Welcome to ALBA Language Neurobiology Lab

The ALBA Language Neurobiology laboratory in the UCSF Memory and Aging Center is directed by Dr Maria Luisa Gorno Tempini. We study how language is organized into brain networks across the lifespan. Our group researches how language skills and brain regions are impacted by neurological conditions and how they reorganize in response. Our multidisciplinary team correlates behavioral research with multimodal neuroimaging techniques to understand the neural underpinning of higher cognitive functions such as speech, language and memory.

Current research interests of our lab


The cognitive & linguistic basis of PPA, including:

• Behavioral rehabilitation of PPA via speech pathology therapy trial

• Early non-linguistic cognitive deficits in PPA

• Studies of the neural support language domains/functions such as repetition and grammar

• Relationship between neurodevelopment & neurodegeneration

• A tDCS Speech Pathology clinical trial for nfvPPA

• Sensitive measures of linguistic deficits in FTD-ALS

Advanced neuroimaging studies, including:

• Neuroimaging (MRI, fMRI, DTI, MEG, PET) of clinical and pathological correlates of PPA

• Distributed semantics via novel behavioral assessments and MEG studies

• Diffusion MRI studies of longitudinal white matter degeneration in PPA

• Deep learning and advanced mathematical models in PPA

Novel risk or protective factors for neurodegenerative disease, including:

• Neuroinflammation in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

• The role of handedness and neurodevelopmental differences in PPA

• Assessment of the impairments (or relative sparing) of various language domains (e.g., syntax, phonology, motor speech) in languages other than English in PPA

• Language rehabilitation of bilinguals with PPA

• Neurodevelopment in children of familial FTD parents

• The prevalence of dyslexia in prison populations

Our team consists of clinicians, scientists, and engineers with expertise in behavioral neurology, cognitive neuroscience, speech-language pathology, neurodevelopment and advanced neuroimaging techniques. As a team, we are all devoted to studying language in the context of neurological disease.