Dr Stephen Mayhew DPhil

Stephen Mayhew

School of Psychology
Associate Professor

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Steve Mayhew conducts a lot of simultaneous EEG-fMRI experiments in an effort to better understand the coupling between single-trial variability in electrophysiological and haemodynamic measurements of brain responses, and how interactions between ongoing brain processes and external events are intrinsic to the function of the brain.


MPhys (hons) University of Bath

DPhil University of Oxford


Dr Steve Mayhew studied Physics at the University of Bath and initially wanted to be a space scientist but then decided that biological systems were more interesting, and became particularly fascinated by the challenge of understanding the functions of the brain. Steve moved to the University of Oxford Life Science Interface Doctoral Training Centre (LSI DTC) where he began the research that he continues to this day, applying physical techniques to problems in neuroscience. He completed a PhD in neuroimaging at Oxford, using simultaneous recording of electroencephalography (EEG) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), before moving to the University of Birmingham for post-doctoral research positions with Professor Zoe Kourtzi and Dr Andrew Bagshaw. Steve is now an independent researcher supported by an EPSRC post-doctoral research fellowship and a Birmingham Fellowship.


Dr Mayhew's research is focused on using simultaneous EEG-fMRI recordings in humans to gain a better understanding of the empirical coupling between electrophysiological and haemodynamic measurements of brain activity. BOLD fMRI is currently the best available technique for non-invasively assessing the function of the healthy, diseased or aging human brain because it can accurately localise the regions of the brain that are active when we experience sensations and feelings, or during the performance of a particular task. However, BOLD is limited in that it measures only relative changes in blood oxygenation and blood flow that are induced by the metabolic demands of neuronal activity. The combination of EEG with fMRI creates a multi-modal imaging technique that provides much richer data sets which allow the dynamics brain’s response to internal or external stimulation to be probed in greater spatiotemporal detail.

His research investigates:

  • The coupling between both evoked and induced oscillatory EEG responses to sensory stimulation and the amplitude and shape of the BOLD HRF.
  • The importance of dynamic, distributed networks of brain regions in supporting function.
  • The relationship between ongoing brain activity (EEG oscillations and fMRI networks) and the magnitude of the brains response to stimulation.
  • Combining EEG-fMRI with measurements of cerebral blood flow (CBF) obtained with arterial-spin labelling to investigate neurovascular coupling and the negative BOLD response. CBF is potentially better localised to neuronal activity than BOLD and provides additional information on brain physiology and a very complementary measurement to combine with BOLD to provide a more complete characterisation of the complex haemodynamic changes that are a consequence of neural activity.
  • Mathematical modelling of EEG and fMRI response to investigate neurovascular coupling mechanisms.


'Adventures in Neurological Space': Stephen Mayhew on his research


Mayhew SD, Li S, Kourtzi ZK. 2012. Learning acts on distinct processes for visual form perception in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(3):775-86.

Li S, Mayhew SD, Kourtzi ZK. 2011. Learning shapes spatiotemporal brain patterns for flexible categorical decisions. Cerebral Cortex. In Press.

Mayhew SD, Li S, Storrar JKS, Tsvetanov K, Kourtzi ZK. 2010. Learning shapes the representation of visual categories in the aging human brain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 22(12):2899-912.

Mayhew SD, McIntosh BM, Dirckx SG, Iannetti GD, Wise RG. 2010. Coupling of simultaneously acquired electrophysiological and haemodynamic responses during visual stimulation. Magn. Reson. Imag. 28(8):1066-77.

Mayhew SD, Dirckx SG, Niazy RK, Iannetti GD, Wise RG. 2010. EEG signatures of auditory activity correlate with simultaneously recorded fMRI responses in humans. Neuroimage 49(1):849-64.

Mayhew SD, Iannetti GD, Woolrich MW, Wise RG. 2006. Automated measurement of single trial amplitude and latency of laser-evoked potentials (LEPs) by multiple linear regression. Clinical Neurophysiology. 117:1331-44.

Li S, Mayhew SD, Kourtzi ZK. 2009. Learning shapes the representation of behavioral choice in the human brain. Neuron. 62(3):441-52.

Pattinson KT, Mitsis GD, Harvey AK, Jbabdi S, Dirckx S, Mayhew SD, Rogers R, Tracey I, Wise RG. 2009. Determination of the human brainstem respiratory control network and its cortical connections in vivo using functional and structural imaging. Neuroimage. 15;44(2):295-305.

Pattinson KT, Rogers R, Mayhew SD, MacIntosh BJ, Lee MC, Wise RG. 2008. Remifentanil-induced cerebral blood flow effects in normal humans: dose and ApoE genotype. Anesth. Analg. 105(1):167-75.

Harvey AK, Pattinson KT, Brooks JC, Mayhew SD, Jenkinson M, Wise RG. 2008. Brainstem functional magnetic resonance imaging: disentangling signal from physiological noise. J Magn Reson Imaging. 28(6):1337-44.

Pattinson KT, Rogers R, Mayhew SD, Tracey I, Wise RG. 2007.Pharmacological fMRI: measuring opioid effects on the BOLD response to hypercapnia. Journal Cerebral Blood Flow Metabolism 27:414-23.

Wise RG, Pattinson KT, Bulte D, Chiarelli P, Mayhew SD, Balanos G, O’Connor D, Pragnell T, Robbins P, Tracey I, Jezzard P. 2007. Dynamic forcing of end-tidal carbon dioxide and oxygen applied to functional magnetic resonance imaging. Journal Cerebral Blood Flow Metabolism. 27(8):1521-32.

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