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Department of Imaging Neuroscience awarded funding to discover how the brain allows us to live our lives

Wellcome funding has been awarded to establish The Discovery Research Platform for Naturalistic Neuroimaging at The Department of Imaging Neuroscience.

This project, led by Professor Martina Callaghan (Head of Department of Imaging Neuroscience), will be a highly collaborative endeavour bringing together researchers from across the UCL Neuroscience Domain. The Discovery Research Platform for Naturalistic Neuroimaging will create a new capacity for examining everyday behaviours, with the aim of providing new perspectives on the diagnosis and treatment of neurological and mental health conditions.

This Discovery Research Platform is one of eight across the UK that will receive a total of £73 million in funding from Wellcome to address a range of practical, technological and methodological barriers that are holding up research progress across different fields.

Within the department a new wearable imaging technology, based on optically-pumped magnetometers, is being pioneered so that functional responses from the brain and spinal cord can be measured even while people move around. This transformative neuroimaging technique will be combined with novel experimental designs and innovative analytics to gain new insights into how the brain engages with the real world.

Professor Callaghan said:

“We are excited to establish our Discovery Research Platform for Naturalistic Neuroimaging. It aims to overcome barriers in the field of neuroscience by providing the tools needed to better understand how the brain processes information as people engage with the real world.

“Ultimately, we hope this will aid the development of more effective treatments for neurological and mental health conditions. We are eager to see the ground-breaking research and new discoveries that will emerge, and thank Wellcome for creating this wonderful opportunity. Establishing this Platform is a truly collaborative effort, and I want to extend my deepest thanks to all colleagues involved.”

Michael Dunn, Director of Discovery Research at Wellcome, said:

“Discovery research is essential to advancing our ability to understand and improve health. But in addition to researchers’ bold and imaginative ideas, we know that new tools, methods and capabilities are also needed to unlock new avenues of research that can disrupt and transform the research landscape globally.”