Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience


Leff Lab People

Group Leader
Alex Leff Smiling At Camera

Prof. Alex Leff 

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.

Group Members

Post-doctoral Research Fellows 

Dr Tae Twomey

Dr Tae Twomey Smiling At Camera


I am a postdoctoral researcher with a background in linguistics and cognitive neuroscience. I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neurobiology of language in a range of different languages/scripts and populations.

Dr Catherine Doogan

Catherine Doogan Smiling At Camera


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.

PhD Students 

Dr Neena Singh

Neena Singh Smiling At Camera


Dr. Neena R. Singh is a Senior Neurology Registrar with a sub-specialist interest in Neuro-Rehabilitation. She obtained her undergraduate medical degree from King’s College London, and was awarded the Gold Medal in her Masters in Clinical Neuroscience degree by KCL. She has attained her MRCP(UK) and MRCP Neurology qualifications, and in 2021, was awarded the Cleveland Clinic London and UCL Institute of Neurology Neuro-Rehabilitation PhD Fellowship. She is now working on the ATTEND Trial, using gamified virtual reality to treat patients with visual inattention post-stroke, across 4 centres, including the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, St. Pancras’ Rehab Unit, Charing Cross Hospital, and Luzerne Hospital, Switzerland. She is also contributing towards the set-up of the Pan-London Stroke Video Triage service at UCLH. She is a strong believer in providing holistic clinical care and looks forward to working as a Neuro-Rehabilitation Specialist in the future.

Aygun Badalova

Aygun Badalova Smiling At Camera


Aygun is a PhD student with a background in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Her current research focuses on the development of Digital Interventions in Neuro-Rehabilitation (DINR) of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. She has joined the lab where she works on the app called the Gotcha!-name retrieval therapy app to help people with dementia remember the names of familiar people. Aygun is also doing clinical work at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN).

Aygun’s research is funded by Azerbaijan State Program.


Emily Upton

Emily Upton Smiling At Camera


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.


Thomas Langford 

Tom Langford Smiling At Camera


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.

Research Assistants 

Iona Scott

Iona Scott Smiling At Camera


Iona is a Research Assistant with a Psychology MA (Hons) degree and Clinical Mental Health Sciences MSc. She is working on the Gotcha! and iTalkBetter project teams. Previously, Iona has worked on research at UCL investigating non-pharmacological interventions that support functional independence in people living with dementia at home.

Lucy Taylor 

Lucy Taylor Smiling At Camera


Is a part-time MSc Cognitive Neuroscience student with a background in Nutrition and Medical Sciences, and previous research experience in metacognition and cardiac interoception in patients with anorexia nervosa. More recently, Lucy has been involved in organisation and analysis of behavioural data from the Queen Square Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia Programme for patients with post-stroke language deficits. She is working on the Gotcha! project, a clinical trial into the effectiveness of a name retrieval app for patients with dementia.

Honorary Research Fellows 

Alejandro Quijada Leyton

Alejandro Quijada Leyton Smiling At Camera


Alejandro is a software engineer and researcher in the area of human-centered computing with specialty in gamification. Over the last few years, he has contributed to the gamification centered redesign and development of the Eye-Search application, and has carried out qualitative and quantitative research on the updated version. He also provides technical support for our group’s apps.

Pedro Quijada Leyton

Pedro Quijada Leyton


Pedro is a game developer with specialty in serious games. He has contributed to our work along the years, providing early prototypes and technical support and has developed and published multiple applications for our group including: Listen-In, iTalkBetter, ATTEND and iReadMore.

You can see his work here: quiley.com