Director of MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit appointed

A portrait of Professor Peter Magill.

From 2 January 2023, Professor Peter Magill will lead the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit (MRC BNDU) at the University of Oxford.

The MRC BNDU is one of the leading international research centres exploring neuronal dynamics in health and disease. The MRC BNDU at the University of Oxford aims to understand and exploit the moment-to-moment interactions between nerve cells that are critical for brain function, with a focus on brain circuits underlying movement and memory.

The unit’s research spans clinical, experimental and computational neuroscience, as well as bioengineering, and works towards the collective goal of developing novel therapies for the correction of disturbed circuit interactions arising in disease.

Advance towards breakthrough interventions

Professor Magill commented:

I am delighted to be appointed as Director of the MRC BNDU.

The MRC BNDU is a special community. The unit is making unique contributions to the research and innovation ecosystem, stemming not only from the new knowledge and technologies it generates and shares but also by providing an outstanding environment for training, career development, and engaging the public with medical research.

I look forward to leading the MRC BNDU as we harness in-house expertise and our partnerships with wider academia and industry to advance towards breakthrough interventions that strategically interface with the brain for therapy in neurological and psychiatric disorders.

About Professor Magill

Professor Magill has been an MRC Programme Leader since 2009, taking on the role of interim director for the MRC BDNU in January 2021. Professor Magill has led contiguous MRC-funded research programmes since 2009. He currently sits on both the MRC Neuroscience and Mental Health Board and the Training and Careers Group.

Professor Magill is internationally recognised for his research on the basal ganglia, a network of nerve cells lying deep within the brain that are important for purposeful actions. Peter’s research contributions to improve understanding of basal ganglia has been of great value to improving understanding of wider brain circuitry function, particularly for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Professor Magill played a key role in the creation of the MRC BNDU, and was the unit’s founding Deputy Director from 2015 until 2021. He then acted as Unit Interim Director, fostering sustained excellence and growth in the unit’s fundamental and translational research portfolios.

Outstanding leadership

Professor John Iredale, MRC Executive Chair, said:

I am delighted that Professor Peter Magill has been appointed director of the MRC BNDU.

Peter has been outstanding in his role as interim director, ensuring that the MRC BNDU has continued to deliver crucial insights into the circuitry of the brain, with an emphasis of novel therapeutic development to target disturbed neuronal network dynamics.

I am confident in his strong leadership abilities and look forward to see him implement his vision for the unit over the coming years.

Exciting future

Professor Kevin Talbot, Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) at the University of Oxford, said:

We are delighted that Peter has been appointed as Head of BNDU. He has led the unit with great skill as interim director since the retirement of the founding director Peter Brown.

The MRC BNDU is 1 of the 6 divisions of NDCN and is a world leading facility with a critical mass of scientists focused on understanding how brain circuits malfunction in neurological and psychiatric disorders and how these circuits can be therapeutically manipulated.

Under Peter’s visionary leadership the MRC BNDU has an exciting future as it seeks to tackle some of the most important problems in neuroscience research.

Top image:  Professor Peter Magill. Credit: University of Oxford

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