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CharLIE Stagg: Developing world-class human neurophysiological resources at Oxford


I’m Charlie Stagg, I work in the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroscience, which is based up the hill between the John Radcliffe and the Warneford Hospitals. I got some funding from the John Fell Fund and the Wellcome ISSF to set up a new laboratory at OHBA, which is the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, which is on the Warneford site.

What neurophysiological resources did Oxford need, and why?

Oxford’s a world-leading centre for neuroimaging, we also have fantastic facilities for non-invasive brain stimulation. However, most of our brain stimulation labs are down the hill, in Experimental Psychology, and our imaging facilities are up the hill, and that meant that we weren’t able to combine those two modalities.

What did John Fell Fund and Wellcome ISSF allow you to do?

We initially got funding from the John Fell Fund, and that allowed us to set up from scratch the essential kit we needed to do non-invasive brain stimulation right in the heart of our neuro-imaging. And it allowed us to retain a research assistant for a year to set that up and make sure that it worked. We then applied to the Wellcome ISSF to support that funding and were lucky enough to get that, and what that allowed us to do was then really develop a state of the art facility.

What benefits have the new resources brought?

So we’re now able to do very detailed studies in our clinical populations that we just couldn’t do before. We’re getting a lot of new collaborations and a lot of new interest in using these facilities across the wider community.

Have these resources helped you to secure further funding?

Having the funding from the John Fell and the ISSF has been fantastic, we’ve set up a really state of the art lab that’s allowed us to collect pilot data which has formed the basis of a number of grant applications. Most of those are still ongoing, but we’ve just received just over £650,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to develop a new type of non-invasive neuro-modulation that just wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t had the facilities in place.