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Dr Claudia Metzler-Baddeley

Dr Claudia Metzler-Baddeley

Reader, NIHR/HCRW Advanced Research Fellow

+44 (0)29 2087 0705
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision


Research summary

I am a cognitive neuroscientist who applies quantitative multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (e.g. multi-shell diffusion-weighted, quantitative magnetization-transfer-weighted, relaxometry MRI) and experimental-cognitive methods to advance our understanding of:

  • the brain phenotypes of healthy versus pathological ageing (associated with genetic and lifestyle risk factors of dementia) to identify early disease biomarkers (CARDS),
  • the microstructural brain changes underpinning cognitive impairment in neurodegenerative disease such as white matter changes in Huntington's disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment,
  • the effects of cognitive/movement training on clinical symptoms and neural plasticity in people with Huntington's disease (HD-DRUM).

I am also using advanced tractography techniques to study the anatomy of white matter pathways such as the cingulum bundle and the fornix.

Cardiff Ageing and Risk of Dementia Study (CARDS):

I am the PI of the Cardiff Ageing and Risk of Dementia Study (CARDS) that was funded by the Alzheimer's Society and BRACE (2014-2018). CARDS recruited over 200 participants (38-71 years of age) to investigate the impact of genetic and lifestyle dementia risk factors on the brain and cognition many years before disease onset. CARDS has discovered interactions between APOE4 carrier status and obesity on limbic grey and white matter microstructure suggestive of tissue damage due to inflammation and hypertension. A UKRI funding application for an 8+ year longitudinal follow-up study of CARDS to identify brain microstructural predictors of cognitive decline is pending.

HD-DRUM - Rhythmic movement training in Huntington's disease:

I study the mechanisms underpinning brain plasticity, including myelin remodelling, and how they can be exploited to the benefit of people with Huntington's disease (HD). With an NIHR/HCRW Advanced Fellowship (2022-2025) I have developed a novel rhythmic drumming training app (HD-DRUM) together with people with HD (HD-Voice), musician Jaime Cantera, and design company Kinneir Dufort. This project is based on our pilot research showing benefits of drumming on cognition and neural pathways in people with HD. As part of the fellowship my research team (Dr Vasilis Ioakeimidis, Lucy Layland, Fionnuala Rogers) and I will study the feasibilty of two-months of HD-DRUM compared with standard care control and effects on the brain and clinical symptoms.


Undergraduate education

Psychology at Bonn University, Germany

Postgraduate education

D.Phil work on frontal attention deficits at Sussex University


NIHR/HCRW Advanced Research Fellow (2022-2025)

Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience, Cardiff University (2020-present)

Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University (2016-2020)

Alzheimer’s Society and BRACE Research Fellow (2014-2018)

Research Associate, Cardiff University (2009-2014)

Neuropsychologist at the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE) in Bath (2005-2009)

Lectureship in Psychology at Manchester University and postdoctoral work at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

Honours and awards

Awards/External Committees

Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and Associate Fellow of British Psychological Society (AFBPsS).

Member of Scientific Advisory Board, BRACE Alzheimer's charity

Member of UKRI BBSRC Ageing Across the Lifecourse Working Group

Member of editorial board for Scientific Reports (NPG)

Professional memberships

Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS)

Organisation of Human Brain Mapping (OHBM)

International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)























I lecture on the BSc Psychology Year 1 modules Introduction to Psychology (PS1016), the Year 3 module Memory Processes and Disorders (PS3208), and MSc Topics in Psychology (PST720).

Research topics and related papers

HD-DRUM: cognitive and motor training, brain plasticity, Huntington's disease

CARDS: Healthy and pathological ageing/ risk factors of dementia

Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, Huntington's disease)

Neuroglia models of ageing and neurodegeneration

Anatomy of limbic white matter pathways


Metzler-Baddeley, C (PI) (2022-2025) Development and feasibility randomised controlled pilot study of HD-DRUM – a novel motor sequence training app for people with Huntington’s disease. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)/ Health Care and Research Wales (HCRW) Advanced Research Fellowship. £917,217.

Duckers, J et al (CoA) (2019) Cystic Fibrosis - Memory assessment and MRI screening. Health & Care Research Wales. £19,200.

Rosser, A, Busse, M & Metzler-Baddeley (2016) Exploring cognitive training as a non-pharmaceutical intervention for people with Huntington's disease. Jaque and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation. £94,714.

Metzler-Baddeley  C (PI) (2014) How do individual differences in midlife adiposity and APOE genotype as risk factors for dementia affect brain structure and cognition? A cross-sectional MRI study. Alzheimer’s Society and BRACE Fellowship. £305,161.

Metzler-Baddeley, C (PI), Jones, DK, Rosser AE. (2014) Effects of a novel intervention on white matter microstructure and cognition in Huntington’s disease. NISCHR and Welcome Trust ISSF project grant. £69,769.

Research group

Cognitive Neuroscience
Imaging Science

Research collaborators

  • Professor Derek Jones (Cardiff)
  • Professor David Linden (Cardiff)
  • Professor Anne Rosser (Cardiff)
  • Professor John Aggleton (Cardiff)
  • Dr Seralynne Vann (Cardiff)
  • Professor Monica Busse (Cardiff)
  • Dr John Evans (Cardiff)
  • Dr Rebecca Sims (Cardiff)
  • Dr Emma Kidd (Cardiff)
  • Fabrizio Fasano (Siemens)
  • Dr Elizabeth Coulthard (Bristol)
  • Dr Roland J Baddeley (Bristol)
  • Professor Karen Caeyenberghs (Deakin University, Australia)
  • Professor Michael O'Sullivan (University of Queensland, Australia)
  • Professor Fernando Maestu (University of Madrid, Spain)
  • Dr Michael Funke (University of Texas, USA)
  • Professor Derek Hamilton (University of New Mexico, USA)


  • What does CUBRIC mean to you?
  • Good evening Wales, BBC Radio Wales (11/12/2018)
  • ITV Wales (23/04/18).
  • BBC Wales,
  • Guardian  - (4/08/16)
  • Panorama programme “Living with Dementia – Chris’ story broadcasted on BBC One (2/06/16).
  • Pint of Science Event Cardiff on brain plasticity (11/05/18)
  • BBC documentation on Terry Pratchett Living with Alzheimer’s, broadcast February 2009
  • BBC Radio 4 Memory Experience.


Post-doctoral research associate: Vasilis Ioakeimidis (funded by NIHR/HCRW Advanced Fellowship)

Current PhD students research brain plasticity in ageing: Lucy Layland (School of Psychology Open PhD studentship 2022-2025), Fionnuala Rogers (School of Psychology Open PhD studentship 2021-2024)

Previous PhD students: Chiara Casella, Lauren Revie, Jilu Mole, Kat Christiansen

Past projects

Chiara Casella - Moving beyond the tensor - Advanced characterisation of white matter microstructure in Huntington's disease using translational imaging, PhD Thesis, Cardiff University 2021. Haydn Ellis Prize for best PhD thesis 2021.

Lauren Review - Visual perception and attention and their neurochemical and microstructural brain correlates in healthy and pathological ageing, PhD Thesis, Cardiff University 2021.

Jilu P Mole - The white matter microstructure of the basal ganglia circuitry and its changes in Parkinson's disease, PhD Thesis, Cardiff University 2018.

Kat Christiansen - An integrated analysis of the extended hippocampal system across species. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University 2017.