with Central Alexia as a result of using iReadMore. 

Oscar Aguilar

oscar aguilar.

Oscar completed a PhD studentship funded by the Colombian government whilst at the Neurotherapeutics lab. His research focused on understanding the relationship between aphasic patients' response to therapy and their capacity to learn. He worked on the iReadMore project, where he used language and cognitive tests along with Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) to understand predictors of response to a word reading retraining app, called ‘iReadMore’, in patients’with reading difficulties following a stroke. Oscar returned to Columbia in 2017 as an associate Professor in the Faculty of Psychology at Pontificia University Javeriana, Colombia.