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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 BIOSI-Research@cardiff.ac.uk for more information.

Staff members

NameArea of interest
Professor Frank Sengpiel - Head of DivisionDevelopmental plasticity in the visual cortex and developmental disorders of vision.
Professor Nick AllenThe 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.
Professor John AtackThe 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.
Professor Yves BardeMolecular and cellular mechanisms underlying brain function in health and disease.
Dr Benjamin BaxUsing structure-guided drug design to make new medicines to improve human health.
Professor Riccardo BrambillaThe roles of intracellular signalling pathways in learning and memory.
Professor David CarterMechanisms that regulate gene expression in neurons in response to physiological stimuli, and also during pathological states.
Professor Vincenzo CrunelliMolecular, 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 FRSVertebrate neuron development.
Professor Kevin FoxThe molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying sensory processing and synaptic plasticity in the cerebral cortex.
Professor William GrayClinical research in epilepsy, the hippocampus, learning and memory.
Dr Olivera GrubishaDrug discovery with focus on psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Pharmacological profiling of compounds using biochemical and cellular methods and use in drug target validation.
Professor Adrian HarwoodNeuro cell biology, mental disorders and psychotropic drugs.
Professor Tim JacobHow and why we detect odours, whether smell discrimination is innate and to what extent we use smell to communicate.
Dr Emyr Lloyd-EvansElucidating the function of lysosomes in health and disease.
Dr Mariah LelosUnderstanding 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 LiNeuronal subtype specification of pluripotent stem cells, their use in elucidating the cellular basis of mental disorders, and transplantation-based cell therapy.
Dr Guy MajorThe 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-GarayCellular and molecular mechanism of cortical development.
Dr David McGonigleFunction of the somatosensory system in both health and disease, the neural correlates of skill training and perceptual learning in sensory systems.
Dr Owen PetersMolecular mechanisms associated with neurodegeneration and maintenance of the ageing brain.
Professor Anne RosserCo-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 Tatyana ShelkovnikovaMotor neuron disease and other neurodegenerative diseases with disturbed RNA metabolism: mechanisms and drug discovery.
Dr Yasir Ahmed SyedStem cell modelling of neurological disorders
Dr Kerrie ThomasMolecular, cellular and neural processes that underlie long-term memory, particularly emotional memory.
Dr Alan WatsonPhysiological basis of musical performance, musculoskeletal problems in musicians, sensory circuitry of the dorsal horn, invertebrate neuroethology.
Dr Tim WellsRegulation of neuroendocrine and endocrine processes by metabolic status, with particular interest in the actions of ghrelin.
Dr Sean WyattMechanisms that lead to the acquisition of distinct functional phenotypes by different subsets of adult peripheral sensory neurons.
Dr Emma YhnellUnderstanding 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.