Groundbreaking research institute at Denmark Hill
King’s College London on Monday broke ground on an innovative facility that will accelerate neuroscience research, with a goal to fast-track the development of treatments for people suffering from disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy.
The £37 million Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute
, located at the College’s Institute of Psychiatry on its Denmark Hill Campus, will be Europe’s leading research centre focussing on neurological and psychiatric illnesses. It will bring together 250 clinicians and scientists dedicated to researching the mind and brain.
The Institute will facilitate cooperation between researchers across multiple disciplines. By breaking down barriers that can inhibit collaboration, the Institute will advance humanity’s understanding of the molecular, cellular and functional basis of neurological and psychiatric disorders. This in turn will fuel the discovery and evaluation of diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions.
When complete in the spring of 2013, the 7,600-square-metre Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute will allow the College, working as part of King’s Health Partners, to make a step change in the speed of discoveries. The Institute is one of three buildings constructed through the College’s five-year, £500 million World questions|King’s answers
Professor Chris Shaw
, Head of Clinical Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry and Director of the new Institute, said the facility will broaden science’s understanding of the biological processes that lead to neurological disorders, while also developing treatments for head and spinal injuries.
Given the rapidly expanding cost of caring for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions, he said it was essential to create facilities such as the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, which will focus on extending the life of the healthy brain. He noted that one in three people will suffer from a psychiatric or neurological disorder in their lives.
Shaw said the new building has been designed to encourage interaction amongst researchers and clinicians, in both formal and informal settings. He said the Institute will put these people ‘in the same laboratory and in the same cafeteria’. He noted that the staff members who will work in the Institute are currently stationed at 14 different sites across four campuses. ‘So we’re not just dispersed, we’re thrown to the wind.’
The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation made the lead gift for the Institute. The Wolfson Foundation, King’s Medical Research Trust, Maudsley Charity and Garfield Weston Foundation all provided generous support toward the project.
(Images: artist's impressions of the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute. Exterior above and interior below)