Current clinical research studies
The Brain & Mind Research Institute regularly recruits members of the community to participate in our clinical research. If you meet the following prerequisites and are interested in helping with our research in this way then we would love to hear from you.
Area of clinical research
Led by the Parkinson's disease Research Clinic.
Functional MRI for freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease
This study is looking for both patients who do and do not experience freezing, as well as healthy people who do not have Parkinson's disease. The study involves having a couple of MRI scans whilst performing a virtual reality task. This study is supported by a grant from the Michael J Fox Foundation. For further details please contact: Dr Mac Shine - +61 9351 0702,
Sleep-Wake Disturbances in Parkinson's disease
Supported by a grant from the NHMRC. This study is looking for patients with all stages of Parkinson's disease with complaints of sleep disturbance. The study involves spending 3 evenings over the space of a couple of weeks in the BMRI sleep laboratory. For further details please contact: Dr Zoe Terpening - +61 2 9351 0750 - .
Cognitive Training in Parkinson's disease
This study is looking for patients with Parkinson's disease who feel that they are having problems with their memory. The study involves a 7 week program of 'brain exercises' at the BMRI twice a week aimed at improving your memory. For further details please contact: A/Prof Sharon Naismith - +61 2 9351 0702 - .
COPS: Circadian rhythms and sleep in neurodegenerative disease
We are looking for people 45 years and over with any of the following mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia or late life depression to participate in various studies relating to sleep in older adults. For further details please contact Dr Zoe Terpening. E: T: +61 2 9351 0750
The Healthy Brain Ageing Cognitive Training program is a comprehensive clinical assessment and intervention program for people over the age of 50 who have noticed changes in their memory and other thinking functions. It includes a medical and neuropsychological assessment, a brain scan and a 7-week group-based treatment program that incorporates both education as well as computer-based brain exercises, otherwise known as cognitive training. Education is provided by trained Clinical Neuropsychologists A/Prof Sharon Naismith and Dr Keri Diamond as well as Old Age Psychiatrist Dr Louisa Norrie, Clinical Psychologist Dr Samantha Fearns and Chronobiologist A/Prof Naomi Rogers. Data from this program to-date suggests that it is associated with a significant improvement in memory. This study aims now to determine whether improvements in performance generalize to other areas of social functioning and to evaluate the mechanisms underlying the changes observed in the brain. The results of this study will inform models of neuroplasticity and will help to inform the timing and delivery of such early intervention programs. This study is looking for people who feel that they are having problems with their memory. The study involves a 7 week program of 'brain exercises' at the BMRI twice a week aimed at improving your memory. For further details please contact: A/Prof Sharon Naismith - +61 2 9351 0702 - .
This study aims to evaluate whether changes in sleep-wake functions are associated with mood and cognitive decline in older people with depression and/or cognitive impairment. The study includes a neuropsychological and medical assessment as well as overnight assessments in the state-of-the art chronobiology and sleep laboratories. It is anticipated that findings of this study will inform our understanding of the potentially critical role of sleep in neurodegenerative diseases and will hopefully lead to targeted interventions for sleep-disturbance. Supported by a grant from the NHMRC, this study is looking for people who are having problems with their memory or maybe affected by dementia. For further details please contact: Dr Zoe Terpening - +61 2 9351 0750 - .
Internet Interventions – Men with Depressive Symptoms and Sleeping Difficulties
The SOMNA Study is a clinical trial looking to recruit men aged 50 years and over who are experiencing symptoms of depression and insomnia. The study involves free psychiatric assessment, individualised care plans and treatment for participants. Whilst receiving treatment for their mood, participants will also be randomised to complete one of two internet programs, each lasting nine weeks and each focusing on sleep problems and insomnia.
For further information, please contact:
Professor Nick Glozier, Nicole Cockayne or Amelia English
T +61 2 9114 4002
This Bupa Health Foundation funded study will examine a sub-set of participants from the Beyond Ageing Project, a large community-based study. It will be a selective prevention trial to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids and antidepressant medication can reduce or prevent depressive symptoms and/or cognitive decline in older adults at risk for depression. The study will include sophisticated brain scanning techniques and will follow people up longitudinally to determine whether these agents have any capacity to protect the brain from the effects of depression or other inflammatory and immunological changes that may contribute to cognitive decline and dementia. For further details please contact: A/Prof Sharon Naismith - +61 2 9351 0702 - .
The Autism Clinic for Translational Research is carrying out studies focused on the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. These studies involve a variety of activities including diagnostic assessments, group and individual therapy, and medical treatments like Oxytocin.
If you are interested in learning more or participating in one of these studies, please consider filling in this online survey (which will take around 15 minutes) to become part of our research register, so we can contact you when we are conducting a study you might be suitable for.
Led by the Social Cognition and Behavioural Treatment Clinic.
If you are between 12 and 65 years of age and currently experience social anxiety (extreme shyness), you are invited to participate in a trial which will involve individual and/or group therapy. E: T: +61 2 9351 0887; +61 2 9351 0528
For detailed information on the current chronobiology and sleep clinical research, please refer to the Chronobiology & Sleep Group webpage. Current studies include:
- Circadian & sleep wake disturbances in psychiatry
- Circadian & sleep wake disturbances in schizophrenia
- Circadian & sleep wake disturbances in neuro-degenerative disorders
- Sleep-wake patterns across the ages
- Post cancer fatigue
Study examining why people have headaches
We are seeking volunteers with and without migraine to undergo brain scans (MRI) to measure changes in the brain related to migraine. We are looking for differences between people who have migraines and those who do not. Testing will take approximately 1 hr, and will be conducted at the Brain and Mind Research Institute on Mallett St., Camperdown.
Your involvement will help us better understand migraine and to design effective treatment for people with migraine.
If you are interested in taking part in the study, whether or not you have migraines, or seek further information, please contact:
Maria Eliza Aguila E: , T +61 2 9351 9453 (Faculty of Health Sciences), or
Andrew Leaver , T +61 2 9351 9545 (Faculty of Health Sciences).
Led by the MS Clinical Trials Unit.
The MS Clinical trials Unit is currently recruiting patients with MS (Relapsing and Progressive), NMO, Optic Neuritis, CIS and CIDP in various International phase 3 clinical trials. For further information please contact Marinda Taha, , T+61 2 9351 0704.
The Brain & Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney is conducting research into PTSD.
We are looking to recruit 30 people who have a diagnosis of PTSD, and 30 people of the same age and gender
who have experienced a traumatic event, but not developed PTSD.
Participation will involve:
- Attending the Brain & Mind Research Institute Camperdown for a total of 2 hours over one day.
- You will be required to undergo a 1 hour clinical assessment with one of our psychiatrists, and have a 1 hour brain scan (MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
If you would like more information regarding this study or are interested in participating, please contact:
- Ashleigh Tickell - E T +61 2 9114 4204, or
- Daniel O’Doherty - E T +61 2 9351 0714
Led by the Youth Mental Health Program.
Research on Juvenile Bipolar Disorder
A brain imaging research project is being conducted by doctors and scientists investigating bipolar disorder in adolescents. The research is being conducted at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute.
Participation involves having an MRI brain scan whilst you are simultaneously completing several experimental tasks. The study goes for approximately one hour and does not involve any drugs or needles.
If you are between the ages of 12 and 18, and either have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or alternatively would like to be a control and do not have any significant medical history we’d love to hear from you.
Please contact the trial coordinator:
T +61 2 9114 4204
Or for more information contact: Kate Chitty +61 2 9351 0724
Mapping neurobiological changes across mental health stages
The project is investigating neurobiological changes associated with illness onset and progression in people with (or at risk of) affective (depression and anxiety) and/or psychotic disorders. We are also investigating the effect of moderating variables such as substance use and medical history on illness progression. Participants undergo psychiatric and neuropsychological assessment, and complete self-report measures that assess levels of disability, depression, anxiety, stress, personality, occupational and social functioning which may in turn provide feedback for routine management where possible. Participants will also be asked to undergo an MRI scan. All participants will be invited to participate in follow-up assessments, 6-months after initial participation to determine changes in functioning and/or illness progression. For more information contact Daniel Hermens T: +61 2 9351 0529 E:
Characteristics of substance use & associated mental health problems
Despite the consistent association between substance use and mental health problems (MHPs), few studies have investigated the underlying neurobiology of these phenomena at early stages. It remains unclear why some substance users have MHPs and others do not. Using neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures, this study is examining a large cohort of substance users. This study will adopt a clinical staging approach, identifying early onset, high-risk individuals who may be more vulnerable to substance use and mental health problems. The identified brain function changes will help to delineate the pathways in different patterns of disability. For more information contact Daniel Hermens T: +61 2 9351 0529 E:
Distinguishing psychosis with and without amphetamine use
Despite the understanding that amphetamine use increases the risk for and exacerbates psychosis, few studies have investigated the underlying neurobiology. Young people with amphetamine psychosis present with very similar symptoms to first episode psychosis in schizophrenia. This study aims to distinguish between these groups using neurobiological markers. The findings will help identify amphetamine users who may be at risk of psychosis and reveal important information about the underlying mechanism of schizophrenia. For more information contact Daniel Hermens T: +61 2 9351 0529 E: