Dr Sonia Brownsett

Research Fellow

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


Dr Brownsett’s specific research interests include:

· How general cognitive brain networks (domain- general) interact with task-specific brain networks to modulate behaviour

· Neurobiological predictors of recovery of aphasia.

· How premorbid brain health impacts on recovery of language after a stroke.

· The upregulation, using both behavioural and neurostimulation techniques, of domain-general neural systems to augment language learning both in healthy older adults and people with aphasia.

· The upregulation of domain-general neural systems to augment language re-learning both in people with aphasia.

· The reorganisation of language, and the neural systems underpinning language, following neurosurgery for brain tumours and epilepsy.

· The optimal dose of aphasia therapy and early phase dose investigations.

· The organisation of verbal semantic systems within the brain.

Dr Brownsett worked as a Speech and Language therapist in the UK prior to commencing a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience at Imperial College, London. Her doctoral research used fMRI to investigate interactions between domain-general and language-specific brain networks during the performance of challenging language tasks in healthy older adults and in the recovery of post-stroke language difficulties (aphasia).

As a co-investigator on the UCL National Institute of Health Research funded Listen-In trial, she developed and tested a therapy application that utilised gamification technology to sustain user motivation and engagement in high-dose aphasia therapy. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow on the NHMRC CRE of Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation, working primarily on understanding how neurobiological markers can be used to provide more reliable predictors of language recovery. She is involved in studies investigating the impact of neurosurgery (for both tumours and epilepsy) on language and semantic systems. In addition to having over 15 years of clinical experience working with people with language difficulties, she has significant experience involving people with aphasia in the development of research studies and therapy trials.

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


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Imperial College London


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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.