The behavioural neuroscience laboratory are working to find better treatments for severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental disturbances or ‘risk-factors’. Our laboratory models these risk factors in mice to understand at the molecular, physiological and behavioural level how these disturbances contribute to mental health. We use a number of different techniques, including genetic manipulation, mouse behavioural testing, in vivo electrophysiology, molecular biology, histology, and cell culture.
Our goal is to dissect the functional role of genetic and environmental risk factors that are strongly associated with schizophrenia. Through this preclinical work, novel therapeutic targets may be identified. In collaboration with division head and clinician Prof. Sundram, our novel therapeutic targets may then be trialled in patients. Indeed, we are currently initiating two phase 1B clinical trials of novel compounds identified through rigorous preclinical screening. Our team of talented and enthusiastic neuroscientists including post-doctoral fellows, PhD students and Honours students work as a collaborative unit with clinical psychiatrists to achieve our aim of finding effective treatments for psychiatric disorders.