Sussex awarded over £1 million to drive neuroscience research
The University of Sussex has won two awards from the Medical Research Council (MRC) which will help to support vital research into the brain.
Teams working within Sussex Neuroscience and the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre bid successfully for funding through an MRC Discovery Award (£800,000) and the MRC Confidence in Concept Award (£300,000).
The funds will be made available to internal applicants from Sussex Neuroscience to develop new methods for optical imaging in deep brain structures and to support projects focusing on neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Simon Ward, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry & Director of the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre, said: “Neurological disorders including degenerative and sensory diseases are increasingly common and devastating conditions, particularly in our ageing society.
“Sadly most nervous system disorders lack effective treatment and many corporate organisations have reduced their strategic commitment to bringing forward new therapeutic agents to tackle them.
“The need for new therapeutics to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders is now more urgent than ever – which is why we very much welcome the funding from the Medical Research Council.”
The MRC Discovery Award is titled ‘A window into the brain: The circuit basis of behaviour and neuropathologies’.
Building from the expertise that Sussex has in techniques such as multiphoton microscopy, the award will drive the development of technologies that allow optical imaging of neural activity in structures deep in the brain, with a resolution down to individual neurons.
These technologies will be used to investigate how neural circuits generate behaviours such as addiction and how they become altered in neuropathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The MRC Confidence in Concept Award is titled ‘Enabling translational discovery of new neuroscience therapeutics’. It will complement the Discovery Award by supporting projects that bridge the gap between basic and translational science.
Together, the two funds will help neuroscientists at Sussex understand the links between biological mechanisms and human disease and will hopefully help to influence future clinical practices.