Aston Brain Centre

  • United Kingdom

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Organization profile

Organisation profile

The Aston Brain centre is an integrated research environment for the study of neurodevelopment in health and disease.

Its mission is to develop translational applications of fundamental neurophysiological research to clinical service provision. The Centre works in two main streams:

  • Neurodevelopment; the study of brain development in health and disease
  • Translational research or the medical application of fundamental research to diagnosis, therapy and treatment.

Our team of scientists are interested in understanding how the brain works in health and disease, from the developing child brain through to the ageing brain. We combine our multidisciplinary expertise and the latest technology to study brain function from individual human brain cells through to the whole brain and behaviour. We also provide a tertiary referral service for National Health Service (NHS) consultants, providing cutting edge diagnostic services not otherwise available within the NHS.


The Aston Brain Centre is home to the following facilities and clinical health services:

Aston MRI Research Unit

The focus in our centre is using magnetic resonance imaging to explore the structure and function of the brain. Our powerful 3-tesla MRI scanner is used to study brain function in children with developmental disorders, including epilepsy and metabolic disease, notably children with liver failure.

Clinical Neurophysiology Unit and Sleep Research Lab

Providing a clinical service for hospital consultants across the United Kingdom, we specialise in the clinical use of high resolution EEG, MEG and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to assess brain function. New Sleep laboratories provide a facility for the study of neurological and psychiatric sleep disorders, with particular interest in diagnosis and drug therapies.

Wellcome Trust Laboratory for MEG Studies

We are building the first Magnetoencephalography (MEG) system in Europe designed for use with children. The system measures the tiny magnetic fields which occur in the brain, allowing us to find out how it responds to different stimuli, and which areas are involved. Our particular focus is on understanding children’s neural development, and how it differs in disorders such as epilepsy,

dyslexia, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Dyslexia and Developmental Assessment Unit

There has been a dyslexia clinic at Aston for over 40 years, and today as part of the ABC it has access to a wider range of state-of-the-art clinical and research facilities than ever before. The dyslexia assessment service for both children and adults continues today, and we are also involved in many research projects looking at brain development to try and understand more about how to help people with educational problems and those with developmental disorders.

Human Brain Tissue Laboratory

In collaboration with the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, this lab provides the pivotal link between our pre-surgical evaluation and patient’s post-surgical outcome. Brain tissue extracted at surgery, often for treatment of epilepsy, can be studied under the microscope and tested with drugs, not otherwise possible in humans, and frequently tested on animals as an alternative. The lab provides a vital testing ground for novel drug development and testing as well as providing a vital insight into links between invasive and non-invasive brain function testing.


Research in the Aston Brain Centre is focussed on five key themes:

  • Understanding developmental disorders across the life span
  • Signal processing and computational modelling
  • Perceptual systems
  • Cellular neurophysiology
  • Clinical neurophysiology
Aston University already has an internationally recognised track record of funded research in these areas.

Central to all five themes is the ability to measure and interpret changes in brain activity with millisecond-level time resolution. We do this using tissue samples in-vitro and whole-head in-vivo measurements with MEG.


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