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Brighton & Sussex Medical School


BSMS > Research > Neuroscience > Neuroscience


Neuroscience research at BSMS encompasses all areas of the central and peripheral nervous systems. From laboratory through to clinical studies, our research explores the function of the nervous system in both health and disease.

A major focus of our research is neurological conditions such as dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and chronic pain. Using molecular, physiological and neuroimaging techniques, our researchers are examining the underlying mechanisms, diagnosis and treatments of these conditions as well as the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Research activity

Dr Naji Tabet investigates the role of lifestyle and dietary factors in dementia. Prof Florian Kern is also interested in Alzheimer’s disease and investigates the interaction between immune cells and amyloid beta.

Leading clinical research into motor neurone disease, Prof Nigel Leigh focuses on the causation, clinical investigation and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, in particular amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Research into cerebral ischemia and neuroinflammation led by Prof Pietro Ghezzi examines how inflammatory cytokines play a role in repair and protection of the nervous system. In this area, his research also studies mechanisms of inflammation and remyelination in multiple sclerosis.

Continuing the theme of inflammation, Dr Andrew Dilley’s research into chronic pain examines the physiological and inflammatory mechanisms that lead to symptom production, while Dr Ricardo Governo’s research determines the role of chronic pain treatments on central pain pathways.

Research into sickness behaviours by Dr Neil Harrison examines how the immune system interacts with the brain to cause symptoms of fatigue, depression and memory impairment. Prof Hugo Critchley’s research into central autonomic control determines how the brain and body interact to influence behaviour. Research is also being carried out into visual perception and executive functions by Dr Natasha Sigala.

Dr Harry Witchel examines the responses to drugs and psychological stimuli on the physiological function of the heart.

Sussex Neuroscience

Sussex Neuroscience attracts some of the brightest and most enthusiastic young researchers.

Our four-year PhD Programme was launched in 2014 and provides a first year of lab rotations before the student decides on his or her primary research focus.


Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science

The Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science pursues a powerful multidisciplinary approach to clinical intervention and diagnosis, based on the science of the complex brain networks that give rise to consciousness.

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Sussex Psychosis Research interest Group (SPRiG)

The Sussex Psychosis Research interest Group (SPRiG) incorporates clinical and academic researchers within the University of Sussex, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

SPRiG is part of the Clinical and Developmental research group at the University of Sussex.

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In the news

Dr Yoko Nagai's groundbreaking research into behavioural treatment for epilepsy was featured on BBC South East Today.