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Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience

Intellectual Context

The Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience research area addresses neuropsychiatric disorders which are major contributors to the global burden of disease and are thus of significant individual and socioeconomic importance. Research in this thematic area develops a scientific understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying these disorders, and the translation of this knowledge into improving clinical diagnosis and enabling effective treatments. This will be accomplished through the development of synergistic interactions between basic and clinical disciplines and collaboration with clinical and industrial partners.

Scientific and Societal Impact

Differential fMRI Study

Significant discoveries have been made in the identification of genetic risk factors, disorder pathogenesis, biomarkers, and biopsychosocial interventions to improve patient care and treatment outcome. Further research impacts are identified in a breadth of areas, including neurodevelopmental, child and adolescent disorders; adult psychosis and affective disorders; disorders of brain aging and neurodegeneration; neuroimmunology; and addictions. These impacts necessitate the development of a biobank of biological samples (e.g. DNA, RNA, protein) from well-characterised diagnostic and control groups, the implementation of new physics/imaging methods from preclinical to clinical MRI scanners to maximise the translational value of MRI research by combining electrophysiology as well as structural and functional MRI methods.

Strategic Research Objectives

Research in the Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience area has several key objectives:

  • Improve the health care of persons with neuropsychiatric disorders by engaging in a fully integrated approach linking basic and clinical biomedical research.
  • Drive innovation and early-stage research and development in areas of unmet clinical need including diagnostics, therapeutics and strategies targeted at disease prevention.
  • Support technology transfer to enable practical applications of research, including drug discovery and development of innovative healthcare products, devices and technologies.
  • Foster clinical translation to fast-track the uptake of research advances into clinical practice.
  • Facilitate development of new drugs, devices, biomarkers, or other alternative therapeutic strategies and new diagnostic or research techniques.
  • Catalyse activity at all stages of translational research to integrate target discovery, experimental preclinical and clinical research.
  • Directly bridge the gap between preclinical models and human research, and build on infrastructural innovations and human capital investments.
  • Collaborate further with industry to strengthen translational research and to access reagents and other high-throughput facilities.