Translational neuroscience uses a diverse range of experimental models and approaches to study neuronal function and malfunction, from single genes and molecules to humans. Research investigates genetic, molecular and systems aspects, and incorporates functional as well as structural components based on a wide range of techniques.
Centre stage is the neurobiology of disease and disorders of the nervous system, as diverse as spinal cord and eye injury, schizophrenia, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research spans the very youngest to the oldest of ages, starting with the development of the embryonic nervous system and how it is assembled into the mature, functioning brain, with the hope that retriggering the developmental processes will provide a route of repair. There has also been great success in studying the ageing brain to provide a complete neurobiological description of the events that lead to the progressive failure of the nervous system with age, and ways in which this process may be slowed.
Brain nutrition and lifestyle research is also a highlight of the Programme, as we determine how appetite or energy expenditure can be manipulated by diet, pharmacology, or photoperiod, or by engineered or natural gene mutations. Using these approaches the complexity of co-ordinating signals that allow the central nervous system to guide our every waking, and even sleeping, moments, is investigated.