Research Advisory Council

The purpose of the Research Advisory Council is to provide advice to the Psychosis Australia Trustees on matters relating to research into schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and related disorders. Functions of the Research Advisory Council include:

I. Assessing the merits of particular research programs and activities being conducted in Australia;
II. Monitoring the progress of any research related activities funded or partially funded by the Trust;
III. Making recommendations to the Trustees in relation to providing funding for particular research-related activities or programmes;
IV. Reporting to the Trustees on the activities and the findings of the Research Advisory Council.

Professor Patrick D. McGorry AO, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRANZCP (Chair)


Patrick-D-McGorry

Patrick D. McGorry is Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and Director of Orygen Youth Health and Orygen Youth Health Research Centre in Victoria, Australia. Prof McGorry received his medical degree from the University of Sydney and his doctorates from Monash University and the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. He is a world-leading clinician, researcher, and reformer in the areas of early psychosis, early intervention and youth mental health. Prof McGorry’s work has played an integral role in the development of safe, effective treatments and innovative research involving the needs of young people with emerging mental disorders, notably psychotic and severe mood disorders. The result has been the creation, evaluation and upscaling of stigma-free, holistic and recovery oriented models of care for young people and their families. The work of Prof McGorry and key research colleagues at EPPIC and Orygen has influenced health policy in Australia and many other countries and he has advised governments and health systems in many jurisdictions.

Prof. McGorry has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers and reviews, over 50 book chapters, and has edited 6 books. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Australian Government Centenary Medal in 2003, the Founders’ Medal of the Australian Society for Psychiatric Research in 2001 and he was the 2010 Australian of the Year. Prof McGorry serves as Editor-in-Chief of Early Intervention in Psychiatry and is a founding board member of the Australian National Youth Mental Health Foundation: headspace, of Headstrong; the National Youth Mental Health Foundation of Ireland, and past-president and treasurer of the International Early Psychosis Association. He has been a member of the National Advisory Group on Mental Health Reform for the Federal Government and of the Victorian Mental Health Reform Council.

As well as his contributions to the field of early psychosis and youth mental health, Professor McGorry has interests in refugee mental health, youth suicide, youth substance use and the treatment of emerging personality disorder.

Professor Christos Pantelis MB BS, MD, MRCPsych, FRANZCP


Professor-Christos-Pantelis

Professor Christos Pantelis is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Foundation Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Scientific Director of the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre at The University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health. Prof Pantelis holds an Honorary Professorial Fellow position at the Florey Institute for Neuroscience & Mental Health and heads the Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit at Sunshine Hospital. He leads a team of over 80 staff, researchers and students that have been undertaking neuroimaging and neuropsychological work in schizophrenia and psychosis, and other psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders since 1993 in Australia. His work has focused on brain structural and functional changes during the transition to psychosis. His group was the first to describe progressive brain structural changes at psychosis onset, with a seminal paper published in The Lancet in 2003. He has published over 380 papers and chapters, including papers in high-profile international psychiatry, neurology, radiology and medical journals.  He published one of the first books on the neuropsychology of schizophrenia, a recently published book on “Olfaction and the Brain” and a book on “The Neuropsychology of Mental Illness”. He has established a unique resource of over 5,000 multimodal brain scans in patients with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders, including longitudinal imaging. Recent work focuses on early developmental disorders, including children with schizotypal features and autism.

A University of Melbourne graduate, Professor Pantelis undertook psychiatric and research training in London. He won Travelling Fellowships from the UK and undertook imaging research at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington in 1992. After returning to Australia in 1992 he established a research unit at the Mental Health Research Institute. He was subsequently appointed to Associate Professor with The University of Melbourne and established an active research and clinical facility (Cognitive Neuropsychiatry Research & Academic Unit) at Sunshine Hospital in 2000. His neurobiological work in schizophrenia formed the basis of his doctoral (MD) thesis, which was awarded in 2005.

Professor Pantelis was appointed to the Foundation Chair in Neuropsychiatry in 2004 and has established the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre. He has won a number of NHMRC grants, including recent international collaborative EU-NHMRC grants and is a CI on a national NHMRC Enabling Grant to establish the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB). He was co-Chief Investigator on a NHMRC Program Grant, which commenced in 2005 (2005-2009: $7.4 million) and focuses on the neurobiology of emerging severe mental illness during late brain development. This grant was refunded for a further 5 years commencing (2009-2013: >$10 million). He is an investigator on a $23 million CRC grant examining biomarkers in neurodegenerative and psychotic disorders. In 2003 he won the Selwyn-Smith Medical Research Prize of The University of Melbourne for his work on progressive brain changes in early psychosis and, most recently, he was highly commended in the 2009 Victorian Minister of Health Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Mental Health. He was awarded an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship, which commenced in 2010. He was awarded a 2011 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (US). He was awarded the international 2012 Robert-Sommer Award from the Justus Liebig University School of Medicine, Germany.

He was a Board Member Board Member of the NSW Schizophrenia Research Institute (2004-2010) and past Board Member of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria (2004-2008), and member of the Scientific Advisory Councils of Neurosciences Victoria (since 2006) and the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health (since 2010).   He is also a member of various national and international advisory boards and committees on cognition in psychosis, neuroimaging in psychiatry, and drug treatments in schizophrenia. He is on the Editorial Boards of Australian & NZ Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, International Review of Psychiatry, Acta Neuropsychiatrica, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Research, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Biological Psychiatry, Neuroimage Clinical, Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, and Psychiatriki.

Professor Cynthia Shannon Weickert BA MPhil PhD


Professor-Cynthia-Shannon-Weickert

Macquarie Group Foundation Chair of Schizophrenia Research
Faculty – School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales

This is a joint position between Schizophrenia Research Institute, the University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia.

Prof Cyndi Shannon Weickert is dedicated to help those suffering from schizophrenia. Prof Shannon Weickert obtained a BA in Biology and Psychology from Keuka College in upstate New York. She earned a PhD in Biomedical Science from Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City. Prof Shannon Weickert spent the next 11 years in the Intramural Research program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Washington DC. In 2006, she became a Professor at the University of New South Wales.

Currently, Prof Shannon Weickert leads a translational research program that uses insight from the molecular and cellular neurodevelopment of schizophrenia to design and test novel treatments for people with schizophrenia.

Her work has broad impact beyond psychiatry including examining molecular mechanisms by which hormones and growth factors cooperate to control gene expression and experimental examination of how sex hormones impact social development in adolescence. She has made pivotal contributions to the conceptualization of schizophrenia as a neurodevelopmental disorder and is best known for her pioneering work on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and estrogen receptor.

Professor Jayashir Kulkarni MBBS, MPM, FRANZCP, PhD.


Professor-Jayashir-Kulkarni

Jayashri Kulkarni is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) – one of Australia’s largest and most innovative centres for clinical mental health research.

Professor Kulkarni is internationally recognised for her expertise in the treatment of mental illness, particularly in women’s mental health. She has pioneered the use of estrogen as a treatment in schizophrenia and has developed many other innovative treatments for mental illnesses.

Jayashri completed her MBBS degree in 1981 at Monash University and worked mainly in Emergency Medicine before deciding to specialise in Psychiatry. She became a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 1989 and was awarded a PhD from Monash University in 1997 for her thesis “Women and Psychosis”.

Jayashri is a passionate advocate of patient-focused mental health research. With more than a third of mental illness sufferers not responsive to current treatments, she believes there is an urgent need for investment in clinical psychiatry research so as new and effective treatments for mental illness can be developed. She is a regular media commentator on mental health related issues.

The aim of Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre is to develop new treatments, new understanding and new service deliveries for people with mental illness. It is a world leader in the translation of cutting edge neuroscience discoveries into innovative, life-changing treatments for people with mental illness.

Professor John McGrath AM, MBBS, MD, PhD, FRANZCP


John-McGrath

John McGrath is the Director of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and conjoint Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. His research aims to generate and evaluate nongenetic risk factors for schizophrenia.  He has forged productive cross-disciplinary collaborations linking risk factor epidemiology with developmental neurobiology. In addition, he has supervised major systematic reviews of the incidence, prevalence and mortality of schizophrenia. He has won several national and international awards including the Premier’s Award for Medical Research, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency, the Organon Senior Research Award, and the Founders’ Medal from the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research. In 2007 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). He is an Associate Editor for Schizophrenia Bulletin, and is on the editorial boards of several international journals. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles.

 

Professor Julio Licinio M.D., FRANZCP


Professor-Julio-Licinio

Professor Licinio is Deputy Director for Translational Medicine and Head, Mind and Brain Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Strategic Professor of Psychiatry, Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. He is also a Research Professor at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. He was previously Professor and Director, John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University (ANU), and head of the Department of Translational Medicine (2009-2013). Professor Licinio is originally from Brazil and lived for over 25 years in the United States, where he had clinical and research training in endocrinology and psychiatry at University of Chicago, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Cornell. Professor Licinio is recognised internationally as a leader in translational research in depression and obesity. He has conducted depression research for over 20 years at Yale, NIH, UCLA, University of Miami and at the ANU, with key leadership positions in those institutions. He is also current and founding Editor of three Nature Publishing Group journals, Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.668, number 1 worldwide), The Pharmacogenomics Journal (Impact Factor 4.536) and Translational Psychiatry. Professor Licinio’s translational and genomics research spans the lab and clinic examining obesity, depression, and their interface.

Professor Michael Berk


Prof-Michael-Berk

Michael Berk is currently appointed as Alfred Deakin Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Deakin University, is Director of the IMPACT Strategic Research Centre at Deakin University, and is also a Professorial Research fellow at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Psychiatry, the Centre for Youth Mental Health, Orygen Research Centre and the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health. His predominant interests include risk factors for and prevention of mood disorders, and the discovery and implementation of novel therapies. He is past President of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders and the Australasian Society of Bipolar Disorders.

Professor Berk has published over 400 papers on a range of topics. His research interests include mood and psychotic disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and depression. He has published over 20 self-initiated, non-industry randomised controlled trials, predominantly in bipolar disorder. He is a past committee member of both the Collegium.

Internationale Psychopharmacologicum and World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, and is a member of a number of international advisory boards. He was the founding editor of The Journal of Depression and Anxiety, is associate editor of both the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry and Early Intervention in Psychiatry, and has served as guest editor or is on the editorial board of 12 other journals as well as being a reviewer of 30 journals.

Professor Berk is the recipient of a number of grants, including a USA National Institutes of Health R34, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres of Clinical Research Excellence grant, NHMRC project beyondblue and Stanley Medical Research Institute awards, and is a lead investigator on the Centres of Research Excellence grant for Mental Health. He is regularly invited as a speaker at international meetings.

Professor Philip Mitchell AM MB BS (Hons I), MD, FRANZCP, FRCPsych


Professor-Philip-Mitchell

Philip Mitchell AM, is Scientia Professor and Head of the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; Consultant Psychiatrist, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney; Director, Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Black Dog Institute, Sydney; Board Member of the Black Dog Institute; and Board Member of the Anika Foundation for Adolescent Depression and Suicide, Sydney.

His research and clinical interests are in bipolar disorder and depression, with a particular focus on: predictors of the development of bipolar disorder in at-risk individuals; molecular genetics of bipolar disorder; pharmacological and psychological treatments for bipolar disorder and depression; clinical phenomenology of bipolar disorder and depression; and stimulatory therapies for depression. Professor Mitchell has published (in conjunction with colleagues) over 400 peer-reviewed papers or book chapters on these topics.

In 2002 Prof. Mitchell was awarded the Senior Research Award of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP. In the 2010 Australia Day honours list Professor Mitchell was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to medical education, particularly in the field of psychiatry, as an academic, researcher and practitioner.

Professor Vera Morgan BA Adel., DipEd Melb., MSocSc S.Aust., PhD W.Aust.


Professor-Vera-Morgan

Professor Vera Morgan is Head of the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit in the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences at The University of Western Australia and Deputy Director/Operational Epidemiologist of its Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry. She is a psychiatric epidemiologist with a special interest in the epidemiology and aetiology of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, using both record-linkage methodology and survey methods. She was Convenor: Technical Advisory Group for the Australian Government National Survey of High Impact Psychosis and the National Project Director. Her professional roles have included President: Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research, Vice-President: Australasian Epidemiological Association, Chair: Research Committee of the Mental Health Council of Australia and Member: The University of Western Australia Senate.