THRED - Transformative Hub for Research into Eating Disorders

THRED is a comprehensive and cutting edge program of research and clinical trials in eating disorders focusing on utilising the latest developments in neuroscience and brain research to generate an evidence base for new approaches to treating eating disorders.


Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions – the most severe being anorexia nervosa. At present, eating disorders impact 70 million individuals worldwide and over 1 million Australians, with the greater percentage of these being women. Each and every day, these conditions are having devastating impacts not only for individuals, but also for their families and friends.

When it comes to treatment, options are severely limited. The current ‘gold standard’ is talk based therapies – most commonly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). But many sufferers don’t find relief from this mainstay treatment, leaving them with no other way forward.

Current treatment focuses on the psychological factors behind eating disorders because they can be most obviously present and we understand those best. But there's another part of the equation that we’ve been completely neglecting. Evidence shows that in addition to psychological factors (personality type, body image disturbances), eating disorders also develop due to biological changes (genes, RNA, proteins). There has been insufficient investment in research to develop treatments that target brain biology and / or to better understand the biological factors that cause eating disorders.

We must invest in breakthrough research today to create change in how we treat eating disorders, more holistically and completely.
THRED is pioneering new biological treatments, and investigating the biological drivers of eating disorders, so we’ll have a whole new avenue of treatment in addition to today’s psychological focus.

Below we present our future ambition to advance eating disorder research further than ever before.

Led by Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, this will be a world-class Hub with the capabilities, expertise, and evidence base to reveal the biological causes of these conditions and deliver new, effective treatments for those struggling with eating disorders.

Jayashri Kulkarni

THRED Research Leader - Professor Jayashri Kulkarni (AM)


To truly shift the dial on eating disorder research, we need a holistic solution. Monash University has a unique capability and track record in mobilising expertise from across its 10 faculties into transdisciplinary, collaborative initiatives – ultimately pioneering solutions to community problems. The new Eating Disorder Research Hub is an engine room at the heart of the University, bringing
together, focusing, and amplifying existing mental health expertise from across the University and clinical partners. This bold, world-first approach is creating an ecosystem that links clinical trials, cutting-edge computer technologies, and laboratory-based sciences.

The Hub has three key pillars working together to deliver both early and long-term impact.


Pillar 1: Deliver new, effective treatments

To help people as soon as possible, we plan to launch clinical trials to test a selection of candidate medications and therapies. Patient samples (e.g. blood tests) taken during these trials will also feed into Pillar 3.

Pillar 2: Enhance current treatments

We also plan to leverage new computer-based technologies to enhance current psychological


Pillar 3: Uncover biological causes

To create long-term, sustainable change, we will use innovative neuroscientific techniques to reveal the biological causes and  characteristics of eating disorders as brain conditions. This would allow us to identify those at risk so we can intervene early, and to deliver better, more targeted treatments. This will also involve using patient samples to create a world-first eating disorder

Please check back shortly for more details on THRED, and our current trials and projects

To find out more about participating in a THRED Treatment Trial - Email us: