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$2.2m donation to create next-generation mental health research facility at Monash

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14 July 2017

A donation of $2.2m from the David Winston Turner Endowment Fund (DWTEF), supported by $1m from Monash University, will establish BrainParkTM, a cutting-edge clinical research platform at the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN).

BrainParkTM will be the world’s first research facility to offer lifestyle and technology-based interventions for compulsive disorders including addictions and Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD).BrainPark 1.png

In 2015, the DWTEF made a $5.25m gift towards the mental health research at Monash led by Professor Murat Yücel, MICCN’s Addiction Program Lead. With this support, Professor Yücel and his team have built a comprehensive program utilising virtual-reality based immersive environments for researching and treating OCD.  The program is also researching novel brain stimulation, brain training and lifestyle-based interventions for people who experience compulsions.

The Trustees’ commitment to funding the establishment of a new and purpose-built facility dedicated to the clinical translation of research outcomes is testament to the strong partnership established between Professor Yücel’s team and the DWTEF.

“The excellence of the clinical research facility enabled by DWTEF will be evident when BrainParkTM opens its doors,” said Professor Yücel. “Our goal is to engage people in new, accessible, and effective interventions that will empower them to help themselves. We will do this by using the latest thinking in brain research to help people create healthier habits, lifestyles and lives. We are thankful that the Trustees of DWTEF believe in our vision.”

MuratYucel Pictured: Professor Murat Yücel

A key differentiating aspect of BrainParkTM is the radical departure from the traditional research lab and clinical treatment environment. People who come to BrainParkTM will be immersed in an interactive, creative and energising environment, removing many of the traditional barriers to engagement for participants in clinical interventions.

“At MICCN, we are driven by the relentless pursuit of knowledge and clinical translation to improve the human condition. The generous donation from the DWTEF will enhance MICCN’s reputation as a leader in innovative and impactful cognitive and clinical neuroscience research,” said Professor Kim Cornish, MICCN Executive Director. “The platform will encourage and enable further collaboration with industry and international partners. As public research funding becomes increasingly difficult, we are extremely grateful to have the support of philanthropic bodies such as the DWTEF to fund high-quality essential research that will lessen the burden of mental health disorders on our society.”

“As the platform grows, we will be looking to extend beyond addiction and compulsive disorders, with the potential to explore other neurological and medical conditions. We will also maintain strong collaborations with clinical partners, further enhancing our holistic approach,” said Professor Yücel.

Monash University has partnered with Splinter Society as the lead architect in the design and construction of BrainParkTM, with completion expected in mid 2018.BrainPark 2.png

For more information on BrainParkTM and Professor Yücel’s research, please contact Susan Waterer, MICCN Communications Manager, on t: 03 9903 4506 e: miccn@monash.edu.

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