UCLan Research Centre for Brain and Behaviour

Brain and behaviour

The UCLan Centre for Brain and Behaviour is a cross-disciplinary centre where biomedical scientists, psychologists, clinicians and chemists work together on understanding how the brain works and in understanding disorders of the brain and developing novel treatments for Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders.

in January 2020 the Centre hosted Dr Atticus Hainsworth, Reader in Cerebrovascular Disease at St George’s Medical School, London who gave a seminar  “Small vessels in old brains - a pipeline to dementia".  He is an expert in the pathology of cerebral small vessel disease, which is the primary cause of lacunar stroke and vascular cognitive impairment. His interests are in the pathological processes that underlie small vessel disease and associated white matter lesions. He has explored pathogenic mechanisms of small vessel disease in human brain tissue derived from large cohorts (primarily the OPTIMA and MRC-CFAS cohorts). He has authored systematic reviews of animal models relevant to vascular cognitive impairment, and chairs the vascular experimental medicine group within Dementias Platform UK.

We work with local charities and colleagues within the UK and internationally on 4 main strands:

Our main areas of research are:

Strand 1

Dementia and Neurodegeneration
(e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, neuro-oncology, Motor Neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease, pain, concussion)

Strand 2

Psychiatric illnesses
(e.g. depression, anxiety, drug abuse, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

Strand 3

Cognitive neuroscience
(e.g. attention, distraction, memory, reasoning, judgment, decision making, problem solving, intelligence, creativity, vision, language, reading, concussion)

Strand 4


Neuroscience drug design
(e.g. computational modelling, in silico studies, medicinal chemistry)

Our aim is to promote inter- and cross-disciplinary research into the brain and behaviour within UCLan and to foster links with similar researchers within the UK and internationally. We will mentor women and early career researchers and engage with local charities and the community. Ultimately we hope to produce impactful research through a knowledge transfer agenda.

Research within the Centre is referenced in a guest blog on the Northern Health Science Alliance website about Alzheimer’s disease, entitled ‘Alzheimer's and the AI Grand Challenge’.

To find out more please contact the Centre Director, Professor Colin Davidson or the Centre Deputy Director, Professor Linden Ball.

Seminar Programme

We deliver a varied programme of seminars throughout the year, these are free to attend, and no booking is required.

04/12/19  Prof Clare Gibson, University of Nottingham  ‘Protecting the brain – the importance of biological sex and age’ 
11/12/19  Prof Jolanta Opacka-Juffry, University of Roehampton  Social stress 

Dr Atticus Hainsworth, St Georges, University of London

“Small vessels in old brains - a pipeline to dementia"
29/01/20  Prof Jason Micklefield, University of Manchester   Discovery, characterisation and engineering synthetic pathways towards bioactive molecules.
19/02/20 Prof. Viktor Mueller, The max Planck Institute Interactive Brains, Social Minds


Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Maria Paraskevaidi, was the lead investigator of a study into the early detection of endometrial cancer and at-risk patients. This breakthrough, published in ‘Cancers’ journal signals an important step forward for patients, clinicians and the research community.  Read more about the findings here.

Maria was also interviewed by VJDementia journal (the Video Journal of Dementia) about a number of areas of research into Alzheimer’s disease.  Watch the videos here.


Binding of two ketamine-like legal highs at the dopamine transporter (B) diphenidine and (C) methoxphenidine. From Brain Sci. 2018 Apr; 8(4): 63. Published online 2018 Apr 7. doi: 10.3390/brainsci8040063