Images from Thomas Willis' 'Cerebri Anatome,' 1664
Images from Thomas Willis' 'Cerebri Anatome,' 1664

Understanding how the brain works is one of the last great frontiers of modern science and neuroscience is one of the fastest developing areas of biomedical science. Its study offers the prospect of a real understanding of, and effective treatments for, a great range of neurological and psychiatric illnesses that shatter the lives of many and inflict a massive clinical and socio-economic burden on society.

The University of Oxford has a long and illustrious history of neuroscience research dating back to the seventeenth century. Today, Oxford is particularly strong in basic and clinical neuroscience, linking the function of genes and cells to systems and behaviour.

Clinical research focuses on experimental medicine, imaging and functional neuroscience on the areas of ophthalmology, mental health, neuropsychology and neurology. There is a high degree of collaboration between basic and clinical scientists and a strong emphasis on translational research. Translational research spans the whole arena of neuroscience and includes the use of genetics, stem cells, drug discovery, biomarkers, gene therapy, brain stimulation and visual prostheses. The University has particular strengths in the use of multimodal imaging, coupled with molecular and psychological profiling, to develop biomarkers of disease/treatment efficacy for pain, psychiatry and neurodegenerative disease. 

Neuroscience research is performed in a number of departments and multidisciplinary centres/units across four University of Oxford campuses, which include departments at the John Radcliffe and Warneford Hospitals. Departments include Experimental Psychology, Pharmacology, Physiology Anatomy and Genetics, Psychiatry, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Centres and units include the MRC Functional Genomics and Anatomical Neuropharmacology Units; the Oxford Centres for Cognitive Neuroscience, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Brain, Human Brain Activity, Parkinson’s Disease and the neuroscience themes of the NIHR funded Biomedical Research Centre at the JRH.