BRIC building exterior
The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC) is the most advanced multi-modal brain research facility in the South West and represents a sea-change in research capability in the field of human neuroscience.
The integration of world-leading expertise and technology in our cutting-edge brain research laboratories places the University of Plymouth at the forefront of the exploration of human brain structure and function in health and disease.
The partnership between the University of Plymouth, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and DDRC Healthcare is central to our wider aim of delivering rapid improvements to health and wellbeing from the regional to the global scale.
Postgraduate courses in brain research are now available: MSc Human Neuroscience 
 

Laboratories

BRIC has seven cutting-edge brain research laboratories, including the most advanced 3-Tesla MRI facility in the region. The facilities are co-located with a new DDRC Healthcare development, which includes lecture theatres to align research and teaching and the most advanced hyperbaric chamber technology in the UK. 

A diverse range of internationally excellent researchers in the field of neuroscience underpins the University of Plymouth’s strong track record in brain research. We ask important questions that draw upon expertise from the single molecule to the whole human, explore the basic mechanisms of cognition and behaviour and apply advanced computational methods to improve our understanding of the brain in health and disease. I am confident that BRIC will enable us to realise our aim of translating our world-leading research into outcomes that improve the lives of everyone, locally, nationally and internationally.

Stephen HallStephen Hall
Director of the Brain Research & Imaging Centre, Professor of Human Neuroimaging, University of Plymouth

Professor Stephen Hall, Director of BRIC
 

Research at BRIC

Discover some of the exciting research taking place in our cutting-edge laboratories. You can also view our research in action on our YouTube channel or sign up to participate in a study by completing the form in the participation section below.

What's new at BRIC?

Dr Elsa Fouragnan has been awarded a BBSRC grant for her work in Transcranial Ultrasound Stimulation (TUS) 

In this novel project, we will investigate for the first time the relationships between brain states and TUS and whether recruitment of targeted brain regions improves TUS-induced plasticity. This is crucial for optimizing future treatment designs, particularly those leveraging cognitive-behavioural tasks during TUS therapies. Refining the relationship between TUS and states will be vital to pave the way for effective clinical interventions, particularly those combining cognitive-behavioural therapy and brain stimulation.
Another important aspect of TUS is that it can reach any region in the brain. In this new line of research, we will also pursue the idea that TUS can be used at different locations of the brain at the same time, in order to change communication between brain regions. We want to show that concurrent multisite TUS is safe and can increase outcome measures by providing additional ways of intervening in the brain. This will increase the potential of TUS applications and open a new avenue for thinking about non-invasive brain stimulation which considers the dynamism of brain networks.

Fundamentals and applications of TUS Workshop

In collaboration with Brainbox Initiative, Dr Elsa Fouragnan hosted the inaugural Fundamentals and Applications of TUS workshop at BRIC in May 2023. The multi-day course was oversubscribed and an international success. 

Discover surprising facts and myths about the brain

The human brain is a remarkable organ which allows us to perceive and interact with the world, remember, think, communicate and plan. Ultimately, all human consciousness, action, and culture is a product of our brain.
At the Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC), based on the Plymouth Science Park, researchers from across the University are working with NHS staff to better understand how the brain works and how it is affected by disease and age.
Neurons concept image.
 

Participate in our research

Volunteering for a study at the Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC) will put you at the forefront of brain research. You'll experience a scan using our cutting-edge neuroimaging equipment and contribute to the field of neuroscience by helping us to better understand the brain and underlying causes of neurological conditions.
Completing the form does not obligate you to take part and our researchers will contact you directly when relevant studies begin recruitment. Please note that BRIC researchers are not medically trained and cannot offer any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment following participation in a research study, nor will you be provided with a copy of the images. All images are anonymised and stored on a secure database, which is accessible by our researchers for scientific research only.

Older-adult volunteers wanted

We would like to hear from people aged over 65 years of age who are interested in being a member of our older-adult participant group. 
Please visit our healthy ageing webpage for more information. 
Healthy Ageing
Abstract image of alcohol and wine glasses

Public and patient engagement

BRIC and the Diving Diseases Research Centre (DDRC) actively engage with the public and with patient groups. This makes our research possible and breaks down barriers between research, innovation, and society. 
U3A BRIC Tour

Data protection privacy notice

The University of Plymouth will process your personal data in accordance with data protection regulations. By submitting your details you consent to the University processing your personal data in order to send you information in accordance with the preferences you indicated on the sign up form. 
You may withdraw this consent at any time by contacting BRIC at bric@plymouth.ac.uk

Publications

Smith, A. D. (in press). Virtual reality and spatial cognition: Bridging the epistemic gap between laboratory and real-world insights. Science and Education.
Salo, S. K., Harries, C., Riddoch, M. J., Smith, A. D. (in press). Visuospatial memory in apraxia: Exploring quantitative drawing metrics to assess the representation of local and global information. Memory & Cognition.
Zaksaite, T., Loveday, C., Edginton, T., Spiers, H. J., Smith, A. D. (2023). Hydrocephalus: A neuropsychological and theoretical primer. Cortex, 160, 67–99.
Yaakub, S.N., White, T.A., Roberts, J., Martin, E., Verhagen, L., Stagg, C.J., Hall, S., Fouragnan, E.F. Transcranial focused ultrasound-mediated neurochemical and functional connectivity changes in deep cortical regions in humans. Nature Communications 14, 5318 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40998-0
Yaakub, S.N., White, T.A., Kerfoot, E., Verhagen, L., Hammers, A., Fouragnan, E.F. Pseudo-CTs from T1-weighted MRI for planning of low-intensity transcranial focused ultrasound neuromodulation: An open-source tool. Brain Stimulation 16, 75-78 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2023.01.838
Xinhua Yang, Jia Huang, Matthew E.Roser, Guangrong Xiee 2022. Anhedonia reduction correlates with increased ventral caudate connectivity with superior frontal gyrus in depression. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 151, p286-290.
Ward E, Ganis G, McDonough KL & Bach P 2022 'EXPRESS: Is Implicit Level-2 Visual perspective taking embodied? Spontaneous perceptual simulation of others’ perspectives is not impaired by motor restriction' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 174702182210771-174702182210771, DOI Open access
Yang, X., Huang, J., Harrision, P., Roser, M. E., Tian, K., Wang, D., & Liu, G. (2021). Motivational differences in unipolar and bipolar depression, manic bipolar, acute and stable phase schizophrenia. Journal of Affective Disorders, 283, 254-261.
Darmani G, Bergmann TO, Butts Pauly K, Caskey CF, de Lecea L, Fomenko A, Fouragnan E, Legon W, Murphy KR & Nandi T 2021 'Non-invasive transcranial ultrasound stimulation for neuromodulation' Clinical Neurophysiology 135, 51-73, DOI Open access
Abdulhamid H, Jäger N, Schnädelbach H & Smith A 2021 'Room to breathe: Using adaptive architecture to examine the relationship between alexithymia and interoception' Journal of Psychosomatic Research 153, DOI Open access
Folloni D, Fouragnan E, Wittmann MK, Roumazeilles L, Tankelevitch L, Verhagen L, Attali D, Aubry J-F, Sallet J & Rushworth MFS 2021 'Ultrasound modulation of macaque prefrontal cortex selectively alters credit assignment–related activity and behavior' Science Advances 7, (51), DOI Open access
Inkster A, Milton F, Edmunds CER, Benattayallah A & Wills A 2021 'Neural correlates of the inverse base-rate effect' Human Brain Mapping, DOI Open access
Smith A & De Lillo C 2021 'Sources of variation in search and foraging: A theoretical perspective' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, DOI Open access
Smith A, Priestnall G & Cross J 2021 'Supporting spatial orientation during route following through dynamic maps with off-screen landmark persistence' Spatial Cognition and Computation, DOI Open access
Anil K, Hall S, Demain S, Freeman J, Ganis G & Marsden J 2021 'A Systematic Review of Neurofeedback for the Management of Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease' Brain Sciences 11, (10) 1292-1292, DOI Open access
Schlegelmilch R, Wills A & von Helversen B 2021 'A Cognitive Category-Learning Model of Rule Abstraction, Attention Learning, and Contextual Modulation' Psychological Review, DOI Open access
Seabrooke T, Mitchell C, Wills A, Inkster A & Hollins T 2021 'The Benefits of Impossible Tests: Assessing the Role of Error-Correction in the Pretesting Effect' Memory and Cognition, DOI Open access
Pavlov YG, Adamian N, Appelhoff S, Arvaneh M, Benwell CSY, Beste C, Bland AR, Bradford DE, Bublatzky F & Busch NA 2021 '#EEGManyLabs: Investigating the replicability of influential EEG experiments' Cortex Publisher Site, DOI Open access
Mehesz E, Karoui H, Strutton PH & Hughes SW 2021 'Exposure to an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment can Modulate Perceptual Correlates of Endogenous Analgesia and Central Sensitization in Healthy Volunteers' The Journal of Pain 22, (6) 707-714, DOI Open access
Lopez-Persem A, Roumazeilles L, Folloni D, Marche K, Fouragnan EF, Khalighinejad N, Rushworth MFS & Sallet J 2020 'Differential functional connectivity underlying asymmetric reward-related activity in human and nonhuman primates' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, (45) 28452-28462, DOI Open access
Baxter R & Smith A 2020 'Searching for individual determinants of probabilistic cueing in large-scale immersive virtual environments' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Publisher Site, DOI Open access
Trudel N, Scholl J, Klein-Flügge MC, Fouragnan E, Tankelevitch L, Wittmann MK & Rushworth MFS 2020 'Polarity of uncertainty representation during exploration and exploitation in ventromedial prefrontal cortex' Nature Human Behaviour 5, (1) 83-98, DOI Open access
Wittmann M, Fouragnan E, Folloni D, Klein-Flugge M, Chau B, Khamassi M & Rushworth M 2020 'Global reward state affects learning and activity in raphe nucleus and anterior insula in monkeys' Nature Communications 11, (1) 0-0, DOI Open access
Botvinik-Nezer R, Holzmeister F, Camerer CF, Dreber A, Huber J, Johannesson M, Kirchler M, Iwanir R, Mumford JA & Adcock RA 2020 'Variability in the analysis of a single neuroimaging dataset by many teams' Nature 582, (7810) 84-88, DOI Open access
Hughes SW, Basra M, Chan C, Parr C, Wong F, Gomes S & Strutton PH 2020 'Capsaicin-Induced Changes in Electrical Pain Perception Threshold Can Be Used to Assess the Magnitude of Secondary Hyperalgesia in Humans' Pain Medicine, DOI Open access
Hughes SW, Ward G & Strutton PH 2020 'Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the primary motor cortex attenuates capsaicin‐induced dynamic mechanical allodynia and mechanical pain sensitivity in humans' European Journal of Pain 24, (6) 1130-1137, DOI Open access
Ward E, Ganis G, McDonough KL & Bach P 2020 'Perspective taking as virtual navigation? Perceptual simulation of what others see reflects their location in space but not their gaze' Cognition 199, 104241-104241, DOI Open access
Hughes SW, Hellyer PJ, Sharp DJ, Newbould RD, Patel MC & Strutton PH 2020 'Diffusion tensor imaging of lumbar spinal nerves reveals changes in microstructural integrity following decompression surgery associated with improvements in clinical symptoms: A case report' Magnetic Resonance Imaging 69, 65-70, DOI Open access
Prokic E, Woodhall G, Williams A, Stanford I & Hall S 2019 'Bradykinesia is driven by cumulative beta power during continuous movement and alleviated by GABAergic modulation in Parkinson’s disease'  Frontiers in Neurology, DOI Open access
Gaetz W, Rhodes E, Bloy L, Blaskey L, Jackel CR, Brodkin ES, Waldman A, Embick D, Hall S & Roberts TPL 2019 'Evaluating motor cortical oscillations and age-related change in autism spectrum disorder' NeuroImage 207, 0-0, DOI Open access
Hughes SW, Hellyer PJ, Sharp DJ, Newbould RD, Patel MC & Strutton PH 2019 'Diffusion tensor imaging reveals changes in microstructural integrity along compressed nerve roots that correlate with chronic pain symptoms and motor deficiencies in elderly stenosis patients' NeuroImage: Clinical 23, 0-0, DOI Open access
Fouragnan EF, Chau BKH, Folloni D, Kolling N, Verhagen L, Klein-Flügge M, Tankelevitch L, Papageorgiou GK, Aubry J-F & Sallet J 2019 'The macaque anterior cingulate cortex translates counterfactual choice value into actual behavioral change' Nature Neuroscience 22, (5) 797-808, DOI Open access
Folloni D, Verhagen L, Mars R, Fouragnan E, Constans C, Aubry J-F, Rushworth MFS & Sallet J 2019 'Manipulation of subcortical and deep cortical activity in the primate brain using transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation' Neuron, DOI Open access
 

The partnership

This project is a unique £9 million collaboration between the University of Plymouth, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT) and the research charity DDRC Healthcare. This partnership represents an important commitment to advancing excellence and synergy between research, healthcare and education.
University of Plymouth
The University is a top-20 UK university for psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry with 83% of the University’s research output rated world-leading or internationally excellent in the REF2014.
DDRC Healthcare
With Care Quality Commission registration and a long-established reputation for delivering treatment, training and research in hyperbaric medicine, DDRC have an excellent track record of providing clinical services for the NHS, treating around 100 patients a year.
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT)
UHPNT is the largest hospital in the south west peninsula, providing comprehensive secondary and tertiary healthcare and is fast becoming a leading centre for medical research, enabling patients to have access to the latest technologies, treatments and care by world opinion leaders in their respective fields.
 

Opportunities for commercial collaboration

BRIC’s cutting-edge research facilities and world-leading expertise across a range of disciplines will present attractive commercial opportunities, particularly in the areas of healthcare, sports and pharmaceuticals, to support the real-world application of advanced skills and techniques.
For enquiries or further information please contact: bric@plymouth.ac.uk

Every aspect of this project will allow DDRC Healthcare to grow and develop. It is a true collaboration that consolidates our many years of working with the University of Plymouth and the NHS. The co-location of neurological research excellence, state-of-the-art imaging facilities and a hyperbaric medical centre will move us to the forefront of international research and training.

Dr Gary Smerdon
Chief Executive, DDRC Healthcare

Our patients will be scanned on a state-of-the-art 3T MRI scanner. This means improved diagnosis and treatment, and improved access to timely imaging. Moreover the project will allow our patients to participate in more clinical research trials than they have previously had access to.

Dr Lucy McGavin
Consultant Neuroradiologist, UHPNT
BRIC map with directions v6

BRIC contact details

Brain Research & Imaging Centre, c/o Hyperbaric Medical Centre, Research Way, Plymouth Devon PL6 8BU. what3words: Bright.Green.Daisy