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Mental health researcher receives prestigious gong

The head of QIMR Berghofer’s Mental Health research program, Professor Michael Breakspear, has received a highly prestigious award from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).

The RANZCP awarded Professor Breakspear the 2017 Senior Research Award at a ceremony in Adelaide today. The gong recognises excellence in research in the field of psychiatry.

Professor Breakspear is conducting world-leading research into the way the brain works, both in health and in mental illness.

He and his team use a combination of brain imaging technology, computer modelling, genetics and clinical neuroscience to better understand, predict and diagnose conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“I am greatly honoured to receive this award from the college,” Professor Breakspear said.

“One in five Australians will be affected by Major Depressive Disorder (clinical depression) at some point in their lives. This debilitating disorder can have a devastating impact on people’s ability to function and carry on with their usual, daily activities.

“It also imposes an enormous burden on Australians, with huge economic consequences to society, as well as the direct personal burden on patients and their families.

“My team and I are passionate about finding ways to better detect and diagnose mental illnesses like depression so that thousands of Australians can receive the best possible treatment as quickly as possible.

“It is very humbling to have our work recognised by the RANZCP.”

The RANZCP has congratulated Professor Breakspear.

“We congratulate Professor Breakspear on this award which acknowledges his considerable achievement into research in this important area of mental health,” said RANZCP President, Professor Malcolm Hopwood.

“Research such as this is vital in helping us understand the basic biology of disorders like depression and ultimately improving our capacity to prevent and treat some of the world’s most disabling conditions.”