Birtan completed his MSc degree in Psychology, Neuroscience and Human Sciences at the University of Pavia, Italy. He also trained at the Neurology Department, University Medical Center Goettingen, Germany, where he used real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for his Master's research project. He is carrying out research for his DPhil at the University of Oxford with Prof. Kate Watkins in the Department of Experimental Psychology, and Prof. Charlotte Stagg at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging and MRC BNDU, funded by a grant from the Dominic Barker Trust. Birtan also teaches neurophysiology at undergraduate level as part of a Graduate Development Scholarship from St. Anne's College, Oxford.
Birtan is interested in speech-motor impairments and how acute stress physiology, cognitive functions and emotions affect speech production. He uses transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) alongside advanced neuroimaging techniques of MRI, functional MRI, and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The results of his studies should inform further neuroimaging studies in stuttering and provide possible therapeutic interventions for people who want to work on their speech fluency.