Studies show that more than half of all Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime. 

From schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, to cancer-related cognitive impairment and depression, our world-leading researchers bring together multiple disciplines, perspectives and approaches to develop new solutions for psychosis, inflammation-associated disorders and stress-related conditions.

Research focus areas
  • Brain development in children and adolescents with schizophrenia
  • Genetics of schizophrenia
  • Causes and biomarkers of schizophrenia
  • Atypical brain development in schizophrenia
  • Role of hormones in schizophrenia
  • New treatments for schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia and depression
  • Impact of inflammation in schizophrenia
  • Genetics and epigenetics of bipolar disorder
  • Rare variants which increase risk to bipolar
  • Cancer–related cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression
  • Autism and neuroinflammation
Why this research matters

Our aim is to help create a world where mental illness is better understood, effectively treated and ultimately prevented.  

Schizophrenia affects one in 100 Australians and roughly 20 million people worldwide. For 70-80 per cent of people with schizophrenia, it is a chronic, lifelong condition. Current treatments for schizophrenia are focused only on alleviating psychosis – just one aspect of the condition, are ineffective in approximately 30 per cent of patients, and often have severe side effects. Our schizophrenia researchers, led by Prof Cyndi Shannon Weickert, are determined to change that by classifying and defining biological subgroups within the diagnosis. Once those biologically informed subgroups are defined, we can develop precision treatments that will be more effective for individuals in those subgroups across the major psychiatric illnesses.  

Bipolar disorder is also a major psychiatric illness, affecting around one per cent of the population worldwide. The condition is characterised by periods of depression and mania, and is sometimes accompanied by psychosis. While no single cause is known, the risk of bipolar disorder is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Our research looks at the role that genes play in how bipolar disorder develops and how it is inherited.

Current research projects