Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Professor Mark Cunningham

Prof of Neuronal Dynamics


Roles and Responsibilities

RCUK Academic Fellow
Honorary Clinical Research Fellow in Neurophysiology


B.Sc. (Hons) Queen's University Belfast
Ph.D. Bristol University

Previous Positions

Research Assistant (2000-2001) Bristol University
Post-doctoral research fellow (2001-2005) University of Leeds


British Neuroscience Association
The Physiological Society
Society for Neuroscience


Research Interests

What is the basis of neurological and psychiatric disease at the level of the neuronal microcircuit? Can

understanding alterations in this framework aid in the development of novel therapeutic approaches?

These are the over-arching questions that drive the research conducted in my laboratory.

In attempting to address these issues we utilise the ability to record temporally organised oscillating

patterns of population electrical activity in neuronal networks. This activity, also known as the local field

potential (LFP), underlies the electroencephalogram (EEG), and therefore can be viewed a translational

tool spanning both basic and clinical neuroscience.

The ability of the oscillatory activity of groups of neurons to synchronise represents a means by which

various regions of the brain communicate with one another. It is becoming clear that in neuropsychiatric

disease states, disruption of synchrony and/or power for particular frequency bands may underlie aspects

of dysfunction associated with these disorders. In particular, disturbances in particular frequency bands of

these oscillations have emerged as a candidate to explain specific abnormalities observed in these patient


What are the mechanistic features underlying deficits in particular types of neuronal oscillatory activity?

Using a combination of electrophysiological, behavioural and neuroanatomical approaches our aim is to

understand at the synaptic, cellular and network dimension how alterations at various levels translate to

the phenotypic level.

Postgraduate Supervision

Previous students:

Dr Fiona Randall

Dr Roger Whittaker

Dr Matthew Ainsworth

Dr Stephen Hall

Dr Lucy Carracedo

Current students:

Miss Katherine Newling

Miss Georgia Collins

Dr Anais Thouin

Mr Felix Chan

Mr Bonne Haberkost


Previous support from:

Royal Society Research Grant

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust Special Trustees Fund

Lena Teague Bequest Fund

The Wolfson Foundation


Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research

Current support from:

TSB/MRC Biomedical Catalyst Award (with Autifony Therapeutics Ltd)

Wellcome Trust/EPSRC Innovative Engineering for Health (CANDO project)


BMS 2011 The Nervous System and Respiratory Diseases

BMS 3013 Diseases of the Human Nervous system (Module Leader)