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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Centres and Research Units

The Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing contains a number of affiliated Research Units and Centres, outlined in some detail below. Please follow the links to visit dedicated pages for each of our affiliated Centres and Research Units.

Durham Centre for Imaging (DCI)

Durham Centre for Imaging, (formerly DUNIC) has the primary role of encouraging and facilitating research using the University's Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facility. The facility is shared equally between the University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, and is situated at the James Cook University Hospital (JCUH) in Middlesbrough. The Centre organizes regular scientific meetings, facilitates and coordinates in-house and external training, and co-ordinates meetings of facility users for discussions on specific topics.

Centre for Global Infectious Disease (CGID)

Microbial pathogens are major threats to global human health and food security. For example, Neglected Tropical Diseases (19 diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminths) affect a staggering 2.7 billion people. This problem is exacerbated by the rise of drug resistance and a lack of investment in antimicrobial discovery, issues recently highlighted by the World Health Organisation in a report predicting the dawn of a post-antibiotic era. Drawing on expertise at Durham and partner organisations across the biological, chemical and physical sciences we seek to synergize research foci to develop collaborative efforts for the identification and inhibition of novel antimicrobial targets, ultimately leading towards the development of novel therapies and preventative strategies.

Durham Clinical Trials Unit

Durham Clinical Trials Unit (DCTU) was established in 2009, and brings together a pool of academic expertise with a substantial track record of, and current involvement in, clinical trials, clinical studies and trials of other social and health interventions. This involvement includes leading the design, coordination and analysis of clinical studies, assisting a number of NHS organisations within the North of England. DCTU supports researchers in the design and management of high quality clinical trials, including monitoring for regulatory compliance.

Centre for Medical Humanities

The Centre for Medical Humanities addresses an emerging field of enquiry in which humanities and social sciences perspectives are brought to bear upon an exploration of the human side of medicine. We enjoy funding support from the Wellcome Trust as well as other funders for specific projects. These perspectives have a key role to play in analysing our expectations of medicine, and the relationship between medicine and our broader ideas of health, well-being and flourishing.

Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities

The Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities has evolved from the highly successful Gender and Sexuality Research Network based at Durham University. With an active network of scholars comprised of over 50 academic and postgraduate research members of Durham University, the Centre is unique in that its members span the arts, social sciences, health and sciences and taking as its core interest the complex and diverse interrelationships between sex as well as gender and sexualities.

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease

Established in April 2001, the Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease (CHMD) is a University-approved Research Centre that provides a focus for cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and postgraduate education in the history of medicine, health, disease, and medical ethics. It unites staff and postgraduates from the Department of Philosophy and the School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health and has members from several other departments with interests in history of medicine, including Archaeology, Geography, History, and Modern European Languages and Cultures.

Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)

Durham CELLS supports excellence in teaching and research on the ethical, social and regulatory issues raised by the life sciences. We seek to promote the exchange of ideas and the production of high quality scholarship within and beyond the University. Our expertise spans a wide range of academic disciplines, including (but not restricted to) anthropology, biology, law, medicine, philosophy, sociology and theology.

Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit

Since its inception in late 2001, the Wolfson Research Institute has housed one of the foremost UK centres for research in cognitive neuroscience, the Department of Psychology's Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU). Its objective is to study the psychological processes and brain systems underlying a range of human cognitive functions. The work involves the systematic behavioural and psychological study of both normal and brain-damaged volunteers, but in addition it takes advantage of such techniques as functional brain imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), event-related potentials (ERPs) visuomotor performance, eye tracking, biophysiological recording. Where they lead to a convergence of outcomes, these different methodologies, in various combinations, allow progressively stronger conclusions to be reached about the brain processes underlying different aspects of human cognition.

Anthropology of Health Group

The Anthropology of Health Group bridges biological and social anthropology, community medicine, evolutionary medicine, social epidemiology and public health. We work on local, regional and international scales. We aim to advance the interdisciplinary anthropological study of health, to critically debate local and international health issues, and to support impact and outreach activities.

NIHR Research Design Service North East (external NIHR webpage)

The Research Design Service is part of the infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The RDS NE is one of several regional services around the country making up the national RDS. The RDS provides help to investigators preparing research proposals for submission to national peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research. Priority is given to those applying to NIHR funding bodies. It comprises a team of experienced researchers based in universities and the NHS across the North East, able to advise and provide methodological and practical advice when you are developing your grant application. As the RDS is funded by the NIHR for this purpose, this advice and support is provided free of charge.

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action is a research centre at Durham University, made up of academic researchers from a number of departments and disciplines and community partners. Our aim is to promote and develop research, teaching, public/community engagement and staff development (both within and outside the university) around the broad theme of social justice in local and international settings, with a specific focus on participatory action research.

Centre for Death and Life Studies

The Centre exists to foster and conduct research into life-values, beliefs, and practices that relate to living and dying. It seeks to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary approaches wherever possible between the humanities, the social and life-sciences and medicine. It also benefits from the support of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study.

Durham Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory

The Durham Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory is a biological facility located at the Wolfson Research Institute, Queen's Campus, Stockton. Developed by the Department of Anthropology, the laboratory is designed to conduct interdisciplinary research into endocrine biomarkers in the domains of stress, reproductive ecology, obesity and health. This unique research facility is founded by members of the Medical Anthropology Research Group (MARG) to support a wide range of novel anthropological and health-related research projects and collaborations.

Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA)

Based within the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA) is dedicated to improving knowledge about interpersonal violence and abuse and to improving professional and societal responses. As such, the Centre has research impact at its core. Professors Westmarland and Hackett both have backgrounds in the voluntary sector – working towards ending violence and abuse in society – and this is a driving force in the work of CRiVA. The Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse was launched by joint directors Professor Nicole Westmarland and Professor Simon Hackett in June 2013.

Critical Studies Group

We believe traditional approaches to business often play down key issues such as power, control, cultural representations of business, environmentalism, identity, gender, agency and voice. So we challenge conventional thinking, tackling management issues by applying a range of critical theories. Our work encompasses all management disciplines including HRM, finance, accounting and marketing, across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The Parent-Infant Sleep Lab

The Parent-Infant Sleep Lab is a Department of Anthropology and Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Research Centre based at Queen’s Campus and affiliated with the Wolfson Institute for Health and Wellbeing. It is the home for a group of researchers examining various aspects of infant and child sleep and parenting behaviour. The lab itself was opened in 2000, while the research programmes it houses have been in operation since 1995. The Sleep Lab provides opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to become involved in our research, and we welcome enquiries for short and long-term internships and placements. As our research team has grown our research focus has broadened to cover infant and child sleep ecology, sleep development, sleep safety, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parental sleep, night-time infant care, feeding practices, thermal care and infant thermoregulation during sleep, twin infant sleep behaviour and physiology, postnatal ward environments and maternal-infant sleep, cross cultural infant care practices, and the evaluation of interventions affecting parental and infant sleep. We collaborate with academics from a wide range of disciplines around the world, and with a variety of research users. We created and run the Infant Sleep Info Source website ( for parents and health professionals in order to make academic infant sleep research findings available to parents and health professionals.