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Spotlight On: The BRAIN Centre

Each month we post a new edition to the SES ‘Spotlight On…’ series, showcasing equipment at our institutions, providing information and case studies for interested researchers/industries, and promoting better use of already available equipment.

The Biomarker Research and Imaging for Neuroscience Centre (BRAIN) houses a brand new state-of-the-art 9.4T Bruker preclinical MR scanner and various additional equipment.

The BRAIN Centre is a newly refurbished preclinical neuroimaging facility run by a team of staff scientists and focusing on the development of translational biomarkers for neurological and psychiatric disorders using imaging and related techniques.

The primary methods are Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRI and MRS), but the facility also offers methods that can be used alongside imaging, such as autoradiography, histology, electroencephalography (EEG), microdialysis & biosensors, as well as behavioral testing and molecular biology methods.Clockwise from top left: rat brain 14C-2DG autoradiography; triple immunofluorescence for Iba1, TSPO and nuclei; somatosensory stimulation BOLD fMRI; microglia immunohistochemistry; structural MRITo use the facility, researchers can either book and use equipment themselves (basic training is provided), but more commonly they can set up a collaborative agreement with the BRAIN Centre scientists who can undertake some experiments or analysis on behalf of the researcher. The BRAIN Centre also provides a full ‘fee-for-service’ contracting option for industrial partners.

Additionally, the BRAIN Centre scientists offer assistance with experiment planning e.g. working out appropriate methods and study design, as well as help with writing articles and funding applications. Data analysis can also be provided, or further training in analysis can be arranged.

Name of Facility

The BRAIN Centre (Biomarker Research and Imaging for Neuroscience)

Current High-level Research:

  • Measuring brain metabolic reserve in healthy and unhealthy ageing (Prof Turkheimer, KCL)
  • Characterising imaging biomarkers of neuroinflammation (Wellcome Trust-funded Neuroimmunology Consortium)
  • The link between cognition, brain changes, obesity and fatty liver (Dr So, KCL)
  • Phenotyping brain changes in rodent models of stress and aggression (EU funded MATRICS consortium)
  • Integration and validation of diffusion tractography on human post-mortem brain samples (Dr Dell’Acqua, KCL)
  • The effect of antipsychotic medication on the brain (Dr Vernon, KCL).

Click here for a list of related publications.

Who has access?

Anyone can visit the facility at a pre-arranged date/time, accompanied by a member of BRAIN Centre staff. MR safety induction and sign off is required before undertaking research at the facility.

Is there preferential access given to a particular type of researcher? E.g. Based on institution, field of research

Neuroscience and neuroimaging applications are prioritised, but other organs and applications (e.g. cardiac, liver, tumours, tissue samples etc.) are also supported.1H MRS from 11.6 µl voxel in the prefrontal cortex of mouse brain

Does it require an on-site visit to use the facility/equipment?

Data acquisition requires on-site presence, but BRAIN Centre scientists can undertake the work on behalf of researchers. Data analysis can be done online/remotely.

Are there costs associated/fees?

Yes. The BRAIN Centre operates a three-tier charging model:

  1. MR scanner access only – for superusers who are already familiar with the equipment and do not require additional assistance
  2. Collaborative model – incorporates equipment access and additional professional services such as data acquisition, analysis, assistance with other methods & experiments
  3. Fee for service – BRAIN Centre undertakes contracted work for a fee.

Click here for further information.

“We welcome new enquiries in all fields of preclinical neuroimaging and we are keen to help those unfamiliar with imaging to decide on the best course of action and to generate pilot data that can be used to apply for further funding”

Dr. Diana Cash, BRAIN Centre Manager

Can it be bought as a service with access to a team of experts?


Potential relevant disciplines:

Imaging and neuroscience


The Brain Centre Department of Neuroimaging
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IOPPN)
King’s College London
James Black Centre (Ground Floor)
125 Coldharbour Lane


Dr Diana Cash

Facility Manager