Dr Sonia Brownsett

Senior Research Fellow

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Senior Research Fellow

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 336 55216


Dr. Brownsett is a Speech Pathologist and neuroscientist. Trained initially in the UK as a Speech and Language Therapist, she advanced her expertise with a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience from Imperial College, London. Her doctoral research, employing functional brain imaging (fMRI), provided critical insights into the interaction between domain-general and language-specific brain networks, particularly in healthy older adults and individuals recovering from post-stroke aphasia. At the Queensland Aphasia Research Centre, she leads the ‘Imaging Predictors’ and ‘Aphasia TechHub’ groups, pushing the boundaries of research on neural markers and the use of technology in communication.

Dr. Brownsett's research interests are broad and impactful. She investigates the progression and extent of language difficulties in patients with brain injuries beyond stroke, including those with epilepsy and brain cancer. She explores the interplay between general cognitive brain networks and task-specific networks, seeking to understand and enhance recovery mechanisms. Her work also focuses on identifying neurobiological predictors of aphasia recovery, the effects of premorbid brain health on post-stroke language recovery, and the reorganization of language networks following neurosurgery.

Pioneering the integration of technology into therapy, Dr. Brownsett co-developed an innovative therapy application as part of the Listen-In trial, utilizing gamification to enhance engagement in high-dose aphasia therapy. She now leads the Aphasia Tech Hub, which supports individuals with aphasia to use and access technology. Her team, including those with lived experience of aphasia, adapts and creates communication-accessible guidance for using technology and provides tailored consultations to improve technology access.

Dr. Brownsett's dedication to involving people with aphasia in her research has earned her numerous accolades, including the National Health and Medical Research Council Consumer Engagement Award and the UK Stroke Forum Conference's Patient, Carer, and Public Involvement Winner award. She is a key member of the Living Stroke Guidelines initiative, ensuring clinical management of stroke is informed by the latest evidence. Through her innovative research and commitment to inclusive practices, Dr. Brownsett continues to contriute to advancing the field of aphasia recovery and neuroscience.

Research Interests

  • Using gamification technology to enhance engagement in therapy
  • Understanding role of domain-general cognition on language learning and rehabilitation
  • Understanding how neuroimaging markers can be used to make predictions about recovery.
  • How neuromodulation can enhance learning in aphasia
  • Understanding dosage in aphasia treatment
  • How TMS can be used to modulate domain general and language specific processes in the healthy brain
  • How we assess cognition in people with aphasia

Research Impacts

Dr Brownsett's work impacts multiple aspects of society.

  • Her work ensuring that those with communication impairments are involved in research, has not only contributed to an improved understanding of the need to involve people in research, but how this can be optimised to ensure that the voices of those living with communication impairments drive the research agenda. Awarded National Health and Medical Research Council Consumer Engagement Team Award.
  • She works as an invited expert member of Aphasia Management working group on the world-first Living stroke guidelines, translating cutting -edge research evidence into clinical recommendations.
  • Her ongoing collaborations with Neurosurgical planning teams, has resulted in funding for 0.2 FTE Speech Pathologist position embedded within the Neurosurgical planning team.
  • She was part of the team that developed and trialled the ListenIn therapy application, a commercial grade therapy application, available on googleplay (over 100 downloads). This application was the first aphasia therapy application to use gamification to optimise dose of therapy and include people with aphasia both in the research team and co-design of the application.
  • She co-facilitates the NHMRC CRE Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation Seminar Series which has a global reach and over 100 registrations per seminar.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Imperial College London


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Available Projects

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Featured Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.