Clinical Neurosciences

Changing how the world understands and treats diseases of the brain and mind

Clinical Neurosciences

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The human brain has approximately 100 billion neurons which in turn create an astonishing 100 trillion neural connections. It is the most complicated observable object in the known universe, and understanding how it works has occupied scientists for centuries.

Cambridge has made an exceptional contribution to our understanding of the brain. Transformative discoveries such as the role of the neuron and how nerve impulses transmit have resulted in our researchers and alumni receiving eight Nobel Prizes.  However, many critical questions remain unanswered.  Tens of millions of people globally suffer from serious neurodegenerative and mental illnesses. We urgently need to better understand what causes these devastating diseases, and to develop new and more effective treatments.


Collaborative approach to complex questions

The University of Cambridge’s vision is to fundamentally change how the world understands and treats diseases of the brain and mind within the next ten years. ‘Cambridge Neuroscience’ is an ambitious and collaborative initiative to do this by bringing together our very best minds in the pursuit of significant breakthroughs in both fundamental science and clinical applications. It involves over 700 researchers from 60 different departments and institutes across the University working together toward new discoveries and treatments. The complexity of neurological and psychiatric diseases require multiple perspectives and joined up approaches to improve patient outcomes.  With this collective effort we have the opportunity to identify new approaches to diagnosing, treating and perhaps even preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and autism.

Interdisciplinary research impact

Our world-class research initiatives span:

  • the underlying biological causes of major neuropsychiatric disorders (focusing on identifying signs of disease states and potential therapeutic targets)
  • investigating how the brain can repair itself using stem cells and gene therapy
  • partnering with the mobile games industry to create brain training games assessing and improving cognitive skills.  

These interdisciplinary projects address critical unanswered questions in neuroscience and add to an already impressive record of achievement in multidisciplinary research and collaboration.

Transforming brain health

Medicine is changing more rapidly today than at perhaps any point in history. The power of genomics, big data and computing is leading to radical new insights that are transforming our understanding of the brain and the mind.  By harnessing the power of these technologies, Cambridge is at the forefront of delivering new ways of diagnosing and treating across the entire spectrum of brain and mind disease.  

A new Institute for Brain and Mind Health

A fundamental component for catalysing further progress will be a new institute co-locating leading researchers from multiple disciplines.  This will provide a world-class collaborative and translational environment for brain and mind research and treatment. A purpose-built hub, based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, will enable the University, along with its partners, to rapidly accelerate the pace at which the world conquers brain disease.  The planned Institute for Brain and Mind Health (IBMH) will provide more than 22,000 m2 of high-quality research space, housing more than 500 researchers in laboratories, clinical research facilities and educational space.

Next steps

To discuss your philanthropic goals or explore opportunities for collaborative investment, please contact:

Shira Schnitzer

Head of Major Gifts — Cambridge University Health Partners

+44 (0)1223 330932 or +44 (0)7720 064987

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Related gift announcements

Cambridge owes its world-leading excellence in research and teaching to the generosity of its supporters. Our history is synonymous with a history of far-sighted benefaction, and the same is as true today as it has ever been.

Microscopic image of brain inflammation from Alzheimer's Disease. Credit: National Institute on Aging, NIH
Gift announcement
Research into neurodegenerative diseases will receive a significant boost, thanks to three new PhD studentships in Cambridge, supported by a grant of £227,557 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the freemasons’ charity.

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Philanthropic giving is at the heart of the success of the Collegiate University, enabling us to make discoveries that change the world and to ensure that our students receive an unrivalled education.

Microscopic photograph of the hippocampus demonstrating the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease
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The development of new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is one step closer thanks to the generous support of the Frances and Augustus Newman Foundation.