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Prestigious honour for QIMR Berghofer scientist

Professor Michael Breakspear, head of QIMR Berghofer’s Mental Health and Complex Disorders Program, has been selected to give the prestigious 2013 Aubrey Lewis Lecture.

The award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of Biological Psychiatry. It is named after the Adelaide-born Aubrey Lewis who was the first Professor of Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, London.

Each year, an outstanding early- to mid-career researcher is selected to give a lecture in his honour.

Professor Breakspear is a psychiatrist who seeks to understand the nature of major mental illnesses, including mood disorders, schizophrenia, autism and dementia. He leads the Systems Neuroscience Group at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

“This is a great honour, and recognition of the quality of the research into mental health disorders underway at QIMR Berghofer,” Professor Breakspear said.

“In particular, this reflects the basic biomedical research into the neurobiological causes of the major psychiatric illnesses that we are undertaking.”

Professor Breakspear will devote the lecture to his work into the structural core of the human brain – a constellation of regions called the “rich club” of the brain – which plays a major role in depression.

This work integrates the emerging field of brain “connectomics” with advanced imaging and brain modelling.

Professor Breakspear will deliver the 2013 Aubrey Lewis Lecture “Dwelling Sadly in the Rich Club: Brain Network Determinants of Self and Mood” at the annual scientific meeting of Biological Psychiatry Australia, held at the Queensland Brain Institute from 31 October – 1 November.