Understanding brain and behaviour

Development, ageing, health and disease

29 May 2012 -  17.30-19.30
West Midlands European Office
Avenue d’Auderghem 22-28, Brussels 1040, Belgium

To register please send an email to events@wmeuropeanservice.eu including your name, title, organisation and contact details.

The research priorities for the 2013 Health Theme include brain research, safety and efficacy of therapies and health promotion and prevention.  This seminar will look at the close alignment of Aston University to these key European Health themes and will invite opportunities for collaborations from EU academic institutions and SMEs.

17.30 - Registration and welcome drinks

17.35 - Introduction from Malcolm Harbour MEP

17.45 - European Commission DG Health presentation from Karolina Lagiewka

18.00 - ERRIN Health Working Group presentation

18.10 - Overview of Research in Life & Health Sciences at Aston University.
Helen Griffiths

The School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University has an outstanding reputation for cutting edge research and innovative teaching. The exceptional quality of our research was confirmed in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results – with our research ranked 3rd out of 63 UK higher education institutions. We focus on extending our understanding of the processes of health and disease at the molecular, cell and whole body level – and understanding the personal and social context in which they occur. The School has invested significantly in two research centres; Aston Brain Centre and Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing.

18.20 - Telescope or microscope? Use of combined MEG and human brain slice approaches to study drug-resistant epilepsy in children.
Gavin Woodhall and Stefano Seri

Studies of brain activity in children suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy show characteristic abnormal patterns of activity. However, up to now the underlying mechanisms have only been speculated upon. We have identified characteristic patterns of activity at whole-brain level using non-invasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) and then explored mechanisms using slices of human brain tissue from the same patients maintained in vitro following surgical treatment. Our data indicate that activity patterns seen in intact brain in vivo are readily visible in brain slices and the combination of MEG and human brain slice approaches provides unique insights into the causes of refractory epilepsy.

18.40 - Magnetoencepalography and Developmental Disorders.
Caroline Witton

The Wellcome Trust Laboratory for MEG Studies is a paediatric research facility located in the Aston Brain Centre.  Our research focuses on the development and application of magnetoencephalography (MEG) for the study of neurodevelopmental disorders, with a special interest in early identification and differential diagnosis. Our project combines the approaches of optimising the techniques and technology for acquisition of good MEG data; and the identification of effective biomarkers for disordered development. 

18.50 - Understanding the neural mechanisms in developmental disorders.
Joel Talcott

Developmental disorders of childhood are among the most frequently diagnosed mental health conditions, with significant repercussions both for individuals and the societies in which they live.  Diagnosis remains heavily reliant upon behavioural observations, however, research at the interface between the laboratory and clinic is helping to refine our understanding of developmental disorders by identifying the underlying brain mechanisms and cognitive risk factors involved. The Aston Brain Centre provides a unique resource for combined clinical and research studies of developmental disorders, including developmental dyslexia, ADHD and coordination disorder. We are able to combine genetic, neuroimaging and behavioural studies to foster understanding of both normal and atypical development throughout the lifespan, with a focus on both specific disorder phenotypes and their comorbiditites.

19.00 - Novel approaches for behavioural change: Reducing sedentary behaviour and sustaining increased physical activity across all age groups.
Carol Holland and James Brown

Current increases in obesity and associated disorders in EU nations, such as diabetes and heart disease have significantly increased social and healthcare costs. An important contributor is level of physical activity. Estimates suggest as many as 60% of the EU population are leading physically inactive lives. This sedentary lifestyle is an important target for introducing behavioural changes that can have significant sustained effect on health in the EU. Cross-disciplinary research and external partnerships at Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing can integrate novel health behaviour interventions at the forefront of Health Psychology with biological markers across age groups and sub-ethnic populations.

19.20 - Close and questions.
Helen Griffiths

19.30 - Networking (drinks will be served)

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research