Steven L. Small, Ph.D., M.D., Professor of Neurology, is Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and the Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Small is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Irvine, where he was the Chair of the Department of Neurology from 2010-2017, and at The University of Chicago, where he founded the first high-field MRI research center in Chicago in 1999.

As a scientist, Dr. Small has been a pioneer in understanding the anatomy and physiology of the human brain and its relation to function by direct investigation of human subjects, particularly related to language comprehension and production, and with an emphasis on distributed brain networks. This work has encompassed the study of normal adults and children, adults with neurological disease (especially stroke), and children with developmental impairments.

Dr. Small's translational neurology research focuses on language recovery after stroke in both adults and children. Neurobiologically plausible models of human brain function are typically based on detailed animal models. For human speech and language, the cortical dorsal-ventral network architecture associated with the extended auditory system of nonhuman primates represents a strong model. A postero-dorsal network connects the auditory cortex to the posterior and dorsal part of inferior frontal cortex (IFC) (Brodmann area [BA] 44) via posterior superior temporal (pST) cortex, inferior parietal lobule (IPL), and premotor cortex (PMC), whereas an antero-ventral network traverses anterior superior temporal cortex (aST) to terminate in more anterior and ventral parts of the inferior frontal gyrus (BA 45). Recent findings suggest that language recovery from stroke depends on integration and segregation of these network communities that have been evolutionarily co-opted for language, and that focusing language therapy on these biological networks might have long term advantages. This work has elaborated network-level translational neurology of stroke recovery by way of investigation of imitation-based treatment of aphasia targeting the dorsal language network.

Dr. Small is the founder of both the Society for the Neurobiology of Language and the MIT Press open access journal, Neurobiology of Language.

As Dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Dr. Small aims to continue its upward trajectory by expanding and broadening research and education in neuroscience, psychology, and speech and hearing sciences, building partnerships with other educational, industrial, and philanthropic institutions in Dallas, particularly the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and advancing the stature of the premier Carnegie Tier 1 research institution in Dallas-Fort Worth, the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States.


Twitter: @stevenlsmall

LinkedIn: slsmall

Research Interest

  • Language Disorders after Stroke (Aphasia)
  • Neurobiology of Language
  • Sports-Related Head Impacts


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Suppression of vascular artifacts in functional magnetic resonance images using MR angiograms.
Hlustík P, Noll DC, Small SL, Neuroimage 1998 Apr 7 3 224-31
A model of ocular dominance column development by competition for trophic factor.
Harris AE, Ermentrout GB, Small SL, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1997 Sep 94 18 9944-9
Part 2: Computer Models of Sentence and Discourse Processing
Small SL, Brain Lang 1997 Sep 59 2 203-5
INTRODUCTION. Part 1: Connectionist Models of Lexical Processing
Small SL, Brain Lang 1997 Aug 59 1 5-6
Computer models of language disorders.
Small SL, Brain Lang 1997 Aug 59 1 1-3
Subcortical aphasia and the problem of attributing functional responsibility to parts of distributed brain processes.
Craver CF, Small SL, Brain Lang 1997 Jul 58 3 427-35; discussion 436-58
Semantic category imprecision: a connectionist study of the boundaries of word meanings.
Small SL, Brain Lang 1997 Apr 57 2 181-94
Cerebrospinal fluid after organ transplantation.
Alper G, Small SL, Transplant. Proc. 1996 Oct 28 5 2970-3
Localizing the lexicon for reading aloud:replication of a PET study using fMRI.
Small SL, Noll DC, Perfetti CA, Hlustik P, Wellington R, Schneider W, Neuroreport 1996 Mar 7 4 961-5
Preoperative cortical localization with functional MRI for use in stereotactic radiosurgery.
Witt TC, Kondziolka D, Baumann SB, Noll DC, Small SL, Lunsford LD, Stereotact Funct Neurosurg 1996 66 1-3 24-9


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor
    Endowed Chair, University of Texas at Dallas (2019)
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief
    Neurobiology of Language (MIT Press) (2019)
  • Top Doctors
    Orange County, California (2019)
  • Distinguished Career Award
    Society for the Neurobiology of Language (2018)
  • Scientific Program Advisory Committee (SPAC)
    American Neurological Association (2017-2020)
  • Secretary/Treasurer
    Association of University Professors of Neurology (AUPN) (2015-2021)
  • Theodore von Kármán Fellow
    RWTH Aachen University (Germany) (2014)
  • Stanley van den Noort Professor
    Endowed Chair, University of California, Irvine (2010-2019)
  • Editor-in-Chief
    Brain and Language (Elsevier) (2005-2019)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • University of California, Irvine (2010-2017)
  • Society for the Neurobiology of Language (2009)
  • American Neurological Association (1999)
  • University of Chicago (1999-2010)
  • Society for Neuroscience (1991)
  • American Academy of Neurology (1990)