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What is neuroscience?



At its most basic, neuroscience is the study of the nervous system – from structure to function, development to degeneration, in health and in disease. It covers the whole nervous system, with a primary focus on the brain. Incredibly complex, our brains define who we are and what we do. They store our memories and allow us to learn from them. Our brain cells and their circuits create new thoughts, ideas and movements and reinforce old ones. Their individual connections (synapses) are responsible for a baby’s first steps and every record-breaking athletic performance, with each thought and movement requiring exquisitely precise timing and connections.

Human brains have 86 billion neurons (8.6 x 1010); neuroscientists investigate how these connect with each other and with other parts of the nervous system and the rest of the body. King’s Neuroscience seeks to understand the brain in health and disease. We want to find out how our nervous systems develop, and what can go wrong. Combining different approaches with new technologies, we lead research into treatments for diseases and disorders affecting the nervous system. We focus on key conditions affecting the nervous system, from childhood epilepsy through to Alzheimer’s disease.

King’s Neuroscience also leads the world in pioneering imaging techniques – our researchers have access to facilities that can image from a single synapse to whole people. This neuroimaging supports our world-leading research as we investigate how our brains make us who we are.

Our key areas of neuroscience research:

  • Genes, and how they are affected by our environment.
  • Brain cells - how are different types of brain cells formed in the correct place at a specific time? How do different cells process the information they receive?
  • Brain circuits – how do the brain cells connect with each other? What are the roles of neurons and glial cells (neuroglia) and how can they change function?
  • Computational neuroscience – using mathematical models to understand the behaviour of individual neurons and whole networks within the brain.
  • Healthy humans – how can we support people to stay healthy? What can we learn about the healthy brain that will improve treatment for patients?
  • Clinical research – how are patients affected by diseases and disorders? What can we do to improve their treatment? How do we ensure discoveries in laboratories make a real difference to patients with brain and nervous system disorders?

Explore our research

Our research

Our research

Leading the world in understanding brain function and finding new treatments for patients



World-class neuroscience facilities, including MRI, neuroimaging equipment, and King's Brain Bank



Specialist neuroscience centres, world-leading in understanding the brain at all stages of life

News and events

Suffrage science

7 September 2020

The Suffrage Science Awards

The Suffrage Science awards, curated by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, celebrate…