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Professor Richard Wise

Professor Richard Wise

Professor, Head of Magnetic Resonance Imaging

+44(0)29 2087 0358
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ


Research summary

My research aims to develop ways of non-invasively imaging human brain function using magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiological techniques. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)  has taught us much about human brain function over the last 15 years, allowing us to map where in the brain information processing is taking place. We are now developing these imaging techniques to provide more quantitative measurements of brain function based on alterations in blood flow and the brain's oxygen usage. The development of these techniques is helping us to study the action of drugs in the human brain and to probe disease processes in the brain more deeply.

Teaching summary

I teach at the postgraduate level on the theory and practice  of functional MRI.  Courses are held at CUBRIC throughout the year and  cover the basics of FMRI physiology, acquisition methods, data analysis,  experimental design and interpretation as well as advanced FMRI techniques such  as simultaneous EEG-FMRI and arterial spin labelling perfusion measurements.  Details of CUBRIC’s Neuroimaging Training can be found here.

Other roles

I am the Head of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Lead for Finance at CUBRIC (Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre).


Undergraduate education

1991-1994: BA Hons (First  Class). Natural Sciences (Part II: Physics and Theoretical Physics),  Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University

Postgraduate education

1994-1998: PhD,  Fitzwilliam College and Herchel Smith Laboratory for Medicinal Chemistry,  Department of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge University. “Magnetic Resonance  Imaging Studies of Cardiovascular Function and its Changes in Hypertension”


2006-2010: MRC Career Development Fellow, Cardiff  University

2005-Sept 2006: MRC  Career Development Fellow, FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford

2006-Sept 2006: University  Research Lecturer, Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford

2005: Wellcome  Trust “Value in People” Fellow, Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics,  University of Oxford

2002-2005: Wellcome  Trust Advanced Training Research Fellow, Department of Human Anatomy and  Genetics and FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford

2000-2002: Post-doctoral  research scientist, FMRIB Centre, Department of Clinical Neurology, University  of Oxford

1999: System  Engineer, The Smith Group, Guildford, UK

1994-1998: Wellcome  Trust 4 year PhD Research Training studentship in Mathematical Biology,  Cambridge University

Honours and awards

Awards/external committees

Samantha Dickson Brain  Tumour Trust (SDBTT) Grant Review and Monitoring Committee member
Associate  Editor of the journal “Human Brain Mapping”





























Research topics and related papers

My research focuses on the development and application of  quantitative FMRI techniques as well as multimodal imaging such as the  combination of EEG and FMRI. We aim to apply these advanced techniques to the  study of brain function in health and disease and to study drug effects in the  brain including analgesics (Wise et al 2002, 2004), sedatives and caffeine  (Diukova et al 2012).

Specifically we are investigating the coupling between  neural and vascular activity and between metabolic and vascular activity in the  brain. We are investigating the physiology underlying the BOLD response and the  factors that affect this image contrast. An aim of our work is to improve our  interpretation of FMRI data as a marker of neural activity in demanding  applications such as disease and drug studies where underlying cerebral  physiology may be altered (see Iannetti and Wise 2007).

We are applying techniques to measure drug-induced changes  in cerebral perfusion (using arterial spin labelling) (see Murphy et al 2011  and Carhart-Harris et al 2012) to localise drug effects. We are developing  techniques to maximise the information extracted from simultaneous EEG and FMRI  which has the advantage of providing electrophysiological as well as  haemodynamic information. We are also developing methods for the measurement of  cerebro-vascular reactivity and cerebral oxygen metabolism with the use of  respiratory challenges in the MRI scanner to modulate blood flow and  oxygenation (Murphy et al 2011, Chiarelli et al 2007).

We are applying our research to study pharmacological  sedation in collaboration with Anaesthetists. We are also investigating changes  in the brain with chronic pain and with neurological conditions such as epilepsy  and multiple sclerosis. We are also applying our techniques to understand the brain’s  control of basic body functions such as breathing (Pattinson et al 2009) and cardiovascular control and cerebral autoregulation.


EPSRC, Improving EEG reading of brain states for  clinical applications using a data-driven joint model of FMRI and EEG.  Richard Wise, Yulia Hicks and Cyril Charron. 2011-2012. £132,000.

Arthritis Research UK (Centre Grant). Cardiff University  Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre. 2009-2014. Vic Duance, Debbie  Mason, Cathy Holt, Sam Evans, Daniel  Aeschlimann, Stephen Denyer, Bronwen Evans, Simon Jones, Daniela Riccardi,  Robert van Deursen, Anwen Williams, Richard Wise. £2,500,000.

Wellcome Trust. 4 year PhD programme in Integrative  Neuroscience. 2008-2014. Vincenzo  Crunelli (PI) John Aggleton (PI), Mark Good, Kim Graham, Robert Honey,  Derek Jones, Simon Killcross, Andrew Lawrence, John Pearce, Krish Singh, Ed  Wilding, Richard Wise, Nick Craddock, Lesley Jones, George Kirov, Michael  O’Donovan, Michael Owen, Anita Thapar, Marianne van den Bree, Lawrence Wilkinson,  Julie Williams, Nigel Williams, Vladimir Buchman, Alun Davies, Stephen Dunnett,  Kevin Fox, AJ Harwood, Stuart Hughes, Anne Rosser, Frank Sengpiel. £4m.

Marie Curie (FP7)  European Fellowship, Routes to  Arousal: a simultaneous  EEG-FMRI investigation of pharmacological sedation in humans. 2010-2012. Awarded  to Dr Tommaso Gili (host, Richard Wise). €181,000.

Current Fellowships  sponsored/supervised

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research  Council of Canada, Banting Fellowship awarded to Dr Ashley Harris

Wellcome Trust Career Development  Fellowship. Quantifying vascular  influences on neurovascular coupling with fMRI, awarded to Dr Kevin Murphy

Selected  past funding
Pfizer Ltd, Pharmacological modulation of free-running  EEG. Richard Wise. 2010-2011. £61,000.

Waterloo Foundation. Advanced  Neuroimaging in BECCTS. 2010-2012. Derek Jones, Krish Singh, Richard Wise,  Dave McGonigle, Suresh Muthukumaraswamy. £110,000.

Welsh Assembly Government: Academic expertise for business  (A4B), collaborative industrial research project. The integrated brain imaging and stimulation project (IBIS).  2010-2012. Chris Chambers, Krish Singh, Richard Wise, Derek Jones, David Jiles.  £194,000.

Alzheimer’s Research Trust. Cerebral small vessel disease,  blunted perfusion responses and adaptation to early Alzheimer’s disease. 2010-2012. Mike O’Sullivan, Richard Wise,  Derek Jones, Tony Bayer. £26,950.

Pfizer Ltd. Optimising pharmacological FMRI for drug  development. 2008-2010.Richard  Wise. £257,000.

MRC Career  Development Award. Pharmacological neuroimaging: assessing FMRI as  a biomarker of changes in neuronal activity using combined EEG and FMRI. 2005-2010. Richard Wise. £473,000.

Research group

Dr Cyril Charron (Postdoctoral scientist, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Dr Tommaso Gili (Postdoctoral fellow, School of Psychology,  Cardiff University)
Dr Ashley Harris (Postdoctoral fellow, School of Psychology,  Cardiff University)
Ilona Lipp (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Kevin Poon (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Dr Neeraj Saxena (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Alan Stone (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Ann Taylor (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)
Esther Warnert (PG, School of  Psychology, Cardiff University)

Research collaborators

School of Psychology, Cardiff
Dr  Chris Chambers
Prof Derek Jones
Dr  David McGonigle
Dr Kevin Murphy
Prof Krish Singh

Cardiff University
Prof  Judith Hall (Cardiff Institute of Infection and Immunity, School of Medicine,  Cardiff University)

Dr  Ann Harvey (Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre,  Cardiff University)

Prof  John Cockcroft (Institute of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, School of  Medicine, Cardiff University)

Prof  Sailesh Kotecha (Institute of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, School of  Medicine, Cardiff University)

Dr  Valentina Tomassini (Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical  Neurosciences, School  of Medicine)

Dr  Xavier Caseras (Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine)

Prof  William Gray (Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine)

Prof Damian  Bailey (University of Glamorgan)
Prof Carlo  Caltagirone (Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome)
Dr  Federico Giove (University of Rome, La Sapienza)
Dr Giandomenico  Iannetti (University College London)
Dr Emma  Hart (Bristol University)
Dr Tom Liu  (UCSD FMRI Center)
Prof Bruno  Maraviglia (University of Rome, La Sapienza)
Prof David  Nutt (Imperial College)
Prof  Julian Paton (Bristol University)
Dr Kyle  Pattinson (Oxford University, Nuffield Department of anaesthetics)
Prof Peter  Rogers (Bristol University)
Dr Bill  Vennart (Pfizer Ltd.)
Dr Fernando  Zelaya (Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London)


Postgraduate research interests

My research involves developing and applying quantitative  FMRI techniques to study the physiology of the human brain. My group also aims  to combine multiple techniques such as EEG or MEG and FMRI to examine  neurovascular coupling. Vascular function is an important aspect of brain  function and this underlies the generation of the BOLD FMRI signal. We are  studying vascular function using FMRI techniques included arterial spin  labelling perfusion measurement and we are also aiming to provide more  quantitative measurements of brain function including the rate of oxygen  consumption. In the course of our research we use respiratory challenges in the  MRI scanner. We aim to apply our techniques in pharmacological studies to  examine drug effects on the brain and in studies of pain, hypertension,  epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cerebrovascular disease.

Opportunities for research range from basic methods  development (suited to the more technically oriented), through to application  of these methods to study healthy and diseased brains.
If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further  information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly  (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application.

Current students

Ilona Lipp. Emotion regulation and associated physiological  changes and regulating genetic factors
Kevin Poon. Study of pulmonary hypertension
Dr Neeraj Saxena. MRI and MEG studies of propofol sedatio
Alan Stone. Development of quantitative FMRI methods  including measurement of oxygen metabolism
Ann Taylor. Chronic non-malignant pain studied with FMRI
Esther Warnert. Development of brainstem FMRI to study  cardiovascular control

Past projects

Previous students

Dr Laura  Zambreanu
Dr Steve Mayhew (School of Psychology, Birmingham  University)
Dr Kyle  Pattinson (Oxford University, Nuffield Department of anaesthetics)