Her Majesty and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will be given a tour of the Centre, which houses a combination of neuroimaging equipment unique in Europe.
The tour will include the opportunity to view Europe’s most powerful brain scanner, the Siemens 3 Tesla Connectom MRI system, a specially adapted MRI scanner of which there is only one other in the world at Harvard University in the USA.
It will enable researchers to study tissue microstructure in incredibly fine detail. The scanner’s power is such that it has been described as the Hubble space telescope of neuroscience.
Scientists at the Centre will seek to provide unprecedented insights into the causes of neurological and psychiatric conditions such as dementia, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, as well as understanding the workings of the normal, healthy brain.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “We are honoured to welcome Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to open the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre.
“This will be a fitting occasion for a facility that is not only significant for the University, but for Wales, the UK and Europe.
“The research here has the potential to unlock some of the secrets of the brain and significantly contribute towards treatments for neurological and psychiatric conditions.”
Professor Derek Jones, Director of Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, said: “This is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work by many people over several years and I would like to thank everyone who played their part in creating this remarkable facility.
The combination of the very best staff in their field and some of the most powerful scanners in the world has the potential for breakthroughs that could make a real difference to people’s lives around the world
“The combination of the very best staff in their field and some of the most powerful scanners in the world has the potential for breakthroughs that could make a real difference to people’s lives around the world. It will be a very special day for us all and a real honour to share it with Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.”
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will be invited to view brain imaging procedures and see pupils from a local school take part in a series of activities to illustrate the power of the brain.
A specially commissioned sculpture created by PhD student Gemma Williams from the University’s School of Psychology will also be unveiled.
The new facility has been part-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Welsh Government and the Wolfson Foundation.
Together, these investments are supporting innovation in world-class brain imaging research, including the creation of highly-skilled research jobs in Wales. More than £27m of the cost has been provided by funders. CUBRIC has been designed by global architecture and technology practice IBI Group and built by construction firm BAM. It will be four times larger than the University’s existing brain research imaging facilities.
The University is home to some of the world’s leading experts in brain mapping, neuroscience, clinical research and genetics, and is widely recognised for its research excellence in this area.
The opening kick starts the University’s Summer of Innovation, a celebration of the University’s innovative work which will bring people together from academia and industry to build and strengthen connections and partnerships.