The Neurosciences Research Domain (NeRD) aims to understand neural structure and function in normal conditions and disease, using a multidisciplinary and integrative approach, from fundamental to clinical studies. Our scientists strive to comprehend how complex neural circuits work, how these are shaped and reshaped during life by different environmental factors and how this drives behaviour. Also, we are focused on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms implicated in several neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as in evaluating the interplay between the nervous and the immune systems.
Our strategy is to link fundamental and clinical research to understand disease mechanisms better and identify novel therapeutic opportunities. To achieve this, we benefit from a vast logistic infrastructure (labs and equipment) and a team of scientists with a broad spectrum of backgrounds (biochemists, molecular biologists, statisticians, mathematicians, biomedical and electronic engineers, psychologists, veterinaries, pharmacists and MDs from neurology, neuroradiology, psychiatry, internal medicine, endocrinology, surgery, neonatology, paediatrics and medical genetics), thus allowing a multimodal approach to the research questions under study. The team works together in a variety of projects that address the neurobiological basis of behaviour (genes, cells and circuits), neurodevelopment, neuroimmunology, neurodegeneration, neural regeneration and novel therapeutic approaches, benefiting from a fully equipped animal behaviour facility, optogenetics and electrophysiology core, biophotonics, fMRI and neurofeedback.
The NeRD provides a vibrant environment for training and career development for its researchers, relying on the continuous effort to find the best compromise between individual interests and independence, and collaborative work. Importantly, the close interplay with the Clinical Academic Center (2CA-Braga) allows bridging, within the same infrastructure, molecular, cellular and preclinical work to clinical applications. In this way, we hope to take part in the fantastic challenge of contributing to a better understanding of the Nervous System in health and disease to improve its functioning.