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Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Lab


A major difficulty in moving research from the bench to the clinic is the translational gap between animal studies and clinical trials. For example, although many medications for Alzheimer’s Disease have been successful in animal tests, they have failed to lead to functional improvement in human clinical trials (Gravitz, 2011, Cummings, 2010, Bezprozvanny, 2010). One of the factors that may have contributed to these failures is differences between how efficacy of compounds is assessed in animals and humans, which in diseases affecting cognition usually means cognitive and behavioural tests.

A major thrust of the TCNLab is to improve translation to the clinic, mainly through scientific and technological innovation. Most people in the lab are working in one way or another on the development of a touchscreen-based cognitive assessment system for rodents. The system enables us to utilize very similar, and in many cases identical, cognitive assays in mice and humans. This method has the tremendous advantage of eliminating numerous confounds, in addition to maximizing the likelihood that the same underlying cognitive processes are being probed in both mice and humans. Thus, the effects of manipulations at multiple levels on cognition can be evaluated in mouse and rat models of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease and then directly compared to the cognitive profiles of human patients.

Dr Johan   Alsio
My main research interest is the cognitive control over behaviour in health and disease. I am currently studying the neurobiological basis of cognitive flexibility in the intact brain and in preclinical models of schizophrenia.
Dr Pedro  Bekinschtein
I'm interested in the neurobiological mechanisms involved in pattern separation, the computational process by which the brain makes similar representations of events more dissimilar or less confusable. I use a combination of pharmacology, brain stainings
Professor Tim  Bussey
Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience
Fellow of Pembroke College
+44 (0)1223 333585
PhD student, co-supervised with Roger Barker. 2007-2012.
Dr Chris  Heath
I am interested in understanding how pathology-related molecular and cellular changes in defined neuronal circuits affect behaviour and cognition in Alzheimer's Disease.
Dr Alexa  Horner
Cognitive characterisation of genetic models of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases which affect cognition, using a battery of touchscreen tests.
 Brianne  Kent
The role of plasticity-related mechanisms in the perirhinal cortex and hippocampus during pattern separation.
Dr Chi Hun  Kim
Screening and translation of novel therapeutics from the bench to dementia patients using cognitive tasks optimised for use in both disease models and humans.
 Daniel  Kofink
Visiting MSc student from Utrecht University, September 2011 - May 2012.
Research Associate 2010-2012. Now at Nature.
Dr Adam  Mar
Working on the development and validation of a cognitive test battery for schizophrenia as part of the NEWMEDS project.
 Katie  McAllister
PhD student 2008-2012. Development and validation of preclinical touchscreen tasks for the assessment of cognitive impairments present in schizophrenia. Now at The Boston Consulting Group (London Office).
Dr Charlotte  Oomen
I am very interested in how learning and memory processes change in conditions of psychopathology such as schizophrenia and stress. My research focusses on the neurobiology and anatomy underlying paired associate learning (PAL), and spatial working memory
Professor Lisa  Saksida
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Fellow of Newnham College
+44 (0)1223 765207
 Jytte  van Huijstee
Visiting Bachelor's student from University of Amsterdam, March - June 2012.