Research

The Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute was set up in August 2010 to address one of the major societal challenges facing the world today – mental illness.

Since its inception, here at the Research Institute we have facilitated numerous research projects and networks through seedcorn & equipment funding and administrative support, which will continue going forward into the next 5 year period.

We aim to further the understanding and treatment of major psychiatric and neurological disorders, which represent some of the greatest challenges to society.

Global leaders in research

Mental illness and diseases of the brain are ignored and misunderstood. These remain major challenges for medical research.

Psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are major causes of death and disability, and current treatments and care costs the UK around £77 billion every year. Despite the major personal and family suffering caused by these disorders, modern medicine has yet to have any significant impact in prevention or cure.

Mental health disorders, which spans dementia, epilepsy and the psychiatric conditions, affect one in six people in the UK population at a cost of over £100 billion per year to the economy. 

Cardiff University's researchers are global leaders in unravelling the genetic basis of mental disorders. The grand challenge, tackled by the Research Institute, is to use neuroscience to translate these genetic discoveries into major improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. 

Led by Professor Jeremy Hall and a Management Team, the Research Institute's vision is to build an outstanding environment for mental health research that attracts, supports and retains the best scientists and students in Cardiff.

Moving towards a more positive future

We need better treatments and a better understanding of the root causes and mechanisms of mental health disorders.

The estimated cost of dementia in the UK alone is estimated to be £17 billion a year, more than cancer and heart disease combined. With an aging population, this figure is set to rise to £50 billion within the next 30 years.

Improving care and treatment for people with mental health problems requires the same rigorous approach to research as demanded for tackling physical illness.

Despite the huge burden that poor mental health and neurodegenerative disorders represent to society and the great potential arising from recent advances in neurosciences and genetics, the possibilities remain untapped and research is under-funded. We need better treatments and prevention and this will require better understanding of causes and mechanisms. This requires collaborative, inter-disciplinary efforts to bring cutting-edge neuroscience to bear on these illnesses.

Collaboration of expertise

To achieve this goal, the Research Institute has brought together over 100 senior Principle Investigators (PI's) and their teams with research expertise in psychiatry, neuroscience and psychology (from four main Schools within the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences – Medicine, Biosciences, Psychology and Optometry and Vision Sciences) to apply recent advances to understanding the biological basis of mental illness.

“I began work as an NMRHI Research Fellow at the start of 2014. Being a part of the collaborative interdisciplinary research environment within an Institute setting has been instrumental in developing my research programme and has given me the necessary support and guidance to apply for further fellowship funding”.

Nichola Brydges Research Fellow

The core methods of our outstanding interdisciplinary scientific research include;

  • Stem Cell Neurobiology
  • Molecular Neurobiology
  • Systems Neurobiology
  • Life course imaging

These in turn support the four core contemporary research themes:

  • Neurodevelopment
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neuroexcitiation
  • Neurodegeneration