Nine leading academics have joined the Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences in the University of Exeter Medical School, as part of an expansion of research and teaching in Neuroscience.

Last year, the University launched a second wave of recruitment to attract some of the best researchers and educators from across the country to work with the existing world-leading neuroscience teams at Exeter.

As a result, the University has appointed two professors, a senior lecturer and six lecturers, with specialist expertise in areas including neurodevelopment, dementia, rare genetic diseases and pain.

The researchers will teach on programmes including the newly launched MSc in Neuroscience and the BSc in Neuroscience, on which students will play an active role in research as they learn.

Some of the researchers will also have direct involvement in the NIHR Exeter Biomedical Research Centre, which exists to translate research into patient benefits more swiftly. One of the core themes of the new centre is neurodegeneration.

Wendy Noble has joined Exeter from King’s College London as Professor of Molecular Neurobiology. She is an expert in understanding the molecular mechanisms that cause degenerative diseases such as dementia. She has a particular interest in tau, a protein known to build up in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Noble said: “I’m delighted to have joined such a vibrant and dynamic department with world-renowned neuroscience research and successful neuroscience education programmes. I hope that my team will further expand neurodegeneration research with our cell and molecular biology expertise,  helping bridge seminal neurogenomics findings and impactful clinical neurodegeneration research.”

Albert Basson has also joined Exeter from King’s College London, as Professor of Neuroscience and Epigenetics. His group studies the epigenome, which regulates genetic activity, with a focus around rare disorders and neurodevelopment disorders such as autism.  

Professor Basson said: “My decision to join Exeter was influenced by the significant strengths in human epigenomics and genetics and neurophysiology, providing many exciting opportunities to collaborate and grow mechanistic and functional research in neurodevelopmental disorders and age-associated cognitive decline. Since joining, I have been very impressed by the inclusive, supportive and friendly work environment. I am excited to get to know everyone, to get our research off the ground and to experience summer in Devon!”

Under the recruitment driver, Dr Sam Hughes has been appointed as Senior Lecturer in Pain Neuroscience.  Lecturer in Neuroscience positions went to Dr Yanfeng Zhang, Dr Charlotte Lawrenson,  Dr Jan Vollert, Dr ClémenceBernard, and Dr Giselle Cheung, who will join Exeter as a Lecturer in July. Dr Tom Piers was appointed Lecturer in Neuroscience and NIHR Exeter BRC Translational Fellow.

Professor Sallie Lamb, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the incredible calibre of researchers we’ve attracted to Exeter. We’re already known to be world-leading in areas including genomics and dementia. These new academics will help strengthen and diversify our research in neuroscience still further. It’s a real testament to the University of Exeter’s commitment to training the next generation of neuroscientists, and producing research which can swiftly be translated into real-word benefits for people in the South West and across the world.”