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Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre aims to create a platform to deliver high quality experimental medicine research on new treatments and procedures to improve lives.

Oxford Health BRC stylised image of brain © NIHR Oxford Health BRC
                                                NIHR Oxford Health BRC logo
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is run in partnership with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust,  the University of Oxford (based in the Department of Psychiatry) and involves 11 additional partner university and NHS Trusts across England.

Through these partnerships, the Oxford Health BRC, led by Director John Geddes, is establishing a national network of centres of excellence for brain health.

Being co-located with clinical facilities on our main Warneford Hospital site, means important results can be translated straight into the clinic. This central hub is the heart of the network which reaches out to world-class facilities within walking distance, such as the Big Data Institute, the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, and beyond to national and global collaborators through StemBANCC and The Structural Genomics Consortium.

Being co-located with clinical facilities on our main Warneford Hospital site, means important results can be translated straight into the clinic. 

Patients and the public deserve the same research excellence as in other areas of healthcare, and they will continue to help inform Oxford Health BRC's research at each key step underpinning all activity. The BRC will have a specific focus on ethnicity and diversity with the aim of improving patient participation in research and its relevance to the wider population. Ethnicity and diversity in research is vital and one of the key reasons for reaching out to partners in other centres across the country.

The aim for this BRC is to create a platform, working together with partners across the country, to deliver high quality experimental medicine research on new treatments and procedures to improve lives. The long-term vision is of a UK collaborating network integrating research infrastructure and clinical services to deliver innovation in mental, cognitive and brain health research and care. 

See below for the themes upon which the Oxford Health BRC works, and the leads who are based in the Department of Psychiatry

Oxford Health BRC Sleep logo

Better Sleep 

Exploiting new sleep and circadian science to develop, test and translate innovations to improve health. Sleep and Circadian Disruption (SCRD), where sleep timing is disrupted, is highly prevalent clinically, drives more complex mental and physical illness, and is relevant in, for example, shift work. Work will apply novel science and support innovative trials to improve the health and quality of life of individuals with SCRD.    

Oxford Health BRC Brain Technologies logo

Brain Technologies (Mark Woolrich)

Delivery of brain technologies for use in psychological, psychiatric and brain disorders. It will focus on the scientific/clinical interface to create, and test, accurate tools for measuring brain structure and function to improve risk identification, early diagnosis, outcome prediction and targeted treatments.

Oxford Health BRC Data Science logo

Data Science (Andrea Cipriani, Seena Fazel)

Combining routine and clinical data will lead to the personalised care of individuals with mental health disorders, improving their outcomes and reducing NHS costs. Work will improve the current treatment of mental illness in a one-size-fits-all, trial and error approach to make use of clinical trial data, remote monitoring and long-term outcomes from real-world datasets. Processes, pipelines, clinical models and algorithms will be developed, and refined, to customise and personalise treatment.

Oxford Health BRC Dementia logo

Dementia (Clare Mackay)

Work will aim to preserve cognitive health and prevent cognitive decline by refining cognitive, imaging and blood-based biomarkers at scale in the general population and in people experiencing memory problems. Two major challenges will be addressed: (i) identifying individuals in whom new approved drugs, alongside non-pharmacological interventions, are likely to be beneficial and (ii) developing sensitive, robust measures for earlier diagnosis and clinical trial outcomes.

Oxford Health BRC Depression Therapeutics logo

Depression Therapeutics (Catherine Harmer, Philip Cowen)

Using human neurocognitive models to identify and develop new and improved treatments for depression. Depression is a leading cause of disability with current treatments often leaving patients with incomplete recovery. Animal models have not been able to predict clinical effects so we are developing human neurocognitive models of antidepressant action to allow study of novel, and repurposed, compounds in both healthy and depressed people.

Oxford Health BRC Flourishing and Wellbeing logo

Flourishing and well-being (Ilina Singh, Willem Kuyken)

Investigating how non-clinical environments might be utilised to enhance public health and mental health. Will develop flourishing and evidence-based interventions by understanding the mechanism(s) of action. It will use non-clinical approaches to engage with minoritized populations and groups under-represented in research, support the enthusiasm for “social prescribing” and demonstrate how community resources such as outdoor spaces, public institutions and workplaces could be used to deliver preventative initiatives and mental health interventions.

Oxford Health Mental Heath in Development logo

Mental Health in Development (Cathy Creswell)

Delivering accessible, effective interventions for children, young people, and families. Focusing on how understanding the biological, social, and psychological mechanisms underlying common mental health problems in children and young people can be translated into more targeted, effective and accessible prevention and treatment.

Oxford Health BRC Molecular Targets logo

Molecular Targets (Paul Harrison)

Using the latest advances in “—omics” and biomarkers to identify and validate psychiatric targets.

To identify, and test, new therapeutic targets for psychiatric disorders using genomics and other discovery neuroscience. 
Oxford Health BRC Pain logo


Improving chronic pain through targeted brain-based mechanisms. Chronic pain is one of the largest global health problems. Work will provide the evidence-base for using a brain targeted, and mechanism- based approach, to personalised management and treatment of chronic pain.

Oxford Health BRC Preventing Multiple Morbidities logo

Preventing Multiple Morbidities (Kam Bhui)

Work will reduce premature morbidity and mortality through co-designing interventions for the whole population, plus focused interventions for individuals with mental illnesses. There will be a focus on (i) co-designing and testing policy interventions to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the general population and (ii) designing interventions to help those with mental illness reduce behavioural risks for NCDs by addressing the underlying social and neuropsychological difficulties.

Oxford Health BRC Psychological Treatments logo

Psychological Treatments

Improving patient outcomes by developing new and effective psychological interventions that precisely target the psychological mechanisms of mental health disorders or poor recovery from physical illness.  Blended digital interventions and automated virtual reality therapies will be created that can be accessed by patients from their homes at convenient times and require less input from healthcare staff.

 Find out more on the Oxford Health BRC website