Dr Lisa Ronan

Lisa Ronan

University position

Research Associate


Department of Psychiatry


Brain Mapping Unit



Research Theme

Developmental Neuroscience


My work focuses on structural analysis of the brain, in particular the morphology of the cortex. Most recently I have focused on cortical intrinsic curvature. This type of curvature is mathematically fundamental to a surface and independent of how it is folded (mean curvature). Cortical intrinsic curvature arises from the differential expansion of the surface during development, and may be related to the underlying architecture of the cortex as well as its tangential connectivity.

I am also interested in the mechanism of how the cortex develops its convoluted shape (gyrification), and the role of differential expansion in this process.

By developing a deeper understanding of significance of cortical morphology through the use of mathematically fundamental parameters, it may be possible to more consistently distinguish case-control differences in diseases such as schizophrenia and autism, as well as subtle changes related to obesity, dyscalculia etc.

Research Focus


intrinsic curvature


cerebral cortex

Clinical conditions







Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)



Paul Fletcher

United Kingdom

Tim Crow

Associated News Items

Key publications

Ronan L, Voets N, Rua C, Alexander-Bloch A, Hough M, Mackay C, Crow T, James A, Giedd J, Fletcher P (in press), “Differential Tangential Expansion as a Mechanism for Cortical Gyrification” Cereb Cortex

Ronan L, Pienaar R, Williams G, Bullmore E, Crow TJ, Roberts N, Jones PB, Suckling J, Fletcher PC (2011), “Intrinsic curvature: a marker of millimeter-scale tangential cortico-cortical connectivity?” Int J Neural Syst 21(5):351-66 Details



Forde NJ, Ronan L, Suckling J, Scanlon C, Neary S, Holleran L, Leemans A, Tait R, Rua C, Fletcher PC, Jeurissen B, Dodds CM, Miller SR, Bullmore ET, McDonald C, Nathan PJ, Cannon DM (2014), “Structural neuroimaging correlates of allelic variation of the BDNF val66met polymorphism.” Neuroimage 90:280-9 Details


Alhusaini S, Ronan L, Scanlon C, Whelan CD, Doherty CP, Delanty N, Fitzsimons M (2013), “Regional increase of cerebral cortex thickness in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.” Epilepsia 54(9):e138-41 Details

Alhusaini S, Scanlon C, Ronan L, Maguire S, Meaney JF, Fagan AJ, Boyle G, Borgulya G, Iyer PM, Brennan P, Costello D, Chaila E, Fitzsimons M, Doherty CP, Delanty N, Cavalleri GL (2013), “Heritability of subcortical volumetric traits in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.” PLoS One 8(4):e61880 Details

Ecker C, Ronan L, Feng Y, Daly E, Murphy C, Ginestet CE, Brammer M, Fletcher PC, Bullmore ET, Suckling J, Baron-Cohen S, Williams S, Loth E, MRC AIMS Consortium, Murphy DG (2013), “Intrinsic gray-matter connectivity of the brain in adults with autism spectrum disorder.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(32):13222-7 Details

Ronan L, Voets N, Rua C, Alexander-Bloch A, Hough M, Mackay C, Crow TJ, James A, Giedd JN, Fletcher PC (2013), “Differential Tangential Expansion as a Mechanism for Cortical Gyrification.” Cereb Cortex Details

Scanlon C, Ronan L, Doherty CP, Cavalleri GL, Tirupati S, Alhusaini S, Maguire S, Delanty N, Iyer PM, Chaila E, Fitzsimons M (2013), “MRI-based brain structure volumes in temporal lobe epilepsy patients and their unaffected siblings: a preliminary study.” J Neuroimaging 23(1):64-70 Details


Alhusaini S, Doherty CP, Scanlon C, Ronan L, Maguire S, Borgulya G, Brennan P, Delanty N, Fitzsimons M, Cavalleri GL (2012), “A cross-sectional MRI study of brain regional atrophy and clinical characteristics of temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis.” Epilepsy Res 99(1-2):156-66 Details

Ronan L, Alhusaini S, Scanlon C, Doherty CP, Delanty N, Fitzsimons M (2012), “Widespread cortical morphologic changes in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy: evidence from structural MRI.” Epilepsia 53(4):651-8 Details

Ronan L, Voets NL, Hough M, Mackay C, Roberts N, Suckling J, Bullmore E, James A, Fletcher PC (2012), “Consistency and interpretation of changes in millimeter-scale cortical intrinsic curvature across three independent datasets in schizophrenia.” Neuroimage 63(1):611-21 Details


Ronan L, Scanlon C, Murphy K, Maguire S, Delanty N, Doherty CP, Fitzsimons M (2011), “Cortical curvature analysis in MRI-negative temporal lobe epilepsy: a surrogate marker for malformations of cortical development.” Epilepsia 52(1):28-34 Details


Rosch RE, Ronan L, Cherkas L, Gurd JM (2010), “Cerebellar asymmetry in a pair of monozygotic handedness-discordant twins.” J Anat 217(1):38-47 Details


Ronan L, Murphy K, Delanty N, Doherty C, Maguire S, Scanlon C, Fitzsimons M (2007), “Cerebral cortical gyrification: a preliminary investigation in temporal lobe epilepsy.” Epilepsia 48(2):211-9 Details


Ronan L, Doherty CP, Delanty N, Thornton J, Fitzsimons M (2006), “Quantitative MRI: a reliable protocol for measurement of cerebral gyrification using stereology.” Magn Reson Imaging 24(3):265-72 Details