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After starting my undergrad studies in maths ("classes prépas" in Paris), and then moving to fundamental physics, I went on to specialise in Neuroscience, and also in Genetics, at Institut Pasteur, and later received my PhD from the University of Paris XI-Orsay in 2006, where I worked on structural and diffusion imaging of Huntington's disease. Since then, I have been working at the Oxford FMRIB Centre, first as a post-doctoral researcher and now as an independent research fellow.

Being at the interface between basic neuroscience, methodological imaging development and clinical application is really what I enjoy the most. My body of work focuses on translational research from imaging methods to applied human neuroscience, such as brain maturation and ageing, and with a particular emphasis on neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer's disease, movement disorders and motor neuron disease).

My group pursues two main lines of research, first by investigating the basal ganglia in health and movement disorders using high resolution MRI at 7T, second by working on (very) large imaging datasets to identify - and make sense - of relevant clinical information (e.g., UK Biobank).


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Selected scientific comments

  • Jäncke, F1000 2019:
    Interesting Hypothesis - Very Good (Smith, 2019): "The study of structure-function relationships in the human brain has become a major pillar of current cognitive neuroscience. (...) Numerous studies have shown that the human brain is plastic even at neuroanatomical level, resulting in highly individual neuroanatomical features. The authors of this study went a step further. (...) The authors argue that their results not only reflect human development but also support the concept of a close relationship between convolutional anatomy and the organisation cortical function. In other words: there is a strong correspondence between structure and function in the human brain. Thus, the “new era” of cognitive neuroanatomy, as Sandra Witelson has enthusiastically stated, is still ongoing."
  • Masdeu, Curr Opin Neurol 2012:
    Paper of outstanding interest (Douaud, 2011): "This study not only contributes to the understanding of DTI in Alzheimer disease, but also describes for the first time a mechanism whereby tissue damage did not result in decreased anisotropy, but rather increased anisotropy. This finding is applicable to disorders other than Alzheimer disease."
  • Draganski, Curr Opin Neurol 2010:
    Paper of outstanding interest (Douaud, 2009): "Very interesting study also from methodological point of view trying to find the correlates of selective degeneration in subcortical grey and white matter using the dispersion of the principal diffusion direction from DTI data."

Gwenaëlle Douaud

Associate Professor

Research Fellow, Green Templeton College


  • Our paper investigating the effects associated with SARS-CoV-2 on the brain will be out in Nature Monday 7 March, 4pm London time. FAQ + Press Release (image)

If you have any additional questions, please contact me at:

Selected press coverage

Research Summary

    12. Left-handedness is associated in the general population with gene variants related to the brain white matter cystoskeleton

    Brain 2019

    11. Very fine structure-function correspondence in the human brain, driven by both volume and cortical area information

    J Neurosci 2019

    10. Our PNAS paper on finding a common brain network linking development, ageing and vulnerability to disease is out

    PNAS 2014

    9. Effect of B vitamins/low homocysteine levels on grey matter atrophy in MCI; Bayesian modelling analysis demonstrating the causal pathway for the beneficial effect of treatment

    PNAS 2013 + FAQs

    8. Microstructural differences at baseline (SLF, fornix, hippocampus) between stable and progressing MCI; earliest abnormalities detected in MCI patients: 2.5 y before conversion to AD.

    J Neurosci 2013

    7. Novel approach to combine structural and functional connectivity information; increase of functional connectivity/decrease of structural connectivity in ALS reflects failure of cortical inhibitory function. 

    Brain 2011

    6. Diffusion differences between healthy ageing, MCI and Alzheimer's disease (AD) in crossing fibres (increased MO/FA); probabilistic tractography reveals relative sparing of motor pathways vs. association pathways.

    NeuroImage 2011

    5. Evidence for the corpus callosum involvement in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and its impact on grey matter atrophy. 

    Neurology 2010

    4. Common aetiological mechanisms for adolescent- and adult-onset schizophrenia with an altered neurodevelopmental time course in schizophrenia particularly salient in adolescence. 

    Brain 2009

    3. Analyses of FA, MD, PDD orientation and tractography to reveal in vivo the selective degeneration of the striato-pallidal projection pathways in HD. 

    NeuroImage 2009

    2. Anatomically-related grey and white matter abnormalities in language/auditory areas and, strikingly, in the primary sensorimotor system in early-onset schizophrenia. 

    Brain 2007

    1. In vivo dorso-ventral gradient of subcortical atrophy in Huntington's disease (HD); validation of automated VBM with manual ROI approach in HD. 

    NeuroImage 2006

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