The Unit houses the following facilities and resources that enable us and our partners to investigate the cognitive and biological bases for human behaviour and its disorders. These include:
Cambridge Centre for Affective Disorders (C2:AD)
The Cambridge Clinical Research Centre in Affective Disorders (C2:AD) was established in 2009 to support research that improves understanding and treatment of affective disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress reactions. http://c2ad.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/
Centre for Attention, Learning and Memory
A new facility, which opened in 2013, has been created to support our research on both typically-developing children and children with problems in areas such as memory, attention, language and reading. Situated in an easily-accessible dedicated single-storey building next to our Main House, the facility provides testing rooms and a waiting area suitable for families.
See here for more information.
Cambridge Cognitive Neuroscience Research Panel (CCNRP)
Close contacts with the University teaching hospital have allowed the MRC CBU to build up a substantial panel of subject volunteers with focal brain lesions (>300 patients), over 150 of these with standardised and normalised structural MRI. This gives the Unit one of the most extensive patient bases worldwide for human neuropsychology, with research into disorders of attention, language, memory, emotion, executive control and many additional aspects of cognition.
Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings are made using a 128-channel active electrode Brain Products EEG setup. All recordings are performed in an acoustically and electrically shielded chamber. The lab is equipped with a Polhemus 3DSPAce Fasttrack Digitisation System, ERTS, E-Prime and Cogent stimulation systems. For data processing, we have at our disposal several commercial software packages: Curry, BESA, ASA, SPM, Scan, and Brain Vision Analyzer. We also develop our own analysis tools using the Matlab programming environment. The EEG lab hosts a variety of research projects, which focus primarily on exploring the human brain mechanisms responsible for speech and language function.
Our experiments mainly use ERP (event-related potential) techniques and include both visual and auditory ERP recordings as well as behavioural tests.
further information about the EEG laboratory.
The MRC CBU currently has 4 eye trackers. One is in the MEG lab, one in the MRI scanner, and we have two separate eye trackers for use in other locations. All eye trackers are manufactured by SMI and use the same SMI software for controlling the eye tracking hardware, for stimulus presentation and for analysis of the eye tracking data. In addition, all trackers can also be used with E-Prime and other custom experiment presentation
The sound laboratory features a wide range of equipment for performing auditory experiments, including three IAC double-walled sound insulating booths, each connected to a dedicated test rig. Stimulus calibration devices include a LeCroy Waverunner 4-channel digital storage oscilloscope, an HP3561A dynamic signal analyzer, a B&K 4153 artificial ear, and a KEMAR mannikin that can be used for calibrating stimuli presented either in free field or through headphones. Research software and hardware for presenting arbitrary electrical stimuli via each of the main three models of cochlear implant are also available. More information on hearing
The MRC CBU fMRI Facility began operations in December 2005, hosting the first Siemens 3T Siemens Tim Trio in the UK. We are a full-time research dedicated facility and support the Cambridge-wide cognitive neuroscience community. In December 2014 our scanner was upgraded to a 3T Siemens Prisma, with 32- and 64-channel parallel transmit head coils.
With its high speed data network and over 100 terabytes of data storage space to support functional neuroimaging, the MRC CBU now has one of the most advanced systems for the acquisition and analysis of functional neuroimaging data sets in the world. See further information about the MRI facility.
The magnetoencephalography (MEG) device installed at the MRC CBU is a 306-channel Vectorview system supplied by Elekta Neuromag (Stockholm/Helsinki). It was the first one to become operational in the UK. Using MEG technology, we are now able to record brain activation in real time and produce “activation films” that indicate the spreading of excitation through different parts of the brain. These waves of activation, or spatio-temporal patterns, can be related to cognitive processes, such as language comprehension, object analysis or motor planning. further information about the MEG laboratory
The MRC CBU currently runs two psychophysiology laboratories, using BIOPAC MP100 systems to record heart rate (HR), galvanic skin response (GSR), and electromyography (EMG) data. These serve as valuable measures of peripheral nervous system function in a variety of experimental designs. We also have a BIOPAC MP150 system that can measure GSR and HR in the fMRI environment. Data is analysed using BIOPAC Acqknowledge software and also via software developed in-house.
Research at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit is supported by a panel of volunteer members of the public who take part in our studies of attention, emotion, memory and language.
We have over a thousand volunteers on our panel, ranging in age from 16 to 80+, who help our researchers test theories about the functioning of the mind and brain in healthy adults of all ages, as well as following brain injury or disease. The MRC CBU Volunteer Panel is always looking for new recruits. If you occasionally have a few spare hours and would be interested in helping us with our research, then read more … If you are interested in the kind of studies our volunteers take part in, then take a quick look at some our areas of research.
visit the MRC CBU wiki farm for pages relating to
The MRC CBU uses computers in nearly all aspects of our research activities. This ranges from data collection using stimulus delivery computers for testing volunteers to control systems for our fMRI and MEG brain scanners and other laboratory equipment. Once collected the data is sent to be stored in our large scale data storage system ready for analysis on our HPC (High Performance Compute) cluster. Then scientists analyse this data and write papers from numerous desktop computers or even on a laptop the other side of the world while preparing to give a talk. The computing group build and maintain all these services while ensuring staff are able to use these services and resources effectively.
The technical department provide support for staff in designing, prototyping, building, repairing equipment/software for use in experiments or where else needed. This could be from a simple button box to a more complicated eye tracking experiment. They also manage item procurement, the processing of goods coming in and out, health and safety and making sure the equipment, building and you are as safe as possible. Also part of this team is the Graphics officer who is in charge of looking after all areas of media such as video, illustration, posters, web, photography and 3D modelling.