Dr | Affiliate Researcher
Dr. James Kesby’s research has focused on the dopamine system and its role in addiction, depression, cognition and psychosis. He received his PhD at UQ in 2010 working on how developmental risk factors for schizophrenia alter brain neurochemistry. He then moved to the USA to work with Professor Athina Markou at the University of California San Diego. His work focused on the cognitive outcomes of combined methamphetamine dependence and HIV disease in mice and humans. In 2016, he returned to Australia (with Professor Darryl Eyles at the Queensland Brain Institute) with an Advance Queensland Fellowship in collaboration with Professor James Scott. This work combines human and mouse studies in order to establish a translational platform looking at better ways to model psychosis and cognition in animal models.
2016-2019: Advance Queensland Research Fellow, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Qld, Australia.
2011-2015: Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychiatry, The University of California San Diego, CA, USA.
2010-2011: Research Associate, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Qld, Australia.
Dr Kesby’s research focusses on the development of psychosis and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. He leads a translational research programme featuring parallel studies in rodent models and people with psychosis, focused on the relationship between decision-making deficits and psychosis neurobiology. His cross-disciplinary approach includes detailed behavioural assessments of decision-making alongside computational modelling, and circuit-specific manipulations in rodent models. Using tests of goal-directed action and serial reversal learning in both humans and rodents, his work suggests a more direct link between cognition and psychosis than previously hypothesised. This provides a potential avenue for identifying treatment approaches that alleviate a greater range of symptoms than those currently available.
2020: Senior author for an invited review describing the relationship between subcortical dopamine systems and their contribution to decision-making deficits in schizophrenia.
2018: Developed chronic and binge methamphetamine regimens in mice, demonstrating differing reward and neurochemical profiles based on specific use patterns in humans.
2015: Lead the first human/mouse comparison of methamphetamine and HIV on cognition, showing HIV-associated proteins impair learning and methamphetamine increases susceptibility to cognitive deficits.
2006: Lead the formative study demonstrating that early Vitamin D deficiency in a rodent model leads to a range of behavioural changes associated with psychotic disorders.
2019-Current: Committee member for Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners- Brain & Mental Health Theme Leadership Committee.
2018-Current: Australasian Neuroscience Society
2017-Current: IEPA Early Intervention in Mental Health Inc.
2016-Current: Executive Committee member for Biological Psychiatry Australia
2013-Current: Society for Neuroscience
2014-2015: International Behavioral Neuroscience Society
2010: PhD in Neuroscience, The University of Queensland, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Qld, Australia.
2004: Honours in Physiology and Pharmacology (1A), The University of Queensland, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Qld, Australia.
2003: Bachelor of Science (Double Major: Anatomy and Physiology), The University of Queensland, Faculty of Biological and Chemical Science, Qld, Australia.