|Department||Department of Clinical Neurology|
- Evolutionary comparative neuroscience
- Semantic memory
- Face processing
Neural stem cell biology
Current projects study the neuroanatomy of schizophrenia and the neuroanatomy of dementia using post-mortem human brain material in the Thomas-Willis brain bank of the Neuropathology department in Oxford. These projects focus on columnar structure, lateralisation and persistent adult cortical plasticity. The investigations aim to identify the ongoing structural changes in the adult brain that form part of normal ageing but make it vulnerable to pathology and dementia. My work has recently provided evidence of minicolumn changes associated with cognitive changes in normal human ageing, and cytoarchitectural evidence for failure of the ageing process in schizophrenia.
Collaborations with the University of Louisville, USA, and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, USA, have enabled comparative studies of chimpanzee and human neuroanatomy. These are examining auditory “language” cortex, fusiform (face processing) cortex, and prefrontal cortex. Indications are that the maturation rate and hemispheric asymmetry of these are different between chimpanzees and humans.
My neuropsychology work compares semantic organisation and face processing in adolescence and ageing. Combined with fMRI of semantic memory in schizophrenia these studies complement the anatomical studies. The cognitive processes of language and social cognition are of particular interest. A current Stanley Foundation grant supports a project investigating the altered cytoarchitecture of the inferior parietal lobe in schizophrenia and the putative anomalies of ageing. This brain region contains one of the highest densities of mirror neurons that may contribute to “theory of mind”.
I have established a new stem cell facility to support work using human adult neural stem cells derived from neurosurgical tissue samples. Future work is intended to investigate developmental and adult neuroplasticity and the processes by which it may fail. A new area of research is autism for which Dr Chance has been granted access to brain material through the Autism Tissue Program in the USA.
Sources of Funding
- Alzheimer Scotland 2006- 2009
- EU 2007- 2010
- Stanley Foundation 2009- 2011
Dr Chance gained his DPhil from the University of Oxford (Queen’s college) in 2001. He was a College Lecturer in Neurology for Corpus Christi College for 3 years and is now the Alzheimer Scotland Research Fellow in the Department of Clinical Neurology.
Dr Chance’s DPhil combined MRI and post-mortem microscopy to investigate the neuroanatomy of schizophrenia. This involved validation of some of the older methods of assessing volume and shape on post-mortem MRI scans. He continues to be involved with work at the fMRIB Centre on comparisons between MRI and post-mortem anatomy. He has also contributed to several of the studies on Multiple Sclerosis in the Neuropathology department and teaching of neurolinguistics for the Human Sciences department.