Dr Dennis Chan

Dennis Chan

University position

University Lecturer and Honorary Consultant

Dr Dennis Chan is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Neurology Unit



Home page


Research Themes

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research focuses on detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) before symptom onset, and on determining the biological basis of cognitive reserve (CR).

AD work centres on detecting alterations in the functions of the entorhinal cortex (EC) and hippocampus, the first brain regions to show neurodegeneration in AD. Spatial navigation and memory are assessed using virtual reality and app-based tasks, plus smartphone-based monitoring. These are combined with subfield-resolution analyses of EC-hippocampal anatomy and connectivity using 3T and 7T MRI.

Work in human cohorts is twinned with studies of preclinical models of AD, conducted in collaboration with Nobel Laureate John O’Keefe at UCL. This involves recording of EC grid and hippocampal place cell activity in combination with behavioural testing.

CR is associated with reduced incidence of dementia. I am investigating the functional connectivity and molecular correlates of CR, and am developing novel interventions for enhancing CR.

Research Focus


Alzheimer's disease



spatial memory


Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease

Cognitive impairment


Frontotemporal dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment


Behavioural analysis

Cross-sectional and cohort studies

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)



Rik Henson

Julija Krupic

Cecilia Mascolo

John O'Brien

James Rowe

United Kingdom

Caswell Barry Web: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bioscie...

Neil Burgess Web: http://www.icn.ucl.ac.uk/Staff-L...

John O'Keefe Web: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/cdb/res...


Ludovico Minati Web: http://www.unitn.it/en/cime...

Karen Ritchie Web: http://www.inserm-neuropsychiatrie.fr/en/node/55

Associated News Items

Key publications

Wood R, Bauza M, Krupic J, Burton S, Delekate A, Chan D, O’Keefe J (2018), “The Honeycomb Maze: a new behavioral test for hippocampal-dependent spatial navigation and memory” Nature 554, 102-105

Wood R, Moodley K, Lever C, Minati L, Chan D (2016), “Allocentric Spatial Memory Testing Predicts Conversion from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Dementia: An Initial Proof-of-Concept Study. ” Frontiers in Neurology Dec 1;7:215. eCollection 2016. PDF

Moodley K, Minati L, Contarino V, Prioni S, Wood R, Cooper R, D'Incerti L, Tagliavini F, Chan D (2015), “Diagnostic differentiation of mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease using a hippocampus-dependent test of spatial memory.” Hippocampus PDF Details



Chan D, Binks S, Nicholas J, Frost C, Cardoso MJ, Ourselin S, Wilkie D, Nicholas R, Chataway J (2017), “The effect of high-dose simvastatin on cognitive, neuropsychiatric and health related quality of life measures in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: secondary analyses from the MS-STAT randomised controlled trial. ” Lancet Neurol 16, 591-600 PDF


Moodley K, Perani D, Minati L, Della Rosa P, Pennycook F, Dickson J, Barnes A, Contarino V, Michopoulou S, D’Incerti L, Good C, Fallanca F, Vanoli E, Ell P, Chan D (2015), “Simultaneous PET-MRI studies of the concordance of atrophy and hypometabolism in syndromic variants of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia: an extended case series. ” J Alz Dis 46, 639-653

Wood R, Moodley K, Hodges JR, Allinson K, Spillantini MG, Chan D (2015), “Slowly progressive behavioural presentation in two UK cases with the R406W MAPT mutation: a novel clinico-anatomical phenotype. ” Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 42, 291-295


Binks S, Chan D, Medford N (2014), “Abolition of lifelong specific phobia: a novel therapeutic consequence of left mesial temporal lobectomy.” Neurocase Details

Chataway J,Schuerer N, Alsanousi A,Chan D, MacManus D, Hunter K, Anderson V, Foster J, Banham C , Clegg S, Nielsen C, Fox NC,Wilkie D, Nicholas JM, Calder V, Greenwood J, Frost C, Nicholas R (2014), “High dose simvastatin slows brain atrophy and disability in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: a phase 2 placebo-controlled trial (MS-STAT)” Lancet 383, 2213-2221

Moodley KK, Chan D (2014), “The hippocampus in neurodegenerative disease.” Front Neurol Neurosci 34:95-108 Details

Pfeifer G, Rothen N, Ward J, Chan D, Sigala N (2014), “Associative memory advantage in grapheme-color synesthetes compared to older, but not young adults.” Front Psychol 5:696 Details


Hopkins SA, Moodley KK, Chan D (2013), “Autoimmune limbic encephalitis presenting as relapsing psychosis.” BMJ Case Rep 2013 Details

Minati L, Cercignani M, Chan D (2013), “Rapid geodesic mapping of brain functional connectivity: implementation of a dedicated co-processor in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and application to resting state functional MRI.” Med Eng Phys 35(10):1532-9 Details

Minati L, Chan D, Mastropasqua C, Serra L, Spanò B, Marra C, Caltagirone C, Cercignani M, Bozzali M (2013), “Widespread Alterations in Functional Brain Network Architecture in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment.” J Alzheimers Dis Details

Minati L, Nigri A, Cercignani M, Chan D (2013), “Detection of scale-freeness in brain connectivity by functional MRI: signal processing aspects and implementation of an open hardware co-processor.” Med Eng Phys 35(10):1525-31 Details

Minati L, Varotto G, D'Incerti L, Panzica F, Chan D (2013), “From brain topography to brain topology: relevance of graph theory to functional neuroscience.” Neuroreport 24(10):536-43 Details

Moodley KK, Minati L, Barnes A, Dickson JC, Ell PJ, Chan D (2013), “Simultaneous PET/MRI in frontotemporal dementia.” Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 40(3):468-9 Details


Bird CM, Chan D, Hartley T, Pijnenburg YA, Rossor MN, Burgess N (2010), “Topographical short-term memory differentiates Alzheimer's disease from frontotemporal lobar degeneration.” Hippocampus 20(10):1154-69 Details

Lehmann M, Douiri A, Kim LG, Modat M, Chan D, Ourselin S, Barnes J, Fox NC (2010), “Atrophy patterns in Alzheimer's disease and semantic dementia: a comparison of FreeSurfer and manual volumetric measurements.” Neuroimage 49(3):2264-74 Details


Chan D, Anderson V, Pijnenburg Y, Whitwell J, Barnes J, Scahill R, Stevens JM, Barkhof F, Scheltens P, Rossor MN, Fox NC (2009), “The clinical profile of right temporal lobe atrophy.” Brain 132(Pt 5):1287-98 Details


Chan D, Henley SM, Rossor MN, Warrington EK (2007), “Extensive and temporally ungraded retrograde amnesia in encephalitis associated with antibodies to voltage-gated potassium channels.” Arch Neurol 64(3):404-10 Details

Hartley T, Bird CM, Chan D, Cipolotti L, Husain M, Vargha-Khadem F, Burgess N (2007), “The hippocampus is required for short-term topographical memory in humans.” Hippocampus 17(1):34-48 Details


Chan D, Janssen JC, Whitwell JL, Watt HC, Jenkins R, Frost C, Rossor MN, Fox NC (2003), “Change in rates of cerebral atrophy over time in early-onset Alzheimer's disease: longitudinal MRI study.” Lancet 362(9390):1121-2 Details

Schott JM, Fox NC, Frost C, Scahill RI, Janssen JC, Chan D, Jenkins R, Rossor MN (2003), “Assessing the onset of structural change in familial Alzheimer's disease.” Ann Neurol 53(2):181-8 Details


Chan D, Fox N, Rossor M (2002), “Differing patterns of temporal atrophy in Alzheimer's disease and semantic dementia.” Neurology 58(5):838 Details

Chan D, Revesz T, Rudge P (2002), “Hippocampal, but not parahippocampal, damage in a case of dense retrograde amnesia: a pathological study.” Neurosci Lett 329(1):61-4 Details

Good CD, Scahill RI, Fox NC, Ashburner J, Friston KJ, Chan D, Crum WR, Rossor MN, Frackowiak RS (2002), “Automatic differentiation of anatomical patterns in the human brain: validation with studies of degenerative dementias.” Neuroimage 17(1):29-46 Details

Høgh P, Smith SJ, Scahill RI, Chan D, Harvey RJ, Fox NC, Rossor MN (2002), “Epilepsy presenting as AD: neuroimaging, electroclinical features, and response to treatment.” Neurology 58(2):298-301 Details


Chan D, Crutch SJ, Warrington EK (2001), “A disorder of colour perception associated with abnormal colour after-images: a defect of the primary visual cortex.” J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 71(4):515-7 Details

Chan D, Fox NC, Jenkins R, Scahill RI, Crum WR, Rossor MN (2001), “Rates of global and regional cerebral atrophy in AD and frontotemporal dementia.” Neurology 57(10):1756-63 Details

Chan D, Fox NC, Scahill RI, Crum WR, Whitwell JL, Leschziner G, Rossor AM, Stevens JM, Cipolotti L, Rossor MN (2001), “Patterns of temporal lobe atrophy in semantic dementia and Alzheimer's disease.” Ann Neurol 49(4):433-42 Details

Cipolotti L, Shallice T, Chan D, Fox N, Scahill R, Harrison G, Stevens J, Rudge P (2001), “Long-term retrograde amnesia...the crucial role of the hippocampus.” Neuropsychologia 39(2):151-72 Details