Latest Brain Sciences News

Top ten universities conduct a third of all UK animal research

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UCL animal research facility

The ten UK universities who do the most world-leading biomedical research have announced their animal research statistics, revealing that they collectively conducted a third of all UK animal research in 2015.

How lying takes our brains down a 'slippery slope’

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Pinocchio puppets

Telling small lies desensitises our brains to the associated negative emotions and may encourage us to tell bigger lies in future, reveals new UCL research funded by Wellcome and the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

Arousal exerts an unconscious influence on what we see

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Dilated pupil

A new study from UCL researchers finds that subtle, unconscious increases in arousal – indicated by a faster heartbeat and dilated pupils – shape our confidence for visual experiences. 

‘Middle England’ faces lowest psychosis risk

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East Anglia

The risk of developing a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia is highest for young people, men, ethnic minorities and people living in urban areas and poorer neighbourhoods, finds a new study by UCL and the University of Cambridge.

Scientists discover how we sense 'stiffness'

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Dr Marco Devero demonstrating the technique

Every day, people use their hands effortlessly to assess an object's stiffness, like the ripeness of a piece of fruit. For the first time an international team of scientists led by UCL, have discovered the area in the brain where stiffness perception is formed. The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could aid rehabilitation in patients with sensory impairments.

Prof Gill Bates appointed new Vice Dean (Research)

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Professor Gill Bates (IoN) has been appointed as the new Vice Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Brain Sciences, as of 1st October 2016, and we warmly welcome her to the Faculty senior leadership team.

Prof Bates joined UCL in May 2016 as Professor of Molecular Neuroscience and Co-Director of the Huntington's Disease Centre in the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience (Institute of Neurology). The research of the Bates lab is focussed on understanding the molecular basis of Huntington’s disease and developing therapeutic interventions. You can read more about her research by clicking here.

Prof Bates will play a key role in shaping the Faculty’s research strategy and will work with Faculty leadership and the Office of the Vice Provost (Research) to ensure that Faculty and UCL objectives are aligned.  Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a genuine collegiate spirit and she is an inspiring role model to junior researchers. On her appointment, she said: “I am very excited to have been given this opportunity to play an active role in contributing to the Faculty and wider UCL research community.”

Prof Bates takes over this role from Prof Nick Wood, and will continue to build on the superb work that he has done over the past five years. Prof Wood skilfully aligned the Faculty research strategy with the UCLH/UCL BRC neurosciences themes, and contributed enormously to the successful renewal of the BRC funding. He has been a key member of the School Research Board, involved in the triage, peer review and mock interviews for large grant proposals, improving our success rate as a School, of these major grant applications. We are very grateful for all he has achieved.

UCL’s innovative retail coalition celebrates first anniversary

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UCL is today marking one year since the launch of the innovative retail coalition inspired by Malcolm Walker of Iceland Foods to address the dementia challenge. Since the coalition was created nine UK retailers have committed to support UCL in its fight against dementia, initially pledging in the region of £20 million. In the first year alone, the partnership has already raised around £10 million – equivalent to the sale of around 200 million carrier bags.

Low English skills at school start linked to behavioural difficulties

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Children who enter reception with poor English language skills – whether it’s their first language or an additional language – are more likely to have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in later years, finds a new study co-authored by UCL and Royal Holloway and funded by Wellcome.

UCL receives largest share of NHS research funding

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UCL's Cruciform building

UCL’s three biomedical research centres (BRCs) have won more than £167 million in funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to further world-leading biomedical research conducted with partner hospitals. UCL has received more funding than any other UK university, followed by King's College London and Oxford University, which received £133m and £127m respectively.

Cannabis reduces short-term motivation to work for money

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Cannabis Sativa

Smoking the equivalent of a single ‘spliff’ of cannabis makes people less willing to work for money while ‘high’, finds a new UCL study.

Science begins in the new Francis Crick Institute building

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Francis Crick Institute

The first scientists have moved into the new £650 million Francis Crick Institute building in London and are starting work in their purpose-built labs. Next to St Pancras station and the British Library, the Crick will be the biggest biomedical research institute under one roof in Europe.

Refining the genetic causes of schizophrenia

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Pipetting genetic samples

An international study involving UCL has made advances in understanding the ways in which genetic risk factors alter gene function in schizophrenia.

Eye test may detect Parkinson’s before symptoms appear

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Watch the Reuters video of the story: An Eye test for Parkinson's

A new low-cost and non-invasive eye test could detect Parkinson’s disease before symptoms including tremors and muscle stiffness develop, according to new research in rats led by scientists at UCL.
Led by Professor Cordeiro, researchers at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have discovered a new method of observing changes in the retina which can be seen in Parkinson’s before changes in the brain occur and the first symptoms become evident.

Faculty Newsletter Summer 2016

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The Faculty of Brain Sciences Newsletter for Summer 2016 is out now.

People favour expressive, communicative robots over efficient, effective ones

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BERT Robot

Making an assistive robot partner expressive and communicative is likely to make it more satisfying to work with and lead to users trusting it more, even if it makes mistakes, a new UCL-led study suggests.

Eye test may detect Parkinson’s before symptoms appear

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A new low-cost and non-invasive eye test could detect Parkinson’s disease before symptoms including tremors and muscle stiffness develop, according to new research in rats led by scientists at UCL. 

UCL climbs Shanghai world rankings to 17th place

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UCL Quad detail

UCL has risen to 17th place in the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), published this week by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, retaining its position as one of only three UK universities in the top 20 worldwide.

Prof Xavier Golay Appointed new Vice Dean (Enterprise)

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Prof Xavier Golay

Prof Xavier Golay (IoN) has been appointed as the new Vice Dean (Enterprise) for the Faculty of Brain Sciences. Prof Golay heads up the Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation in the Institute of Neurology, which brings together several different areas in basic and clinical neuroscience. He has recent experience in fostering collaborations with industry and establishing spin-out companies, including Gold Standard Phantoms, a company that enables quantitative medical imaging, and Imgenious, an equipment and software company for medical imaging. You can also read more about some of Prof Golay’s recent research into how sugar can detect cancer here.

Researchers discover what makes mice freeze or flee

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Graphical abstract

Mice are likely to freeze at the sight of small slow-moving shapes and flee from fast approaching ones, finds new UCL research.

Santen and UCL to collaborate on ophthalmic research and education

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Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Santen) and UCL have announced a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on ophthalmic research and education.

UCL researchers honoured by The Royal Society

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Royal Society Prize Winners

The outstanding achievements of three UCL researchers have been recognised by The Royal Society, the UK’s national Academy of science, in this year’s Awards and Prizes announcement.

British Academy elects new Fellows

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Congratulations to the three members of the SLMS community recognised by the British Academy: (l-r) Professor Sophie Scott, Professor Nilli Lavie and Professor Robyn Carston

UCL researchers elected to British Academy

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British Academy Fellows

Four academics from UCL have recently been elected as Fellows of the British Academy, in recognition of their outstanding research.

Q&A with Manuj Sharma - Review of the Arena One Teaching Associate programme

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With the Arena One: Teaching Associate Programme, you can join a cohort of postgraduate teachers to develop your teaching practice and work towards a nationally recognised teaching award; an Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Manuj Sharma is a recent alumnus of the Arena One Teaching Associate programme, so we talked to him about what prompted him to take the course and his experiences of it. 

Professor Marcel Levi to join UCLH as Chief Executive

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Marcel Levi

UCLH has announced the appointment of Professor Marcel Levi as its new Chief Executive. He is due to take up the post on 3 January 2017, succeeding UCLH’s current Chief Executive, Sir Robert Naylor.

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