University of Edinburgh: Clinical Brain Sciences

InstitutionUniversity of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Clinical Sciences
Study type Research


The Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS; Director Professor Siddharthan Chandran) integrates laboratory and clinical research to study the causes, consequences and treatment of major brain disorders.

Anchored in the Edinburgh Bioquarter at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and with bases at three other Edinburgh hospital sites, the centre subscribes to Edinburgh Medical School’s "One Health" vision: laboratory scientists, clinical academics and informaticians work alongside each other, to encourage the free-flowing exchange of ideas, the efficient use of clinical data, and joint academic/health service delivery.

CCBS is part of Edinburgh Neuroscience, an umbrella organisation that facilitates interaction among researchers, working at all levels of neuroscience from molecules through synapses and networks to cognition and behaviour. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), Edinburgh was ranked 3rd out of 82 submissions in Neuroscience and the research environment was given the maximum possible score - 100%, world-leading.

CCBS comprises 66 Principal Investigators - including 25 Chairs - of whom 70% are active NHS clinicians. The Centre’s 400+ members conduct research of international recognition and reputation: they attracted c.£58M in grant-funding over the last three years and collaborate widely, leading international clinical trials in stroke (e.g. IST-3) and dementia (e.g. EPAD), while The National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit is a World Health Organization Reference Centre for Human Prion Disease. The research generates significant and measurable impact in terms of patient health and wellbeing, NHS policy and economy, and public awareness.

Major disease-specific research strengths are:

- Brain vascular disease including stroke (Professors Dennis, Macleod, Mead, Salman, Sandercock & Wardlaw; Drs Doubal, Sena & Whiteley)

- Neuroimaging (Professors Wardlaw, Farrall, Marshall & Waldman; Drs Bastin, Job, MacGillivray, Mair, Pernet, Thompson, Thrippleton & Valdes-Hernandez)

- Psychiatry, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression (Professors Lawrie, McIntosh, Owens & Thomson; Drs Johnstone,MacIntyre & Whalley), autism and learning disability (Drs McKechanie, Stanfield & Fletcher-Watson)

- Prion diseases (Professors Knight, Manson & Will; Drs Green & Molesworth)

- Neurodegenerative diseases: multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, dementias (Professors Chandran, Piller, Ritchie & Smith; Drs Connick, de Sousa, Dhillon, Duncan, Hunt, Mahad, Muniz-Terrera & Pal)

- Synaptic Biology & Disease (Professor S Grant; Drs Komiyama, Sylantyev & Wang)

- Epilepsy (Dr Chin)

- Neonatal development & the effect of premature birth (Professor Boardman)

- Neuro-oncology / Translational Neurosurgery (Drs R Grant, Brennan & Hughes)

- Functional Disorders (Hon Professors Stone & Carson)

- Sleep medicine (Dr Riha)

The Centre also has a strong record of attracting philanthropic donations to establish specialist centres of excellence (Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research, Centre for Dementia Prevention, Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre, SMC Research Centre, Sackler Institute for Psychobiological Research) that are maintained and expanded by community fundraising. Two of our Professors (Chandran and Wardlaw) are Chairs of the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

CCBS has approximately 80 postgraduate students, mostly PhDs. It is particularly strong in clinical PhD training, with a number of innovative schemes including Psy-STAR, Rowling Scholars and Princess Margaret Research Development Fellowships. The Edinburgh Imaging Academy is a flagship for e-learning MSc and CPD courses.

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

University of Edinburgh 


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