The Centre for Human Brain Health (CHBH) is an inter-disciplinary brain research facility established with the mission of understanding what makes a brain healthy, how to maintain it, how to prevent and reverse damage and how to develop the next generation of interventions and tools for personalised brain healthcare.
The vision of the CHBH is to cross the boundaries of traditional academic and clinical disciplines in order to transform our understanding of the human brain, recognising that to achieve the goal of personalised brain health we must first know what constitutes a healthy brain and how lifestyle, developmental, and societal factors interact and contribute to this endeavour.
The Centre has a physical hub at the University of Birmingham, with members distributed throughout the city via close alliances with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Institute of Translational Medicine, the Barberry National Centre for Mental Health, and Birmingham Children's Hospital. The Centre brings together expertise in discovery science (neuroscience, psychology, physiology, computer science, physics, social science and mathematics) with clinical research and practice in neurology, psychiatry and other disciplines related to brain dysfunction.
The CHBH Approach
Multiple inter-related factors can influence the resilience of the individual brain, from genetics to exercise, from nutrition to sleep habits, from abnormal thought patterns to general lifestyle. At the CHBH we will use our multi-disciplinary expertise and state-of-the-art technology to identify the key factors for maintaining a healthy brain. We will develop and apply advanced neuroimaging techniques, including the development of new sensor technology, to characterise brain structure and function, combined with experimental and lifestyle interventions to enhance brain health across the lifespan. Working closely with people with a variety of brain disorders and brain injuries, we will characterise specific patterns of neurological, cognitive and socio-emotional deficits, and investigate whether with personalised rehabilitation and interventions the disruptive effects on people's lives can be reduced.
The Centre is organised into five inter-connected thematic areas supported by internationally-recognised scientific and clinical researchers:
- Human Brain Science
- Mental Health
- Translational Neuroscience
- Advanced Methods
- Society, Policy and Education
The Centre will house 3T MRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanners, along with facilities for electroencephalography (EEG), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and transcranial magnetic and electrical brain stimulation. A particular focus will be on developing and understanding the use of combinations of these technologies to provide a more complete picture of brain structure and function. We will have sleep and exercise laboratories to allow us to investigate the link between lifestyle and brain health, alongside behavioural testing areas to allow a detailed characterisation of participants’ cognitive profiles. Facilities to allow unwell people to participate will develop our links with the Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals, and the Barberry National Centre for Mental Health.