- 13 December 2018
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Thursday 13 DecemBER 2018, 4.00 pM
Auditorium, Level 6, Bancroft Building
The volatility theory of schizophrenia
Professor Michael Breakspear,
Head, Mental Health Research,
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
The trade-off between economy and complexity is a fundamental principle of evolution that shapes all biological systems. Although considerable work points to the influence of this process on human brain structure, specific findings and clinical implications have remained elusive. Using computational methods, we studied the robustness of the human brain to physically-constrained ‘mutations’. Minor perturbations of structural brain networks lead to dramatic differences between the ensuing “daughter” networks, a loss of complexity and an increase in wiring cost. These changes mirror those seen in schizophrenia and challenge the notion that it is a unitary disorder, but position it as a consequence and upper bound on the unconstrained growth of human phenotypic variability.
Michael is a psychiatrist with training in mathematics. Since 2009 he has been the Head of Mental Health Research at QIMR Berghofer, a joint appointment with Metro North Mental Health Service. In that time, the Program of Mental Health Research has grown to include a diverse range of approaches, from population health and genetics, to brain imaging, computational modelling and research incorporating molecular biology and neural stem cells. The Program addresses developmental, affective, psychotic and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as neurological conditions such as Parkinson ’s disease, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Links to Metro North have also grown considerably, pursuing a more service-oriented and patient-centred approach. The Program is well positioned to draw from a diverse range of federal and state government funding, industry and philanthropy.
Please join us for refreshments with Michael after the Seminar.
RSVP your attendance using the form below by 5 December 2018 for catering purposes.