Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC)


The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC), the most advanced multi-modal brain imaging facility in the South West, will provide the sea-change to enhance the quality of our research in human neuroscience.

With seven cutting-edge human research laboratories, each represented by the facility’s logo, BRIC includes an MRI suite with the most advanced 3-Tesla scanner available. It will critically advance our enquiry toward the most advanced brain research, improved radiological diagnostics and better patient care.

The partnership of University of Plymouth, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and DDRC Healthcare is central to our wider aims of delivering rapid improvements to health and wellbeing in the region and beyond, supporting commercial development and integrating research into education at the highest levels. 

  • Construction began: April 2019
  • BRIC opens: 2021
  • Teaching starts: Autumn Term 2021

“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 with the new BRIC facility, we will realise our aim to translate this world-leading research into outcomes that improve the lives of everyone, locally, nationally and internationally.”

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

Laboratories

The new facility is located alongside DDRC Healthcare at Research Way, Plymouth Science Park. In addition to the research laboratories, examination and observation spaces, the new development by DDRC Healthcare will provide lecture theatres, seminar rooms and access to its advanced hyperbaric chamber technology.

Follow the conversation

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

Development

  • Siemens Prisma MRI scanner in use

  • Building development, front, December 2020

  • Building development, rear, December 2020

  • The teams marking the installation of the MRI scanner installation, October 2020

  • Crane lifting in the MRI scanner, October 2020

  • 3D impression of the new facility from the rear of the building (Architects Design Group)

    3D impression of the new facility from the rear of the building (Architects Design Group)
  • Facility site plan showing the extension to the DDRC Healthcare building (Architects Design Group)

    Facility site plan showing the extension to the DDRC Healthcare building (Architects Design Group)
  • The floor plan for the new facility (Architects Design Group)

    The floor plan for the new facility (Architects Design Group)
  • 3D impression of the new facility from the front of the building (Architects Design Group)

    3D impression of the new facility from the front of the building (Architects Design Group)
  • Ann James, Dr Gary Smerdon, Professor Judith Petts CBE and Professor Stephen Hall looking at the BRIC building plans on site

    Ann James, Dr Gary Smerdon, Professor Judith Petts CBE and Professor Stephen Hall looking at the BRIC building plans on site
  • Ann James, Dr Gary Smerdon, Professor Judith Petts CBE and Professor Stephen Hall cutting the first turf to mark the start of the build

    Ann James, Dr Gary Smerdon, Professor Judith Petts CBE and Professor Stephen Hall cutting the first turf to mark the start of the build

Installation of the Siemens Prisma MRI scanner

As the centrepiece of one of seven laboratories based at BRIC, the MRI scanner is equipped with multiple additional brain imaging technologies, to provide the first multi-modal MRI facility in the region. It is capable of measuring signals simultaneously from more than one imaging technique – allowing researchers to gather more data more quickly than with just one scan.  The scanner was installed in October 2020.

Read the related news article

Parkinson’s Disease Research

Researchers from the BRIC Motor Control Laboratory and the Faculty of Health are working together to develop new treatments for the motor-symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Professor Edgar Kramer leads the University’s Parkinson’s Research Group that looks at the development and maintenance of the nervous system at a molecular and cellular level. This is crucial to understanding Parkinson’s, a disease characterised by the premature death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Professor Kramer and his team are seeking to understand the causes and mechanisms that lead to nerve cell deaths. 

Find out more about our research

Therapeutic Focused Ultrasound

Ultrasound – best known in pregnancy for imaging unborn babies - can be used to treat cancer, neurological and psychiatric conditions. This is possible because ultrasound waves can cause the ablation of tissues (at very high intensity) or alteration of brain signals which in turn can be used to restore brain function (at low intensity), offering great promises to patients. Here is an animated video introducing us to the great promises of therapeutic ultrasound.

Find out more about our research

Other publications

Brain rhythms in Autism Spectrum Disorder

A collaborative study between the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and BRIC, improves our understanding of abnormal patterns of movement in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This work, which shows the role of specific brain rhythms in ASD, is the latest in a series of studies on the motor system by Professor Stephen Hall (BRIC Director) and collaborator and first author, Professor William Gaetz at the University of Pennsylvania. The open access paper is available to download here.

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.

“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 Contact Details

Brain Research & Imaging Centre, C/O Hyperbaric Medical Centre, Research Way, Plymouth Devon PL6 8BU