Sussex Neuroscience

Translational and Clinical Neuroscience

Translational Neuroscience uses laboratory research on the structure and function of the nervous system to inform the development of new therapies for diseases. Clinical neuroscientists, such as psychiatrists and neurologists, use these basic research findings to develop diagnostic methods and treatments. Such disorders include addiction, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathic pain, all of which are studied at Sussex in both laboratory and clinical settings.

Strategic areas of research in Translational Neuroscience include addictive behaviours, drug discovery, sickness behaviours and motor neuron disorders, while current work on brain and body interactions aims to develop therapeutic interventions for patients with anxiety.

Clinical Neuroscience research focuses on clinical populations with dementia, psychosis, Asperger’s syndrome and alcohol and drug addiction.

Collaboration between researchers in the laboratory and clinical settings are particularly strong in the areas of addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathic pain.

Lab websites

Professor Aldo Badiani – How do environmental stimuli modulate the effects of addictive drugs on brain and behaviour?

Dr Marco Bozzali – Functional and structural MRI; normal brain function and the changes occurring in neurological and psychiatric disorders

Professor Keith Caldecott – Neurodegenerative disease and the DNA damage response.

Professor Pete Clifton – I study the neurochemical bases of motivation and learning, with a particular interest in applying the results to developing drug treatments for obesity.

Professor Hugo Critchley – How do mechanisms of mind and body interaction within human brain underpin psychological and physiological health or lead to symptoms?

Professor Mara Cercignani – I am interested in all aspects of quantitative MRI with the specific aim of translating physics development into clinical applications.

Dr Alessandro Colasanti – Biological mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of affective dissorders

Dr Andrew Dilley – Peripheral mechanisms of neuropathic pain

Professor Dora Duka – I research the cognitive and emotional mechanisms involved in addition to alcohol and nicotine.

Professor Sarah Garfinkel - Body-brain interactions in emotion and memory

Professor Pietro Ghezzi – Inflammatory cytokines and neuroprotective cytokines & redox

Professor Majid Hafesparast – My lab investigates the underlying molecular mechanisms of adult-onset motor neuron disease.

Professor Nigel Leigh – I work on the causes, manifestations, and treatment of motor neuron disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr Andrew Penn – Our lab is interested in understanding how genetic changes in glutamate receptors influence excitatory synaptic transmission in health and disease and affect glutamate receptors as therapeutic targets.

Dr Ilse Pienaar - Mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases affecting older adults. 

Dr Charlotte Rae - Cognitive neuroscience of adaptive behavioural control

Dr Nick Medford – Phenomenology and biological substrates of anomalous experience, particularly dissociative symptoms, in neuropsychiatric conditions.

Professor Jenny Rusted – Behavioural, pharmacological and genetic influences on normal and abnormal cognitive ageing.

Professor Louise Serpell – We study how protein misfolding leads to the neuro-degeneration seen in Alzheimer’s disease and related amyloid diseases.

Professor Dai Stephens – How does alcohol abuse alter the brain to affect future drug taking? How do GABAergic synapses in the accumbens participate in drug reward.

Focus on

Sarah Garfinkel
Sarah Garfinkel (Research Fellow)
‘I am fascinated by the question of why our memories are not an exact snapshot of our past experience, but are subject to distortion and selective facilitation. This phenomenon plays a major role in the difficulties faced by people with stress disorders, and persistent fear. During a training fellowship at the University of Michigan I became self-sufficient in techniques from the fields of psychiatry, neuroscience and physiology that would allow me to study fear circuitry in the brain itself.  I returned to Sussex to work with Professor Hugo Critchley, a world-renowned pioneer in translational neuroscience whose elegant paradigms and truly integrated approach are of great inspiration to me. As part of a major new ERC grant we examine physiological interactions between the heart and the brain that contribute to anxiety and fear; our work lies at the interface between BSMS and the Sackler Centre for Consciousness. I also play an active role in helping to promote our postdoctoral research community.’