Real home for virtual institute

11 May 2006

Researchers at the UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience celebrated its official launch on Wednesday, as well as its £3 million funding for a suite of laboratories.

The UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience is a virtual community, set up to help researchers in this interdisciplinary field to exchange information. Behavioural neuroscientists are interested in the way that low-level neuron processes, such as the actions of genes and proteins, collectively translate to high-level processes, including emotion and consciousness. The 33 current members of the institute are drawn from ten departments and institutes across the university, including UCL Psychology, UCL Anatomy & Developmental Biology and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

The £3 million from the Science Research Investment Fund – a joint initiative of the Office of Science and Technology and the Department for Education and Skills – will enable the institute to build laboratories and office space on Bedford Way for three new research groups, bringing its total to five. Construction will start mid-2006 and is scheduled to finish early in 2007.

"We are very pleased that UCL is showing such strong support for this initiative,” said Dr Kate Jeffery, the institute’s director. “Behavioural neuroscience is a rapidly developing discipline that enables scientists to make connections between molecular and cognitive processes and shows us, in effect, ‘how’ the brain works. It is very beneficial for behavioural neuroscientists to be located near each other so that they can exchange techniques and ideas. Furthermore, the location of the IBN in UCL Psychology is particularly appropriate, since the department is already a world leader in the scientific study of behaviour, and connecting this study to biology is one of the major academic goals of the coming century”.

The launch of the UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience took place on the afternoon of Wednesday 10 May 2006 in the Cruciform building. Dr Joseph LeDoux gave the plenary lecture entitled “Remembrance of Emotions Past: A View through Fear”, which was followed by a champagne reception and poster session.

For more information, please email Dr Kate Jeffery on k.jeffery@ucl.ac.uk or use the link at the bottom of this article.