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We host a number of internationally recognised neuroscience groups, with expertise in a wide range of experimental and computational methods.

Two cells coupled together in appearance of a lightening flash against a dark background © Julian Bartram
Biocytin labeling of two synaptically coupled pyramidal cells in medial entorhinal cortex

Understanding brain function and disease

Our neuroscience theme combines three strands of research which simultaneously study the brain at a cellular level, its higher-level neural processing, and the possibilities for translating basic science into treatments for disease

The brain is arguably the most complex system in the human body, so a multi-tiered approach to understanding it is crucial, and our research considers brain function at all stages, from embryonic neuronal development to the mechanisms responsible for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Our cellular-level research provides fundamental building blocks that allow us to understand how cells of the nervous system are generated, how they migrate into position and differentiate to assemble into neuronal circuits. In particular, our researchers are working to understand the genetic and environmental interactions which encode brain function in particular cortical regions, as well as seeking to identify the function of many brain cells which remain poorly understood. Building on our cellular studies, systems-level research of the brain seeks to understand how neural circuits give rise to behaviour. Our research is particularly focussed on perception, using a multidisciplinary approach to understand the functional organization and plasticity of the brain, relating to functions such as hearing, vision and decision making in both humans and relevant animals models. Elsewhere, recently developed optogenetic manipulation techniques allow us to probe and analyse neural circuits, and understand their impact on behaviour. While such research is not explicitly translational, its findings are of increasing interest to clinicians hoping to understand patient perception of disease and illness.

Finally, our disease-focused studies seek to translate this basic science into treatments. With the majority of neurodegenerative disease currently poorly treatable and increasingly common, our research tackles the problems at its roots. Working with patients and animal models, our studies employ a broad range of biological techniques, from imaging to genetic analysis, to understand the development of illnesses such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease. The approach is working, too: our pioneering Parkinson’s research is shedding much new light on the disease’s development, and we have developed genetic treatments for the neuromuscular disorder Duchenne muscular dystrophy that are in late-stage clinical trials.

By tying together these three strands of research, we hope to achieve an unparalleled understanding of brain function and disease.



Groups within this theme

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Bajo Lorenzana Group

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Cortical Microcircuitry in Behaviour
Bruno Group

Cortical Microcircuitry in Behaviour

Optical probing of neural networks in the developing neocortex
Butt Group

Optical probing of neural networks in the ...

Proteome complexity in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease
Carlyle Group

Proteome complexity in neurodegenerative and ...

Glucocorticoids, Annexin 1 and the Neuroendocrine–Immune Interface
Christian Group

Glucocorticoids, Annexin 1 and the ...

AI-driven brain-wide computational models of learning.
Costa Group

AI-driven brain-wide computational models of ...

Monoamine transmission: mechanisms, microcircuits and movement
Cragg Group

Monoamine transmission: mechanisms, microcircuits ...

Molecular Analysis of Neuromuscular Diseases
Davies Group

Molecular Analysis of Neuromuscular Diseases

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms underlying obesity.
Domingos Group

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms ...

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour
Goodwin Group

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour

Neural coding and plasticity in the auditory system
King Group

Neural coding and plasticity in the auditory ...

Circuit Mechanisms of Learning and Decision Making
Lak Group

Circuit Mechanisms of Learning and Decision Making

Laboratory of Oscillations & Plasticity
Mann Group

Laboratory of Oscillations & Plasticity

Optical Control of Neurons;
Neuronal Control of Behaviour
Miesenboeck Group

Optical Control of Neurons; Neuronal Control of ...

Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution
Molnar Group

Cerebral Cortical Development and Evolution

Gene Transfer of Nitric Oxide Synthase into Cardiac Nerves Modulates Neurotransmission
Paterson Group

Gene Transfer of Nitric Oxide Synthase into ...

Neural activity in learning and executing movement
Peters Group

Neural activity in learning and executing movement

Blood-brain barrier (dys)function and regulation of brain water homeostasis in CNS pathologies
Salman Group

Blood-brain barrier (dys)function and regulation ...

We study postnatal and adult mammalian brain stem cells to uncover fundamental developmental mechanisms and disease pathogenesis.
Szele Group

We study postnatal and adult mammalian brain stem ...

Sleep, brain and behaviour laboratory
Vyazovskiy Group

Sleep, brain and behaviour laboratory

Memory, motivation and individuality
Waddell Group

Memory, motivation and individuality

Understanding molecular mechanisms of age-related neurodegenerative diseases to generate novel molecular therapies
Wade-Martins Group

Understanding molecular mechanisms of age-related ...

We investigate how the activity of neurons in the brain give rise to our perception of sound.
Walker Group

We investigate how the activity of neurons in the ...

Latest news

Pawel Swietach and KC Park publish paper in Nature Cardiovascular Research

Working with collaborators from across Oxford (Thomas Milne, Nick Crump, James McCullagh, Roman Fisher, Marjorie Fournier), in Cambridge (Sophie Trefely), and at Great Ormond Street Hospital (Steve Krywawych), Pawel Swietach and KC Park working at DPAG have published a new article, 'Disrupted propionate metabolism evokes transcriptional changes in the heart by increasing histone acetylation and propionylation', in Nature Cardiovascular Research.

Rui Ponte Costa receives EPSRC New Investigator Award

Rui Ponte Costa has received an EPSRC New Investigator award for research exploring Cerebellum-inspired parallel deep learning

The King group has published a new paper in the journal eLife

Professor Andrew King and members of his research group have just published a new paper ‘Hierarchical temporal prediction captures motion processing along the visual pathway’ in the journal eLife.