Neuroscience and Psychiatry

Theme leaders (Available for student supervision)

David KissaneThanh PhanSuresh Sundram

We provide research and teaching in the field of developmental psychiatry and psychology with a particular focus on child, adolescent and family mental health.

We work in close affiliation with the clinical services provided by the Monash Health Early in Life Mental Health Service.   Our special areas of interest include mental health in children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism and other pervasive developmental disorders, disorders of infancy, attachment, school refusal, trauma, refugees, anxiety and depression.

Prof David W. Kissane, MD is an academic psychiatrist, psycho-oncology researcher and author.  His academic interests include group, couples and family psychotherapy  trials, communication skills training, studies of existential distress,  and the ethics of end-of-life care. He developed a cognitive-existential  model of group therapy for women with early stage breast cancer, which  ameliorated fear of recurrence, and his trial of supportive-expressive  group therapy for advanced breast cancer showed the prevention of  depression alongside improved quality of life. He is best known for his  model of family therapy delivered to ‘at risk’ families during  palliative care, which prevents complicated grief and depression in  bereavement. His work on demoralization as a variation of depression in  the medically ill has preceded interventions to promote meaning-based  coping.

Clinical Trials, Imaging and Informatics - Prof Thanh Phan is an acute stroke specialist and neurologist with clinical and research expertise in stroke thrombolysis, endovascular therapy, and the management of transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and minor stroke. He was integral in setting up the rapid admission pathway for neurology and stroke patients, allowing the Emergency Department to meet their Key Performance Indicators. He is responsible for establishing the Monash TIA Triaging and Treatment (M3T) system, an Australian-first non-admission based cost-saving model of care based on triaging, investigation and treatment in emergency departments with follow-up in TIA clinics. He undertakes ward service at both Clayton and Dandenong campuses, consults at Monash Neurology and in addition runs comprehensive stroke and TIA outpatient clinics. He has unique research expertise in the use of advanced imaging (especially MRI) in the study of cerebrovascular diseases and brain ageing.

Prof Suresh Sundram is the head of Translational Molecular Psychiatry.  The group's research aim is to ultimately develop disease modifying novel treatments for psychotic disorders, in particular, schizophrenia using a broad translational approach.

Epidemiology and Prevention - Prof Amanda Thrift leads large international studies and secondary prevention trials for in stroke. Targeting blood pressure and diabetes management in developing countries is a major focus.

Translational Public Health - A/Prof Dominique Cadilhac leads a number of large projects aimed at improving quality of stroke care in hospitals, telemedicine provision in regional hospitals, as well as the use of behavioural techniques to improve stroke outcome in patients.