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Neuroscience strives to gain a better understanding of the function of a healthy nervous system and the mechanisms leading to neurological diseases - an area in which Cardiff University’s reputation is internationally recognised.


Research areas

Our neuroscience research aims to translate knowledge of underpinning mechanisms into pharmacological and cell-based therapies, and improved clinical practice.

Our work in this area focuses on three specific themes:

  • Synaptic biology – understanding neuronal plasticity, organisation and function
  • Neurocellular and neurodevelopmental biology – understanding the cell and developmental processes that underpin healthy brain function and mechanisms of disease
  • Systems neuroscience – elucidating the circuits and connectomics that drive brain function.

Research institutes

The Neuroscience division has strong links to the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, as well as the new Dementia Research Institute and Medicines Discovery Institute.

Fellowship and PhD applications

We welcome approaches by potential fellowship applicants whose interests map onto the divisional research areas.

We also welcome applications from PhD students with research interests that fit our strategic research areas.

Please contact for more information.

Staff members

Name Area of interest
Professor Frank Sengpiel - Head of Division Developmental plasticity in the visual cortex and developmental disorders of vision; visuo-spatial memory.
Professor Adrian Harwood - Deputy Head of Division Neuro cell biology, mental disorders and psychotropic drugs.
Professor Nick Allen The mechanisms of neural differentiation of human and mouse embryonic stem cells with the aim of developing protocols to direct the differentiation of neural progenitors to acquire specific neural fates and phenotypes.
Dr Maxime Assous 
Professor John Atack The identification and development of novel drugs for the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease.
Dr Benjamin Bax Using structure-guided drug design to make new medicines to improve human health.
Professor Riccardo Brambilla The roles of intracellular signalling pathways in learning and memory.
Professor David Carter (Emeritus) Mechanisms that regulate gene expression in neurons in response to physiological stimuli, and also during pathological states.
Professor Vincenzo Crunelli Molecular, genetic and cellular mechanisms that operate in single neurons and neuronal networks of the thalamus and cortex during the expression of different stages of sleep and the generation of epileptic syndromes.
Professor Alun Davies FRS (Honorary) Vertebrate neuron development.
Professor Kevin Fox The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying sensory processing and synaptic plasticity in the cerebral cortex.
Professor William Gray Clinical research in epilepsy, the hippocampus, learning and memory.
Dr Mariah Lelos Understanding neuropathological changes in Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease and the effect on cognitive function. Investigating therapeutic interventions, including cell and gene therapies.
Professor Meng Li Neuronal subtype specification of pluripotent stem cells, their use in elucidating the cellular basis of mental disorders, and transplantation-based cell therapy.
Dr Emyr Lloyd-Evans Elucidating the function of lysosomes in health and disease.
Dr Guy Major The fundamental computations carried out by small neural networks, including the generation of local spikes, plateau potentials and direction selectivity in single cortical pyramidal neuron dendrites.
Dr Isabel Martinez-Garay Cellular and molecular mechanism of cortical development.
Dr David McGonigle Function of the somatosensory system in both health and disease, the neural correlates of skill training and perceptual learning in sensory systems.
Dr Owen Peters Molecular mechanisms associated with neurodegeneration and maintenance of the ageing brain.
Professor Anne Rosser Co-directs the Brain Repair Group whose mission is to develop cell-based therapies for Neurodegenerative disease, especially Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease, based on primary fetal, progenitor and stem cell transplantation in the brain.
Dr Yasir Ahmed Syed Stem cell modelling of neurological disorders
Dr Arturas Volianskis 
Dr Helen Waller-Evans Drug discovery targeting lysosomal proteins to develop therapies for neurodegenerative disease
Dr Alan Watson (Teaching and Scholarship) Physiological basis of musical performance, musculoskeletal problems in musicians, sensory circuitry of the dorsal horn, invertebrate neuroethology.
Dr Tim Wells Regulation of neuroendocrine and endocrine processes by metabolic status, with particular interest in the actions of ghrelin.
Dr Sean Wyatt Investigating how secreted proteins regulate neuronal differentiation, survival and the establishment of neural connections in the developing vertebrate nervous systems
Dr Emma Yhnell (Teaching and Scholarship) Understanding the processes which underpin neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease and the associated symptoms which are caused. Science communication and public engagement to advocate for people impacted to raise public awareness and understanding of research.