The ENI at University College London (ENI-L for ENI-London) comprises five young investigator groups, funded by 4-10 year fellowships. The group leaders develop their own research programme underpinned by the wider neuroscience environment at UCL. An ´international mix´ among the young investigator group leaders was aimed at.
The initial members of the ENI-L have been selected on the basis of their excel lence and diversity in research and, to promote European collaboration, the rele vance of their research to that of groups in other ENIs. Collaborations between the current ENI-L groups are facilitated by common interests and complementary techni ques, their close physical location on the UCL Bloomsbury campus, and the intensive programme of seminars and journal clubs organised by groups and De partments at UCL.
The ENI-L comprises part of UCL´s commitment to the career de velopment of the neuroscientists of the future, and complements the training provided to younger neuroscience researchers by UCL´s international 4 Year PhD Programme in Neuroscience (which takes approximately 25% of its students from continental Eu rope), its MSc in Neuroscience, and its Marie Curie Training Sites (Department of Physiology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Institute of Mo vement Neuroscience).
UCL is a major centre for Neuroscience world-wide, with over 150 groups researching in Molecular & Cellular, Systems, Developmental, Cognitive, Computational and Clinical Neuroscience, scattered over more than 20 Departments and Institutes. The five ENI-L groups are embedded within the Departments of Phy siology (Häusser, Pedarzani and Silver), Pharmacology (Stocker) and the MRC La boratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB; Goda). The Department of Physiology at UCL is the largest in Britain.
One of the points of strength of the department is its re search record in Neuroscience, spanning from the molecular to the systemic level, including groups working on ion channels and molecular physio logy in the nervous and sensory systems (Ashmore, Attwell, Margrie, Pedarzani), different aspects of calcium signalling in cell biology and development (Bolsover, Du chen, Mobbs, Patel, Richards), synaptic transmission, integration and plasticity in the central nervous system (Attwell, Batchelor, Edwards, Häusser, Margrie, Silver), auditory function (Ashmore, McAlpine), and central control of vege tative functions (Jordan, Spyer).
The Department of Pharmacology is the only De partment in the UK to have been rated in the top category in all four research as sessment exercises to date, and was the top-ranked (5*A) Department in the latest two exercises in 1996 and 2001.
Neuroscience research within the Department is concentrated in two main areas: receptors and re ceptor mechanisms (including ion channels; Brown, Colquhoun, Cull-Candy, Dolphin, Farrant, Gibb, Haylett, Millar, Moss, Sihra, Sivilotti, Smart), and neuropharmacology (Dickenson, Sihra, Stanford).
In 1992, the Wellcome Laboratory for Molecular Phar macology (LMP) was funded as an extension of the Pharmacology Department. The LMP currently houses two teams of Research Scientists headed by two Wellcome Trust Senior Research FP6-2004-LIFESCIHEALTH-5 Coordination Action ENINET Proposal part B, page 15 of 57 Fellows (Schoepfer, glutamate receptor; Stocker, po tassium channels), which study various aspects on the molecular biology of receptors and ion channels.
The LMCB was funded by the Medical Research Council in 1993, and currently occupies around 3,000 sqm of floor space accommodating some 130 bench scientists working in 18 independent research groups. Since 1994, the MRC has supported an innovative, 4year PhD programme (the first in the UK) and this continues to be a major strength and success of the LMCB.