Rajani Sebastian, Ph.D.

Headshot of Rajani Sebastian
  • Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Aphasia, Neuroimaging, Neurologic Rehabilitation, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Speech and Language Disorders After Stroke, Speech and Language Impairments, Speech Language Pathology, Stroke Rehabilitation ...read more

Research Interests

Aphasia recovery; Functional neuroimaging; Interventions to enhance language recovery after stroke; Neuromodulation ...read more


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Appointment Phone: 443-997-5476
600 N. Wolfe Street
Meyer Building 1-130
Baltimore, MD 21287 map


Rajani Sebastian, PhD., is a researcher and a speech-language pathologist specializing in adult communication disorders and recovery after stroke. Dr. Sebastian is also involved in the noninvasive brain stimulation program at the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 

Dr. Sebastian’s research focuses on recovery from poststroke aphasia with particular interest in brain plasticity. Her dissertation research examined language recovery in stroke using functional neuroimaging. And her post-doctoral fellowship focused on studying longitudinal language recovery in stroke using multimodality brain imaging techniques and using noninvasive brain stimulation to augment language recovery in stroke. 

Dr. Sebastian has co-authored numerous publications on the topics of poststroke aphasia, brain imaging and language processing. She is a primary investigator for an ongoing NIH/NIDCD-funded study of the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on poststroke aphasia.

...read more


  • Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Departments / Divisions



  • B.S.; University of Mysore (India) (2003)
  • Ph.D.; University of Texas (Austin) (Texas) (2010)

Research & Publications

Clinical Trials

Cerebellar Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Aphasia Treatment | NIH/NIDCD K99/R00 (PI: Sebastian, Rajani), 8/1/16-7/31/2021.

The goals of this grant are to understand the behavioral and neural effects of multiple consecutive cerebellar tDCS sessions coupled with naming therapy in stroke survivors with aphasia.

Selected Publications

Sebastian R, Thompson CB, Wang NY, Wright A, Meyer A, Friedman RB, ... & Tippett DC. Patterns of decline in naming and semantic knowledge in primary progressive aphasia. Aphasiology, 2018, 32(9), 1010-1030.

Sebastian R, Breining BL. Contributions of Neuroimaging to Understanding Language Deficits in Acute Stroke. Semin Speech Lang. 2018 Feb;39(1):66-78. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1608854. Epub 2018 Jan 22. PMID: 29359306

Sebastian R, Saxena S, Tsapkini K, Faria AV, Long C, Wright A, Davis C, Tippett DC, Mourdoukoutas AP, Bikson M, Celnik P, Hillis AE. Cerebellar tDCS: A Novel Approach to Augment Language Treatment Post-stroke. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017 Jan 12;10:695. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00695. eCollection 2016. PMID: 28127284 

Faroqi-Shah Y, Sebastian R, Woude AV. Neural representation of word categories is distinct in the temporal lobe: An activation likelihood analysis. Hum Brain Mapp. 2018 Aug 18. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24334. PMID: 30120847

Wright A, Tippett D, Saxena S, Sebastian R, Breining B, Faria A, Hillis AE. Leukoaraiosis is independently associated with naming outcome in poststroke aphasia. Neurology. 2018 Aug 7;91(6):e526-e532. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005945. Epub 2018 Jul 6. PMID: 29980639

Activities & Honors


  • Participant, Lessons for Success, American Speech Language and Hearing Association, 2017 - 2017
  • The University of Texas Continuing Fellowship, 2008 - 2009
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders Scholarship, The University of Texas at Austin


  • American Speech Language and Hearing Association
  • Academy of Aphasia
  • The Organization for Human Brain Mapping
  • Society for the Neurobiology of Language

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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