Depression in young people

Ongoing projects led by Professor Ian Hickie and the Youth Mental Health Program are shedding new light on personalised and effective early intervention for mental health conditions in young people such as depression.

Associate Professor Jim Lagopoulos and his Advanced Multimodal Imaging team supports many of the MRI studies into depression.

We are also studying the impact of sleep and the biological (circadian) clock on depression and other mood disorders and cognitive performance in the Chronobiology and Sleep Program.

Depression in older adults

Researchers in the Brain and Mind Centre’s Healthy Brain Ageing Program, led by Associate Professor Sharon Naismith are investigating the effectiveness of an online sleep intervention to improve sleep and mood in older depressed men.

The Healthy Brain Ageing team are also looking at whether fish oil supplements can provide effective prevention for depression and cognitive decline. There is evidence to suggest that high intake of fatty oils can protect against cognitive decline, and reduce depression.

Laboratory-based research in depression

In the laboratory, researchers in our Imaging Physics Program are developing technologies enabling scientists to test new drugs and interventions for a wide variety of brain disorders, including depression.

Researchers in the Drug Discovery Research Program, led by Professor Michael Kassiou, are working to better understand the action of both novel and existing therapeutic molecules. A key focus of their research is the translocator protein TSPO, which is present in the brain in higher quantities when there is illness or trauma. The researchers are investigating molecules that bind to TSPO (called TSPO ligands) that may have a therapeutic effect on diseases of the central nervous system, which include psychoses, mood disorders, neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, and cancers of the brain.

Clinical Studies

Mapping neurobiological changes across mental health stages

This 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. Find out more...

The Beyond Ageing Project

In the Beyond Ageing Project, we hope to evaluate whether two pharmacological interventions, omega-3 fatty acid supplements (fish oil) and a commonly used antidepressant medication called sertraline, will prevent depressive symptoms. Find out more...

Sleep-wake Disturbances

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. Find out more...

Sleep Or Mood Novel Adjunctive Therapy (SOMNA)

The SOMNA (Sleep Or Mood Novel Adjunctive therapy) Research Study is for men aged 50 years and over who are experiencing symptoms of depression and insomnia. Find out more...

Clinical staging of late-life mood and cognitive syndromes

The ‘Clinical Staging’ research study is open to individuals aged 50 to 90 years who report new changes in their mood or cognition, that are not due to a pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions. In this study, we aim to develop a Clinical Staging model to track the way that mood and cognitive changes in older adults persist or progress over time. Find out more...

Useful links

For young people