Matthew Lambon Ralph, FRSLT (hons), FBPsS


Personal profile


From 1st September 2018, I took up the Directorship of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge (


I obtained my PhD from York University and then worked at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Cambridge). I moved from there to the University of Bristol, Department of Experimental Psychology, as a Lecturer. I came to Manchester in 2001 as Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience within the School of Psychological Sciences. I am also Associate Vice-President (Research) and Director of the Manchester Doctoral College at the University. I am an Action Editor for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation and on the editorial boards for Cognitive Neuropsychology,  Memory, International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, Psychologia, and Neurocase. I was the President of The British Neuropsychological Society (2010-12) and the Vice-Chair for the British Aphasiology Society (2000-2005). I was made a Fellow (hons) of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in 2003, Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2012 and an Honorary Research Professor of the University of Málaga in 2014. I am also a Senior Investigator Emeritus for the NIHR. I was awarded the BPS President's Award in 2015, the Barbara Newcombe (mid-career) Prize by the British Neuropsychological Society in 2016, the Mid-Career Award by the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience in 2016, and the 17th Mid-Career Award by the Experimental Psychology Society in 2018. I am currently the chair of the EU Human Brain Project Stakeholder Board (the principal oversight committee).

Research interests

Our research makes use of four key methodologies: neuropsychology, computational models (models that can mimic neural organisation in their construction but also produce target behaviours), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), structural and functional neuroimaging, and cortical grid-electrode studies. The various research projects can be summarised under three themes:

(1) Semantic memory : various interlinked projects explore the nature and neural underpinnings of semantic memory or conceptual knowledge, including category-specific disorders. This uses data from semantic dementia, herpes simplex virus encephalitis (HSVE), aphasia after CVA and temporal lobe resection for epilepsy for the neuropsychological investigations and is complemented by TMS, fMRI and MR tractography studies.

(2) Language : there are several ongoing projects exploring different aspects of language production and comprehension, and their neural bases. For neuropsychology, these include a direct comparison of fluent and non-fluent varieties of progressive and non-progressive aphasia; acquired dyslexias and dysgraphias; verb morphology deficits; and verbal short-term memory deficits. We also conduct parallel studies in neurological intact studies utilising experimental psycholingistics, TMS, computational modelling and fMRI studies.

(3) Recovery, rehabilitation and neuroplasticity : As well as concentrating on the nature of chronic and progressive cognitive and language deficits, the third theme is devoted to the study of the neural and cognitive principles that guide recovery and rehabilitation. This includes active rehabilitation programmes, longitudinal neuropsychological assessment of recovery, computational models of neuroplasticity and parallel functional imaging studies of patients.

See the MRC CBU website for more details on my research.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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