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

Complex motor function in humans: validating and extending the postulates of Alexandr R. Luria.
Bhimani AA, Hlustik P, Small SL, Solodkin A, Cogn Behav Neurol 2006 Mar 19 1 11-20
Listening to talking faces: motor cortical activation during speech perception.
Skipper JI, Nusbaum HC, Small SL, Neuroimage 2005 Mar 25 1 76-89
The interaction of social and emotional processes in the brain.
Norris CJ, Chen EE, Zhu DC, Small SL, Cacioppo JT, J Cogn Neurosci 2004 Dec 16 10 1818-29
Fine modulation in network activation during motor execution and motor imagery.
Solodkin A, Hlustik P, Chen EE, Small SL, Cereb. Cortex 2004 Nov 14 11 1246-55
Neural bases of talker normalization.
Wong PC, Nusbaum HC, Small SL, J Cogn Neurosci 2004 Sep 16 7 1173-84
Therapeutics in cognitive and behavioral neurology.
Small SL, Ann. Neurol. 2004 Jul 56 1 5-7
Cortical plasticity during three-week motor skill learning.
Hlustík P, Solodkin A, Noll DC, Small SL, J Clin Neurophysiol 2004 May-Jun 21 3 180-91
On the road to automatic: dynamic aspects in the development of expertise.
Milton JG, Small SS, Solodkin A, J Clin Neurophysiol 2004 May-Jun 21 3 134-43
On the neurobiological investigation of language understanding in context.
Small SL, Nusbaum HC, Brain Lang 2004 May 89 2 300-11
Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of language.
Small SL, Burton MW, Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2002 Nov 2 6 505-10


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)