The Neuroscience Theme brings together scientists who study the nervous system at all levels, from ion channels to single cells and whole brain areas. It spans a wide range of interests including brain development, motor control, and sensory functions. This Theme promotes research into the healthy nervous system as well as various neurological conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, and stroke.

The human brain is the most intricate structure in the whole known universe. What makes it truly remarkable is its plasticity and ability to structurally rewire and adapt to both physiological and environmental stimuli. So much of how the brain does this is still unknown. Thanks to the rapid expansion of new innovative technology, neuroscience is becoming more accessible with new challenges and further opportunities to explore.

Talitha Kerrigan, Neuroscience Theme Lead

Studying the nervous system, which underpins who we are, has led to significant advances in physiological research. It is also the research arena where we still have a lot to learn, setting a welcome challenge to us in the neuroscience community.

Mark Dallas, Neuroscience Theme Lead

Neuroscience is an exciting field because of the role of the brain in what it is to be human. I have always been drawn to neuroscience particularly from the aspect of when cognitive function is compromised due to disease, as in neurodevelopmental disorders, for example.

David Menassa, Neuroscience Theme Lead

Specialties in this Theme

CRACCardiovascular, respiratory & autonomic
CNCellular neurophysiology
CSCellular signalling
CPComparative physiology
HWHealth and wellbeing
ICIon channels
MCMuscle contraction
NDPNeural Development and plasticity
RespRespiratory physiology
SMCSensorimotor control
SFSensory functions
SSPSomatosensory physiology

Theme Leads

Mark Dallas, Associate Professor in Cellular Neuroscience, University of Reading

My research focuses on understanding cellular mechanisms of disease with a focus on neurodegeneration and the role glial cells play in disease processes. I wished to become Neuroscience Theme Lead for The Physiological Society to represent the neuroscience community and also to gain an insight into the world-leading research carried out by The Physiological Society’s Members outside my area of expertise.

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Talitha Kerrigan, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter

I am an applied neurophysiologist with a special interest in stem cell biology, in particular, the use of induced pluripotent stem cells as a model of neurodegenerative diseases. My research focuses on the role of neuroglia and neuro-inflammation in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I am also interested in the development of new technologies in stem cell research.

I graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc (Hons) in Anatomical Sciences. I subsequently obtained my PhD at the University of Leeds in Neurophysiology. I then took up a postdoctoral position at the University of Bristol investigating the underlying mechanisms of stress and its impact on developing Alzheimer’s disease. I relocated to the University of Exeter where I continued my research on intrinsic mechanisms of excitability at the single cell level.

During my academic career, I have taught a wide range of undergraduate courses and I completed my postgraduate certificate in academic practice (PCAP) in 2015. More recently I was appointed as Lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School.

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David Menassa, Research Fellow, University of Southampton

I am a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and a stipendiary lecturer in neurophysiology and neuroscience at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford. My line of research investigates the role of specific brain immunocompetent cells, known as microglia, in shaping the neurodevelopmental landscape in the human and more importantly, whether/how these cells contribute to pathology in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability.

I was appointed as Theme Lead of Neuroscience in autumn 2018. I wanted to get involved in helping develop Topic Meetings that would allow cross-over between various fields to support neurophysiological research.  Another reason for my interest was that I wanted to reach out to other Members under my Theme as well as funders and the public by writing short pieces on topical issues in neuroscience.

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Useful links


Check out David Menassa’s latest blog for The Society: Treating autism spectrum disorders by targeting connections in the brain



Check out the latest neuroscience news here.

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