Brain and Mind Sciences

 

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Unit of study descriptions

BMRI5001 Hist, Phil and Ethics of Brain and Mind Sci

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Max Bennett, Dr Cynthia Forlini Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week Assessment: Class discussions (5%), open peer commentary (10%), abstract (5%), position paper 1 (40%), position paper 2 (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Note: This is a capstone unit of study for the Master in Brain and Mind Sciences.
This unit of study uses a neuroethics lens to examine the impacts of modern neurotechnology on our understanding of brain function and its relation to concepts of mind. Neuroethics is sub-field of bioethics that is concerned with the ethical, legal and social impact of the neurosciences. Throughout this unit, students will critically assess current applications of neurotechnology and engage with the issues that arise as these neurotechnologies influence how we conduct research, treat clinical conditions, make individual and collective decisions, and live together as a society. The unit is divided into four three-week modules that progressively deepen the analysis of the impact of modern neurotechnology on the brain and mind sciences. Module 1: A cursory historical overview that demonstrates how we came to discover how the brain functions and recognize the brain as the seat of the mind, consciousness and the self. Module 2: An introduction to some of the modern neurotechnologies that allow us to visualize and modify brain function along with some of the general ethical challenges they pose. Module 3: An analysis of specific examples of how modern neurotechnologies have changed clinical diagnosis and treatment of neurological and psychiatric illness. Module 4: An analysis of specific examples of how modern neurotechnologies have changed legal and social practices. Together, these modules demonstrate the value of neurotechnology in demystifying the inner workings of the brain and mind but also the challenges in applying it in an ethical and meaningful manner.
BMRI5002 Fundamental Neuroscience

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Daniel Brown Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week Assumed knowledge: Cell biology up to first year level Assessment: Quiz (30%), extended response (30%), short answer comprehension (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
This core unit of study will introduce the main concepts of neurobiology starting with neural cell structure and physiology, neurodevelopment and synaptic plasticity. The modularity of the brain and connective pathways will then be examined with a focus of the functional anatomy of sensory processing, the basal ganglia and the limbic system. Immunology and neuropathology will also be studied with insights into how genetics and interaction with glial cells underlie these processes. Examples will be given of how brain disorders emerge from disruption to these fundamental processes.
Textbooks
Recommended Textbook: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH & Jessel TM (2013) Principles of Neural Science (5th ed.) McGraw Hill.
BMRI5004 Translational and Clinical Neuroscience

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Daniel Hermens Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week Assessment: Essay (30%), case study analysis (30%), literature review (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Note: This is a core unit of study.
This unit of study introduces the principal disorders of mental health and current methods for diagnosing and understanding them. Disorders of development, mood, personality and cognitive decline will be introduced from the perspective of the clinical staging. This model attempts to identify the risks of such disorders emerging and progressing in individuals when all biopsychosocial variables are considered. In this way, windows for therapeutic intervention that would prevent or delay progression from earlier to later stages of a disorder can be defined. The unit will also describe fundamental principles of clinicopathology and some of the latest understanding of early diagnostic biomarkers for disease and novel applications of neuroimaging and spectroscopy will be discussed in this context.
BMRI5006 Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Adam Guastella Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 hr lecture week 2, 9am-5pm Wednesday weeks 4, 8 and 11 Assessment: Online quiz (20%), case study analysis (40%), extended response questions (40%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy for a range of psychological disorders, with strong foundations in cognitive science and now increasingly in neuroscience. This unit provides a solid foundation in the theoretical and clinical underpinnings of the therapy, with a specific focus on the neuroscience of CBT as applied to various conditions. It demonstrates techniques of CBT, including case assessment, formulation, and therapy components. Students will develop a neurobiological understanding of CBT interventions and examine practice through case examination and group exercises.
BMRI5007 Neuropsychology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Sharon Naismith Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week Assessment: Essay (40%), oral case presentation (15%), client report (45%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
This unit of study will enable students to understand the basic principles of brain behaviour relationships that underpin assessment of brain disorders across the age span. A wide range of neuropsychological syndromes, neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders will be examined. The unit of study will outline procedures for integrating medical, psychological and social information into neuropsychological assessment through case based learning. At the end of the unit of study you will have an awareness of the 'state of the art' in neuropsychological intervention/rehabilitation strategies for people with acquired brain impairment.
BMRI5010 Brain and Mind Disorders (Child/Youth)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Raphael Chan Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week Assessment: Short answer questions (30%), extended response (30%), essay (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
This unit of study will address key neurobiological, psychological and environmental contributions and their interactions on child and adolescent brain development from a clinical perspective. Students will be introduced to neurodevelopmental disorders affecting infants, children and youth, including Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and a range of emergent mental disorders such as Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Sleep Disorders and Somatic Symptom Disorders. The aetiology, phenomenology and treatment of these mental disorders are considered in the context of developmental continuities and brain maturational processes throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence. Finally, students will understand the principles of pharmacological, psychological and family management of these disorders, including models of service delivery in child and youth mental health. The unit of study will be conducted as a series of two-hour seminars presented by senior clinicians and researchers in the field from the Brain and Mind Centre, Headspace Camperdown, and expert guest lecturers from other services/institutions. During the semester, students may also have the opportunity to attend and observe consultations involving children, adolescents and families conducted by BMRI clinicians.
Textbooks
Rey, J. M. (Ed.). (2013). IACAPAP e-textbook of child and adolescent mental health. Geneva, Switzerland: International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. Open access publication: http://iacapap.org/iacapap-textbook-of-child-and-adolescent-mental-health/
BMRI5012 Brain Ageing

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Michael Valenzuela Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week Assessment: Extended response questions (40%), case study analysis (40%), group presentation (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
This unit of study provides an introduction to two important aspects of brain and mind ageing science, neurodegenerative disorders and opportunities for neuroplasticity and human flourishing. Students will learn about the clinical presentation and pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia. Psychogeriatrics and late-life depression will also be covered, and counterbalanced with new insights about what determines successful ageing and how we can use lifestyle interventions to keep people's brains and minds fit and well throughout late life. This unit will use case studies to reinforce learning, focusing on common neuropsychological assessment methods and research methods. Students will also be introduced to the social and ethical aspects of brain and mind ageing.
BMRI5013 Neuropsychopharmacology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Eryn Werry Session: Semester 1 Classes: one day workshop in weeks 2, 6 and 11 Assessment: Online quiz (30%), Report (30%), Oral presentation (40%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
This elective unit will focus on neuropsychopharmacology as a tool for characterizing brain pathways and as a treatment for brain disorders. Students will be introduced to basic principles of pharmacology governing drug binding and metabolism that underlie the rationale for drug design. Links between brain circuitry and phenomenology of mood disorders, psychosis and addictions will be examined to provide a rationale for chosen drug targets. Students will also examine the relationship between dosage, specificity and negative side effects of such drugs and how to evaluate costs and benefits of drug treatment in model scenarios. There will be the opportunity to examine current directions in neuropharmacology research, the role of the pharmaceutical industry and potential new pathways for future drug design.
Textbooks
Specific reference material listed on eLearning
BMRI5017 Genetics of Brain and Mind Disorders

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Marina Kennerson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2hr seminar week 2, one day workshop week 4, 9 and 11 Assessment: Lab report (40%), journal article (60%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: This is a capstone unit of study.
This unit of study provides a comprehensive introduction to the research methods that can be used in the identification and characterisation of genetic variants underlying neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. The first part of the unit will focus on the statistical methods to quantify the contribution of genetic factors to complex genetic disorders in the population. The principles of genomic epidemiology using examples of neurodegenerative disorders will be discussed. The course will then discuss concepts of gene mapping for Mendelian diseases using linkage analysis and the identification of causative variants using filtering strategies of next generation sequencing data. Students will learn to use a suite of bioinformatics tools and resources. The use of animal models for neurodegenerative disease will also be explored. This is a capstone unit of study that will require students to develop over the semester a scholarly piece of work using advanced bioinformatics skills. Over the assessments in this unit, students will identify genetic variants associated with a mental health disorder, map and identify possible causative genes for a Mendelian neurodegenerative disease, examine the suitability of gene DNA variants as disease candidates using bioinformatics, and propose future laboratory research that would confirm the role of this gene in disease.
Textbooks
Specific reference material listed on eLearning
BMRI5018 Substance Use and Addiction

This unit of study is not available in 2017

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Paul Haber Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x 2-hr lecture/week Prerequisites: BMRI5003 or equivalent clinical experience; BMRI5050 or equivalent clinical experience Assessment: Short answer questions (30%), extended response questions (30%), essay (40%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is designed to provide students with an introduction to the fields of substance use and the neurobiology of addiction. It will provide a sound knowledge and understanding of substance use in Australia and the harms that result from use, and address harm minimisation. Students will examine prevalence and risk factors for the use of psychoactive substances, patterns and types of substances used, and evidence on what works to reduce substance use and the resulting harms. This will include legal substances including alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications, as well as the illicit drugs. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about different communications skills to assess an individual substance user and apply their learning through developing an appropriate intervention for a particular work context. Management strategies for intoxication, withdrawal and rehabilitation approaches will be examined, including pharmacology and psychological strategies such as motivational interviewing.
Textbooks
Textbook of Addiction Medicine, Ed Haber, Day and Farrell (2015, in press).
BMRI5020 Research Inquiry

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Eryn Werry Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week Assumed knowledge: Basic understanding of statistics Assessment: Journal club (10%), short answer questions (25%), extended response questions (30%), exam (35%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Note: This is a core unit of study for the Masters degree only.
Doctors and researchers depend on the latest scientific literature published week by week in countless different journals, but not every study can be trusted. Scientific studies are fraught with complications that can threaten their reliability, or the extent to which their results can be applied very widely. This unit will help you develop the skills necessary to critically appraise the research literature and identify sources of bias and confounding. You will learn how cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, cohort studies and clinical trials are more or less vulnerable to these problems. Similarly, you will look at the basic design of laboratory research, and what are the different types of questions that can be asked from studies on humans, rats or brain tissue. All classes will be based on published examples of research literature and you will learn how to navigate different methods and data types. This unit will give you the confidence to read widely across the mental health field, and judge for yourself which findings can be relied upon to inform future research or medical practice.
Textbooks
Prince, Martin (2003) Practical Psychiatric Epidemiology, Oxford University Press.
BMRI5023 Research Activity 1

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Amit Lampit Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 4 half day workshops across the semester and 10.5 hours per week Corequisites: BMRI5024 Assessment: Initial presentation (10%), thesis (40%), final presentation (10%), supervisor evaluation (40%) Practical field work: 3 days per week Mode of delivery: Field experience
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: This is a capstone unit of study and requires departmental permission.
This unit of study requires students to develop over the semester an original piece of research and provides a capstone experience for those wishing to go on to further postgraduate research. This practical project is based in a research group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute which deal variously with clinical research questions, epidemiology and fundamental neuroscience research. This unit is to be taken along with BMRI5024 in a given semester, and the 12 credit points combined carry the expectation of around 3 days per week availability towards the given research project. Students will learn a variety of skills for acquisition and analysis and presentation of data particular to their field. As part of the assessment for the units of study students will present and introduction to their both in a seminar setting and in the format of a journal research publication for their final 4000 word thesis. Potential research projects will be presented to students early in semester 1 so that students can familiarize themselves with the research being conducted at the BMRI. Acceptance to a given project will be selective depending on the relevant skills of student to the project and will require departmental permission.
BMRI5024 Research Activity 2

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Amit Lampit Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 4 half day workshops across the semester and 10.5 hours/wk Corequisites: BMRI5023 Assessment: Presentation (10%), draft results section (10%), thesis (40%), supervisor evaluation (40%) Mode of delivery: Field experience
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Note: This is a capstone unit of study and requires departmental permission.
This unit of study requires students to develop over the semester an original piece of research and provides a capstone experience for those wishing to go on to further postgraduate research. This practical project is based in a research group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute which deal variously with clinical research questions, epidemiology and fundamental neuroscience research. This unit is to be taken along with BMRI5023 in a given semester, and the 12 credit points combined carry the expectation of around 3 days per week availability towards the given research project. Students will learn a variety of skills for acquisition and analysis and presentation of data particular to their field. As part of the assessment for the units of study students will present and introduction to their both in a seminar setting and in the format of a journal research publication for their final 4000 word thesis. Potential research projects will be presented to students early in semester 1 so that students can familiarize themselves with the research being conducted at the BMRI. Acceptance to a given project will be selective depending on the relevant skills of student to the project and will require departmental permission.
BMRI5027 Leadership and Policy in Mental Health 1

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Adj Assoc Prof John Mendoza Session: Semester 2 Classes: 9am-5pm Friday and Saturday 9am-12.30pm weeks 2 and 8, 9am-5pm Friday week 13 Assessment: Leadership assessment and self development plan (25%), scenario analysis (25%), change management and implementation plan (40%), participation (10%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: This is a capstone unit of study
This capstone unit examines the key constructs of leadership, leadership development and change management with specific reference to mental health reform in Australia. Students will gain an understanding of leadership, leadership development, their own leadership attributes and developmental needs. Students will also gain an insight into the development of strategy, organizational level policy and governance for achieving change. These elements will provide the foundations for self-development as a leader and the development of service level change/reform initiatives. Under supervision, students are assessed on the application of theoretical constructs and models, and will produce a significant scholarly project of change management and implementation in their own work setting or context.
LAWS6335 Neurolaw: Brain Mind Law and Ethics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Sascha Callaghan Session: Intensive September Classes: Aug 24, 25 & Sep 21, 22 (9-5) Assessment: class presentation (10%), 2000wd essay (30%), take-home exam (60%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
This unit explores the intersection between current and emerging brain sciences, and law. We examine the implications of new neuroscience research for key legal principles such as mens rea and the requirement of 'voluntariness' in legal causation, as well as ethical questions concerning the need for special regulation of brain and mind research. Students will critically analyse the potential and limits of the use of neuroscience evidence in the courtroom on questions of criminal responsibility and civil liability. In the criminal context, we explore the question, what does it mean to claim that `my brain made me do it?¿. And in relation to civil law, we consider the use of neuroscience evidence as proof of `invisible injuries¿ such as pain and psychiatric harm. Students will consider the potential for neuroscience research to contribute to the definition of legal capacity, and efforts to support legal decision making for people with mental impairments. The ethical implications of brain sciences research will also be critically analysed in a concluding section on the law of the future, where we will consider whether special regulation is warranted to ensure `mental privacy¿ and whether limits should be placed on neuroscience research.