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Queensland researchers team up to tackle mental health

Queensland’s key health research institutes have joined forces to advance the understanding of mental disorders and improve outcomes for patients.

The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) have formed the Queensland Mental Health Research Alliance.

QIMR Berghofer Director Professor Frank Gannon said the Alliance would reinforce existing collaborations, identify where research can have a direct impact on specific mental health disorders, and nurture the next generation of clinical researchers.

“The Queensland Mental Health Research Alliance is a crucial pooling of knowledge, to make sure Queensland drives national and international research in this area,” Professor Gannon said.

Mental illness is a leading cause of health related disability in Queensland, as well as a global health challenge.

“This Alliance recognises our organisations’ different strengths and means we can work towards discovering the neurobiological links in mental health disorders which can help develop prevention methods and effective treatments.”

The research portfolios of the three organisations are strongly complementary.

QIMR Berghofer has an outstanding reputation in behavioural genetics, imaging and computations neuroscience, while QBI excels in molecular, cellular and behavioural neuroscience; and disease neurogenetics, and QCMHR is a world leader in fields including mental health policy, epidemiology, animal models, genetics and vocational rehabilitation.

QBI Director, Professor Perry Bartlett, said the Alliance came at an exciting time in neuroscience.

“Over the last decade we have acquired a much deeper knowledge of how brain function is regulated and are now ready to apply it to developing new therapeutics to treat mental ill-health.”

Professor John McGrath, the Director of QCMHR was recently awarded a prestigious NHMRC John Cade Fellowship. The fellowship will help build research capacity in Queensland.
“This is an exciting time in Mental Health Research in Queensland – the new Alliance will allow us to showcase the links between the three institutes and form a solid foundation for future growth,” Professor McGrath said.