The BRIGHT Project - Brain Imaging for Global Health

The BRIGHT Project

Professor Clare Elwell, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, UCL will deliver this lecture entitled 'The BRIGHT Project - Brain Imaging for Global Health'.

Clare Elwell is a Professor of Medical Physics in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at University College London (UCL). She obtained her BSc. in Physics with Medical Physics in 1988 from the University of Exeter, where she also completed her MPhil (1991). She gained a PhD from UCL in 1995 describing the application of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measurements of brain oxygenation and blood flow. She is Director of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy Research Group in the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory at UCL and holds honorary positions at University College London Hospital, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Essex and Birkbeck, University of London. She develops novel optical techniques based on NIRS for monitoring and imaging the human brain across a range of clinical and life science applications. Her research projects include studies of infant brain development, autism, acute brain injury in adults, children and infants, sports performance, migraine and malaria.

In collaboration with the MRC International Nutrition Group she piloted the feasibility of NIRS as a neuroimaging technique to investigate the impact of malnutrition and other risk factors on infant brain development in rural Gambia. This work resulted in the first functional brain imaging of infants in Africa, and led her to establish the Globalfnirs initiative ( to support the application of NIRS in global health projects. She currently leads the Brain Imaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is developing brain function for age curves for Gambian and UK infants from birth to 24 months of age. The aim of BRIGHT is to provide early markers of atypical development which can be used to inform targeted interventions to improve long term neurocognitive outcome in infants exposed to early life adversity.

She is a founder member and President of the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy, and President of the London International Youth Science Forum. She is Founder and Trustee of the charity Young Scientists for Africa (YoSA,

Professor Peter Piot will open the seminar.


Free and open to all. Entry is on a first come, first serve basis.