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Dr Penny (Penelope) Lewis

Photograph of Penny (Penelope) Lewis

Senior Lecturer

NARU (Neuroscience of Aphasia Research Unit)
Room T17, Zochonis Building
Brunswick Street
M13 9PL

Google Scholar account (all publications and citation report)

Sleep and Memory Lab
Science Journalism Activities (somewhat out of date...)


Off-line learning during sleep and wakefulness:

My research investigates brain plasticity, focussing specifically on the changes in behaviour and neural activity which occur after initial learning. I’m particularly interested in ‘off-line’ consolidation, or changes occurring while a memory is not being encoded, practiced, or recalled. These can happen both during sleep and during wakefulness. 

Current interests in the lab fall into three main categories:

  • consolidation of procedural skills
  • emotional episodes
  • semantic knowledge

(Please see above for a link to the Sleep and Memory Group).

Methodological Knowledge

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM)
  • Polysomnography (PSG) 
  • Behavioural Psychophysics



  • 1st year: Brain and Behaviour
  • 2nd year: Cognition
  • 3rd year: Sleep and Memory Consolidation

PhD students:

Nora Hennies - studying the impact of sleep upon the formation of new semantic memories

James Cousins - studying the impact of triggered replay during sleep upon overnight memory consolidation

Tia Tsimpanouli - studying sleep, emotional memory and depression

Isabel Hutchison - studying the impact of direct current stimulation on sleep and memory

Hikaru Tsujimura - studying the impact of sleep on generalisation of face representations

Jules Schneider - studying ways to trigger SWS 


Postdoctoral consultant:

Suliman Belal - studying the application of multivariat classifiers to sleep EEG data


Lab Alumni:

Simon Durrant: Did a 3 year postdoc in the Manchester Sleep and Memory Lab and is now a Lecturer at the University of Lincolin

Scott Cairney: Did his PhD in the Manchester Sleep and Memory Lab and is now a postdoc at York

Jakke Tamminen: Did a 1 year postdoc in the Manchester Sleep and Memory Lab and is now a postdoc at Royal Holloway

Marleen Kempkes -  6 month internship studying sleep and emotional memory (finished Sept 2014)

Collaborators and affiliated staff

The lab collaborates extensively with:




  • Lewis, P. A., Durran, S. J., Cairney, S. A., & McDermott, C. (2015).

    Schema-Conformant Memories are Preferentially Consolidated During REM Sleep. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. . Publication link: b523843b-3cd0-4355-8227-b15a037b0720
  • Lewis, P., van Rijna, E., Eichenlauba, J. B., Gaskell, M., Malinowskie, J., & Blagrovea, M. (2015).

    The dream-lag effect: Selective processing of personally significant events during rapid eye movement sleep, but not during slow wave sleep. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. . Publication link: a22fcb3c-841e-44b9-8c7d-873a8e363953


  • Lewis, P. A. (2014).

    What is dreaming and what does it tell us about memory?. Scientific American. . Publication link: aaea17f9-15e5-4ed2-9236-9f28d92d6ae4
  • Lewis, P. A., Cairney, S. A., Durrant, S. D., & Jackson, R. (2014).

    Sleep spindles provide indirect support to the consolidation of emotional encoding contexts. Neuropsychologia. . Publication link: a4cc03f7-3423-4a05-8b5a-79740249df41
  • Lewis, P. A., Cousins, J. N., El-Deredy, W., Parkes, L., & Hennies, N. (2014).

    Cued memory reactivation during slow-wave sleep promotes explicit knowledge of a motor sequence. The Journal of Neuroscience. . Publication link: 7015fcd9-f070-4cba-b71f-b3c5372a52a8
  • Lewis, P. A., Hennies, N., Durrant, S. J., Cousins, J., & Ralph, M. A. L. (2014).

    Time- but not sleep-dependent consolidation promotes the emergence of cross-modal conceptual representations. Neuropsychologia. . Publication link: 41f32de7-12db-4380-9fc6-d996cb1dd323


  • Durrant, S. J., Cairney, S. A., & Lewis, P. A. (2013).

    Overnight consolidation aids the transfer of statistical knowledge from the medial temporal lobe to the striatum. Cerebral Cortex, 23(10), 2467-2478. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhs244. Publication link: df78e503-7d5a-4aea-bb0a-57be4ea81bff
  • Lewis, P. A. (2013).

    How sleep can make you smarter. BBC Focus, 9, 34-40. . Publication link: 11ce7878-5a9f-4f09-8525-8ef2e8846902
  • Lewis, P. A., Cairney, S., Durrant, S., & Hulemann, J. (2013).

    Targeted memory reactivation during slow-wave sleep facilitates emotional memory consolidation. Sleep. . Publication link: 204ab073-6995-49bc-b595-00960460d1cf
  • Lewis, P. A., Cairney, S., Durrant, S., & Power, R. (2013).

    Complimentary roles of slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep in emotional memory consolidation. Cerebral Cortex. . Publication link: 4900371e-41de-416b-97cd-c7375e3bfed7
  • Tamminen, J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Lewis, P. A. (2013).

    The role of sleep spindles and slow-wave activity in integrating new information in semantic memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(39), 15376-15381. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5093-12.2013. Publication link: 740e5946-565f-45f6-8cfe-d1409cbf7238 | PubMed:24068804
  • Lewis, P. A. (2013).

    The secret world of sleep: the surprising science of the mind at rest. (1 ed.) (Macmillan Science). Palgrave Macmillan .. Publication link: 7f9468c6-cfff-49ce-bf4d-e2424e5fb3fb


  • Lewis, P. A., & Meck, W. H. (2012).

    Does sleep contribute to degeneracy in neural timing?. The Psychologist. . Publication link: 7545f8eb-20ec-47c4-8795-dfdc6a0e73ff
  • Powell, J., Lewis, P. A., Roberts, N., García-Fiñana, M., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2012).

    Orbital prefrontal cortex volume predicts social network size: An imaging study of individual differences in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1736), 2157-2162. DOI:10.1098/rspb.2011.2574. Publication link: b0ac6351-f06a-4955-940d-0657fa55438e
  • Wuerger, S. M., Parkes, L., Lewis, P. A., Crocker-Buque, A., Rutschmann, R., & Meyer, G. F. (2012).

    Premotor cortex is sensitive to auditory-visual congruence for biological motion. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(3), 575-587. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00173. Publication link: 58150394-4a95-40f7-bb77-3b01e23b6964








  • Lewis, P. A., Wing, A. M., Pope, P. A., Praamstra, P., & Miall, R. C. (2004).

    Brain activity correlates differentially with increasing temporal complexity of rhythms during initialisation, synchronisation, and continuation phases of paced finger tapping. Neuropsychologia, 42(10), 1301-1312. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2004.03.001. Publication link: 46e620f9-720d-472b-ac2b-cfb5db9d0d6b



Research projects