Neuroanatomy and Cognition Group

Picture of Dr Steven Chance

Dr Steven Chance

Associate Professor in Clinical Neurosciences
Director of Studies for Human Sciences, Wadham College


Tutor in Human Sciences. Convener of the Oxford Autism Research seminar series. Module organiser for new third year option: 'Cognition and Culture'.
Project supervision. Supervision of undergraduate projects for medical students, external visitors and internships, and PhD students.

Other Affiliations

Member of the Human Sciences Institute, University of Oxford
Member of the 21st Century School and Oxford Stem Cell Institute, Oxford
Associate member of University Dept Psychiatry, Warneford Hosp., Oxford

Society Memberships

Fellow of Linnean Society of Great Britain
Member of British Neuroscience Association
Member of International Society for Autism Research.

Editorial Positions

Editorial board, Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience

Contact: steven.chance[at]

Picture of Rebecca McKavanagh

Rebecca McKavanagh

Rebecca is a DPhil student looking at the neural basis of autism within a developmental context. She is currently using MRI analysis to look for volumetric differences in specific cortical areas and will follow this up with analysis of minicolumnar measurements in these areas in post-mortem tissue.

Contact: rebecca.mckavanagh[at]

Picture of David Menassa

David Menassa

I am looking for structural abnormalities in post-mortem brain tissue from human patients who had both autism and epilepsy in Dr. Chance’s Laboratory. I am also interested in the process of inflammation in epilepsy, and I am attempting a multidisciplinary approach involving cell biology, applied mathematics, computational modelling and imaging to answer specific questions about the function of specific cell populations of neural circuits in both epilepsy and autism.

Contact: david.menassa[at]

Picture of Mathura Ravishankar

Mathura Ravishankar

Mathura is a new M. Sc. student from Canada who will be using MRS, DTI and MEG to explore inhibitory control in individuals with autism. These neuroimaging techniques will help determine how minicolumn structure, perceptual capacity, and GABA levels differ in these individuals.

Contact: mathura.ravishankar[at]

Picture of Ribeya Mahmood

Ribeya Mahmood

Ribeya is a postgraduate student looking at microanatomical changes in specific cortical areas affected in Alzheimer’s. Using MRI and DTI techniques, cytoarchitectural changes can be studied such as volumetric differences between Controls, MCI and Alzheimer’s brains. This will be followed up by analysis of minicolumnar measurements and quantification of specific cellular protein in post-mortem tissue. This data will be used to determine any correlation between changes seen in scan data and histology that may indicate differences in synaptic plasticity between the different groups. She is using FSL software and immunohistochemical techniques. The project hopes to highlight measures that may assist in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Francesco Galassi

Francesco is a medical student from Bologna joining us as a visiting intern

Picture of Susanne van Veluw

Susanne van Veluw

I am a neuroscience grad student from the Vrije University in Amsterdam. I was here for 7 months to work on a project correlating cognitive and IQ decline to minicolumn width in certain brain areas in the healthy elderly, MCI, and AD patients. Furthermore, I am writing my thesis on the neurobiological basis of metacognitive aspects such as self-awareness and theory of mind. Finally, I learnt how to use FSL in order to do a bit of fMRI analysis.

Picture of Fanny Duhr

Fanny Duhr

Could cortical micro anatomy changes be associated with 'rare' dementia profiles such as semantic dementia and prosopagnosia? This is the question I'm trying to answer by analysing minicolumn width of post mortem brains from dementia subjects. I worked in this great team for almost four months as part of my MD internship, but unfortunately I've now gone back to Montpellier (France).

Picture of Dasha Vlassov

Dasha Vlassov

It is fascinating to think that human higher order cognitive functions are microanatomically and biochemically encoded. I am a Canadian graduate student who has been given the exciting opportunity to complete my Master’s thesis alongside this research team. I will be conducting a longitudinal study employing diffusion tensor brain imaging data to explore possible changes in gray matter microstructure throughout normal adolescent development and schizophrenia. I will utilize the FSL software suite to investigate the previously overlooked patterns of anisotropy in gray matter.

Picture of Charity Emin

Charity Emin

Charity is employed part time as a research Assistant under Dr Steven Chance working on producing sections of brain tissue and carrying out the associated staining for these slides. She is also a Biomedical scientist and is interested in the areas of abnormal psychology, parapsychology, the study of sleep, virology and haematology.

Picture of Kirran Bakhshi

Kirran Bakhshi

Kirran is a Masters student investigating the effects of schizophrenia on microanatomy in the parietal lobe, as well as specific genes involved in schizophrenia in tissue from the Oxford University Brain Collection. She is also planning to finally learn how to use FSL.

Picture of Brianna Doherty

Brianna Doherty

Brianna is a MSc student investigating enhanced perception in individuals with autism. She is looking at how perceptual differences relate to the excitation/inhibition balance in the brain using MEG and MRS, and correlating this with microanatomical differences in cortical areas using DTI.

Contact: brianna.doherty[at]