The human brain is the most complex of all biological systems. It contains billions of nerve cells, many of which communicate with thousands of other neurones. The challenge for the discipline of neuroscience is to develop an understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal communication and determine how the complex dialogue is orchestrated within neural networks to produce intricate behaviours such as cognition and emotion. As psychiatric and neurological disorders increase in prevalence, due to changing demographics, such as an increasing elderly population, there is a pressing need to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of neuronal communication. In particular, researchers in the Division of Neuroscience are focusing on how the neuronal dialogue is disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases and in complex psychiatric disorders including addiction (e.g. substance dependence) and affective disorders (e.g. depression and anxiety). Neuroscience has emerged as a unique discipline becoming the most challenging, dynamic and exciting frontier of modern biomedical research.
The growing brain is one of the most complex and intriguing systems in the human body. How do we learn the skills, develop the personalities and store the experiences that shape the adults we are today?
What is altered in the brains of people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs of abuse? Is there something that can help us understand why people have addictive personalities and help them to control this behaviour? Here at the University of Dundee, clinical psychiatrists and psychological therapists work alongside researchers under the banner of CARES to study how our bodies and brains become addicted.