Our Research

Photograph of a child learning

How does the brain develop and function across the lifespan?

Photograph of elderly person receiving care

How can it be protected and repaired?

Neuroscience research in Edinburgh takes place within a vibrant, integrated, and interdisciplinary research environment that encourages interaction between researchers working at all levels, from molecules, through synapses and networks, to cognition and behaviour.  Our research spans the whole life course from birth through adulthood to old age, with fundamental and clinical work integrated across all areas. Across the life course there are shared mechanisms and overlap so our researchers often find themselves working across life-course areas too. Our main themes are (click the hyperlinked titles for more info)

Neurodevelopment and Neurodiversity

Encompassing pre-clinical, clinical and psychology research to address brain development, neurodiversity and disorders, and their impact on learning, education and behaviour. This theme includes research in the areas of development of cognition, communication, neurons and circuits, how neuronal networks function and their plasticity, autism and epilepsy.

Mental Health and Mental Wealth

Research into individual differences in personality and cognitive function, including risk factors and disease mechanisms in order to better understand the behavioural and neurobiological processes underlying psychological resilience, and psychological and psychiatric risk. Includes research in areas such as the psychology of personality, language representation, harmful behaviours, functional neurological disorders, mood disorders, psychosis, and schizophrenia,

Ageing, Degeneration and Regeneration

This theme integrates laboratory, epidemiological and clinical research to understand the pathobiology of disorders of the ageing brain and its protection and regeneration. Includes research in areas such as healthy cognition in ageing, dementias, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, stroke, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).


Why we use animals in research

The brain and nervous system is an incredibly complicated structure. Understanding how it works is essential to appreciating how this can go wrong and what interventions might be effective in delivering relief. While our researchers are committed to the principals of the 3Rs and so, where possible, they develop and use experimental approaches that Replace, Reduce or Refine animal use, there are instances where there are no alternatives to the use of animals. Find out more at our Why we use animals in research webpage.