Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert
Senior Principal Research Scientist (Conjoint)
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.
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
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.
Senior Principal Research Scientist (Conjoint)
Research Fellow, Group Leader - Laboratory of Immunopsychiatry, Neuroscience Research Australia
Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption represent a major risk factor for cancer progression and its associated side-effects such as mood disorders and cognitive impairment. Using mouse models of sleep and circadian rhythm disruption of shift workers, we are identifying…
The Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry collaborates closely with the Schizophrenia Research Laboratory at NeuRA. We are investigating the role of astrocytes in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the intersection of antipsychotic treatments with neuroinflammation to…
Cognitive impairment is extremely common among cancer patients and survivors. The Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry has determined that the cancer itself contributes to this using animal models of breast cancer, which may be prevented by the use of anti-inflammatory…
The Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry is determining the role of resident immune cells (microglia) in the pathophysiology of inflammation-induced depression. Using animal models they are determining whether suppressing activation of these cells can prevent or treat…
Bipolar Disorder is a highly heritable mood disorder characterised by oscillating periods of depression and mania. Previous research has established that this illness is accompanied by widespread changes in brain structure and function. However, the causes of these…
The pathophysiology of dopamine dysregulation in schizophrenia involves alterations at the level of the level. Given that inflammatory mediators such as cytokines can influence the functional properties of midbrain dopamine neurons, midbrain inflammation may play a…
A study of men and women between 18 to 70 years of age with a diagnosis of either melancholic or non-melancholic depression to research the extent to which blood biomarkers may be elevated in melancholic and non-melancholic subtypes of depression.
Studying the molecular basis of raloxifene (a SERM) modulation of dopamine signalling in schizophrenia, which uses a maternal immune activation rodent model of schizophrenia to better understand how raloxifene brings about its effects.
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