UCL Division of Biosciences


Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology

The UCL Research Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (NPP) traces its origins to the founding of the Department of Physiology at UCL in 1828, the first of its kind in England. Today in NPP we research fundamental aspects of how and why organisms work, continuing a long-standing tradition of shedding light on the most complex animal function and behaviour, in both health and disease, by revealing the underpinning molecules, cells, systems and circuits. We are part of UCL's Neuroscience Research Community, the largest in Europe, and home to over 40 research groups and 100+ Post-Docs, PhD students and support staff.


From founding the first department of Physiology in England in 1828 to its groundbreaking work in Pharmacology to its current position as part of the largest research community of Neuroscientists in Europe, this research department has been instrumental in the world's understanding of the nervous system and the interactions within it. 

From James Black to Archibald Hill to Bernard Katz, UCL has been home to Nobel Prize winners and game changers in the discipline of physiology. 

Today NPP continues this fine tradition with some of the most prestigious academics in the field. From Maria Fitzgerald and her groundbreaking work on pain to David Attwell's important work on the control of blood flow to Annette Dolphin's work on how neurons talk to each other and many more, UCL's many NPP research labs are generating exciting new findings daily.

We are proud of our focus on research-based teaching and offering the top neuroscientists of tomorrow the opportunity to hear from the current leaders in the field on their areas of expertise as well as ensuring that practical experience in labs remains a fundamental element of the teaching process.

Stephanie Schorge - Head of Department

UCL Neuron

Our people and our history



We are a diverse community of internationally recognised PIs, post-docs and PhD students undertaking world-leading interdisciplinary research into the nervous system, from molecules and synapses to circuits and behaviour.


History of NPP

NPP has been home to some of the greatest figures of physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience from Bernard Katz, Andrew Huxley and Ernest Starling to our current world-leading scientists.

phd student and family at graduation


Our growing and vibrant research community is always looking for the brightest minds - see current opportunities for fellowships, PhDs and more.



Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

Our work focuses on the study of ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels, G-protein-coupled receptors, and organelles, from structural and functional perspectives to their role in synaptic transmission during health and disease.


Epithelial Physiology

Our work focuses on the investigation of the function of channels and transporters in epithelial membranes, in relation to homeostasis and disease.


Circuits and Systems Neuroscience

Research in the Circuits and Systems laboratories in the department focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of circuit and system function and how it contributes to emerging behaviours in health and disease

Our research spans receptor pharmacology, biophysics, circuits and systems neuroscience, cardiovascular neurophysiology and neural computation. We encourage early-career scientists to join us with externally funded fellowships.


Early Careers Community

Our research department is home to a thriving community of Postdoctoral Researchers supported by skills training, careers advice and much more.

Our staff, researchers and students have access to a wide range of cutting-edge facilities within NPP and Biosciences as well as across UCL. 




UCL offers two of the most prestigious undergraduate programmes in this field in the world: BSc/MSci Neuroscience and BSc/MSci Pharmacology. We also have one of the largest student-led science-focused societies in the UK, the UCL Neuroscience Society. 

student at microscope


We offer a dedicated MSc in Neuroscience and we have streams in both Neuroscience and Pharmacology in our MRes Biosciences.



Prospective students are warmly encouraged to review the many research topics in the department and to make early contact with academic staff. PhD projects may be based entirely within NPP, or connected to collaborative research projects that link departments across UCL and with external partners.


UCL Neuroscience Symposium

Discover some of the most exciting research taking place in neuroscience today as UCL researchers, from established senior investigators to rising stars, present their more recent work. This immensely popular forum has been running for 12 years and attracts over 800 delegates each year. 

blue and yellow neurons

The UCL Neuroscience Domain brings together all UCL neuroscientists to make fundamental discoveries about brain function and behaviour, to train the next generation of scientists and clinicians, and to transform our ability to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.

npp on youtube

NPP on Youtube

Watch videos about our research from investigators past and present.

Keep up to date with NPP

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