Dr Kate Chitty

Research Fellow
Pharmacology: School Medical Sciences


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Biographical details

Investigating the relationship between alcohol and mental health: neurobiology, pharmacology, psychology and environment.

Risky use of alcohol in people with mental health problems is common, and the consequences are damaging.

My vision is that findings from our research can be used to help prevent, intervene in, and treat the devastating consequences of risky alcohol use for mental health.

Alcohol affects our brain, our behaviours and our environment – all elements that are also key players for our mental health. I think of these common elements as “junctions” that link alcohol to its mental health consequences. I believe that better understanding these junctions is the first step toward prevention and treatment of the exacerbation of mental illness by alcohol.

Specifically, my postdoctoral research is into the role of alcohol in suicidal behaviour. I aim to better understand alcohol and suicide in terms of their junctions in the brain (neurobiology), in medications (pharmacology), in behaviours (psychology) and in the environment. I am investigating these interactions through clinical studies and by using epidemiological datasets.

My pathway to this line of research began with a keen interest in mental health and pharmacology, which developed during my undergraduate degree at the University of Western Australia. In 2009 I relocated to Sydney where I spent 3 years as a Research Assistant across the disciplines of psychiatry and neurology and as an online medical researcher, focussed on translating mental health research into articles for the general public. During this time, I realised my passion for research so in 2012 I began a PhD at the Brain & Mind Centre, University of Sydney. My PhD investigated the neurobiology of alcohol use in bipolar disorder and was awarded in July 2015. I found that risky alcohol use in young people with bipolar disorder was associated with greater impairments in various neurobiological measures. I interpreted this as evidence that alcohol use may exacerbate the progression of the illness via its accumulative effects on the brain.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Exploring clinical, social and cognitive risk factors for poor functional outcome in young psychiatric outpatients Jacob CROUSE

Current projects

The iiAIM study - internet intervention for Alcohol IMprovement

iiAIM is a research study investigating whether an internet delivered evidence-based psychological treatment for improving alcohol use and depression can help young adults who have presented to hospital after deliberate self-poisoning. The aim of this project is to assess whether this intervention helps our participants to reduce alcohol consumption and whether in return, it will help reduce further episodes of self-harm.

Establishing an evidence-base for preventative pharmacotherapy for alcohol related suicide

Using various nationwide epidemiological datasets, we are investigating the link between alcohol, suicide and medications.

Associations

Society for Mental Health Research

Collegium International Neuropsychopharmacology

Selected grants

2019

  • The iiAIM (internet intervention for Alcohol Improvement) Study; Chitty K; AFFIRM (The Australian Foundation for Mental Health Research)/Research Award.
  • The iiAIM (internet intervention for Alcohol Improvement) Study.; Chitty K; Society for Mental Health Research/Research Support.

2018

  • Using big data to understand the predictors of repeated self-harm in people with mental health and drug and alcohol comorbidity.; Chitty K, Cvejic R; DVC Research/USyd-UNSW MoU: Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Comorbidity.

2017

  • Can pharmacotherapy prevent alcohol driven suicides?; Chitty K; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Early Career Fellowships.

2016

  • Reducing alcohol use in people at-risk of suicide; Chitty K; University of Sydney/Kickstart Grants Program.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Chitty, K., Kirby, K., Osborne, N., Isbister, G., Buckley, N. (2018). Co-ingested alcohol and the timing of deliberate self-poisonings. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52(3), 271-278. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Chan, B., Pulanco, C., Luu, S., Egunsola, O., Buckley, N. (2018). Discontinuities and disruptions in drug dosage guidelines for the paediatric population. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 84(5), 1029-1037. [More Information]
  • Nguyen, V., Paull, P., Haber, P., Chitty, K., Seth, D. (2018). Evaluation of a novel method for the analysis of alcohol biomarkers: Ethyl glucuronide, ethyl sulfate and phosphatidylethanol. Alcohol, 67, 7-13. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Kaur, M. (2018). Mismatch negativity in bipolar disorder: A neurophysiological biomarker of intermediate effect? Schizophrenia Research, 191, 132-139. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Baillie, A., van den Brink, W., Chitty, K., Brady, K., Back, S., Seth, D., Sutherland, G., Leggio, L., Haber, P. (2018). N-acetyl cysteine in the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with liver disease: Rationale for further research. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 27(8), 667-675. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Lagopoulos, J., Logge, W., Chitty, K., Baillie, A., Haber, P. (2018). Neurometabolite levels in alcohol use disorder patients during baclofen treatment and prediction of relapse to heavy drinking. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(SEP), 1-8. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Baillie, A., van den Brink, W., Chitty, K., Brady, K., Back, S., Seth, D., Sutherland, G., Leggio, L., Haber, P. (2018). Rationale for N-acetyl cysteine in the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with liver disease. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 27(8), 667-675. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Isbister, G., Dawson, A., Buckley, N. (2017). Authors' reply. British Journal of Psychiatry, 211(1), 53-54. [More Information]
  • Osborne, N., Cairns, R., Dawson, A., Chitty, K., Buckley, N. (2017). Epidemiology of coronial deaths from pesticide ingestion in Australia. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 220(2), 478-484. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Dobbins, T., Dawson, A., Isbister, G., Buckley, N. (2017). Relationship between prescribed psychotropic medications and co-ingested alcohol in intentional self-poisonings. British Journal of Psychiatry, 210(3), 203-208. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Osborne, N., Cairns, R., Dawson, A., Buckley, N. (2016). Trends in recreational poisoning in Newcastle, Australia, between 1996 and 2013. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 159, 17-25. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). A longitudinal proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study investigating oxidative stress as a result of alcohol and tobacco use in youth with bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 175, 481-487. [More Information]
  • O'Doherty, D., Chitty, K., Saddiqui, S., Bennett, M., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). A systematic review and meta-analysis of magnetic resonance imaging measurement of structural volumes in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 232(1), 1-33. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Alcohol use in bipolar disorder: A neurobiological model to help predict susceptibility, select treatments and attenuate cortical insult. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 56, 193-206. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Naismith, S., Chitty, K., Lee, R., Tickell (nee Kennedy), A., Duffy, S., Paquola, C., White, D., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Cluster analysis reveals abnormal hippocampal neurometabolic profiles in young people with mood disorders. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(6), 836-845. [More Information]
  • Vuillier, L., Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Wang, C., Kaur, M., Ward, P., Degabriele, R., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Emotional Processing, P50 Sensory Gating, and Social Functioning in Bipolar Disorder. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 46(2), 81-87. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Lee, R., Tickell (nee Kennedy), A., Haber, P., Naismith, S., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Hippocampal glutamate is increased and associated with risky drinking in young adults with major depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 186, 95-98. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Hippocampal glutamatergic/NMDA receptor functioning in bipolar disorder: A study combining mismatch negativity and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 233(2), 88-94. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Investigating the role of glutathione in mismatch negativity: An insight into NMDA receptor disturbances in bipolar disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology, 126(6), 1178-1184. [More Information]
  • Lee, R., Hermens, D., Naismith, S., Lagopoulos, J., Jones, A., Scott, J., Chitty, K., White, D., Robillard, R., Scott, E., Hickie, I. (2015). Neuropsychological and functional outcomes in recent-onset major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders: a longitudinal cohort study. Translational Psychiatry, 5, 1-10. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Kaur, M., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor as a neurobiological intersection between bipolar disorder and alcohol use: a longitudinal mismatch negativity study. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 18(6), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Papagiannopoulou, E., Chitty, K., Hermens, D., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of eye-tracking studies in children with autism spectrum disorders. Social Neuroscience, 9(6), 610-632. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Albrecht, M., Graham, K., Kerr, C., Lee, J., Iyyalol, R., Martin-Iverson, M. (2014). Dexamphetamine effects on prepulse inhibition (PPI) and startle in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 231(11), 2327-2337. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Kaur, M., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2014). Risky alcohol use predicts temporal mismatch negativity impairments in young people with bipolar disorder. Biological Psychology, 99(1), 60-68. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2014). The impact of alcohol and tobacco use on i?�vivo glutathione in youth with bipolar disorder: An exploratory study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 55(1), 59-67. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Lee, R., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mismatch negativity in bipolar disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(11), 1348-1363. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2013). Risky alcohol use in young persons with emerging bipolar disorder is associated with increased oxidative stress. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150(3), 1238-1241. [More Information]
  • Trollor, J., Chen, X., Chitty, K., Sachdev, P. (2012). Comparison of neuroleptic malignant syndrome induced by first- and second-generation antipsychotics. British Journal of Psychiatry, 201(1), 52-56. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Kaur, M., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2011). Alcohol use and mismatch negativity in young patients with psychotic disorder. NeuroReport, 22(17), 918-922. [More Information]

2018

  • Chitty, K., Kirby, K., Osborne, N., Isbister, G., Buckley, N. (2018). Co-ingested alcohol and the timing of deliberate self-poisonings. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52(3), 271-278. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Chan, B., Pulanco, C., Luu, S., Egunsola, O., Buckley, N. (2018). Discontinuities and disruptions in drug dosage guidelines for the paediatric population. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 84(5), 1029-1037. [More Information]
  • Nguyen, V., Paull, P., Haber, P., Chitty, K., Seth, D. (2018). Evaluation of a novel method for the analysis of alcohol biomarkers: Ethyl glucuronide, ethyl sulfate and phosphatidylethanol. Alcohol, 67, 7-13. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Kaur, M. (2018). Mismatch negativity in bipolar disorder: A neurophysiological biomarker of intermediate effect? Schizophrenia Research, 191, 132-139. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Baillie, A., van den Brink, W., Chitty, K., Brady, K., Back, S., Seth, D., Sutherland, G., Leggio, L., Haber, P. (2018). N-acetyl cysteine in the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with liver disease: Rationale for further research. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 27(8), 667-675. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Lagopoulos, J., Logge, W., Chitty, K., Baillie, A., Haber, P. (2018). Neurometabolite levels in alcohol use disorder patients during baclofen treatment and prediction of relapse to heavy drinking. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9(SEP), 1-8. [More Information]
  • Morley, K., Baillie, A., van den Brink, W., Chitty, K., Brady, K., Back, S., Seth, D., Sutherland, G., Leggio, L., Haber, P. (2018). Rationale for N-acetyl cysteine in the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with liver disease. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 27(8), 667-675. [More Information]

2017

  • Chitty, K., Isbister, G., Dawson, A., Buckley, N. (2017). Authors' reply. British Journal of Psychiatry, 211(1), 53-54. [More Information]
  • Osborne, N., Cairns, R., Dawson, A., Chitty, K., Buckley, N. (2017). Epidemiology of coronial deaths from pesticide ingestion in Australia. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 220(2), 478-484. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Dobbins, T., Dawson, A., Isbister, G., Buckley, N. (2017). Relationship between prescribed psychotropic medications and co-ingested alcohol in intentional self-poisonings. British Journal of Psychiatry, 210(3), 203-208. [More Information]

2016

  • Chitty, K., Osborne, N., Cairns, R., Dawson, A., Buckley, N. (2016). Trends in recreational poisoning in Newcastle, Australia, between 1996 and 2013. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 159, 17-25. [More Information]

2015

  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). A longitudinal proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study investigating oxidative stress as a result of alcohol and tobacco use in youth with bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 175, 481-487. [More Information]
  • O'Doherty, D., Chitty, K., Saddiqui, S., Bennett, M., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). A systematic review and meta-analysis of magnetic resonance imaging measurement of structural volumes in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 232(1), 1-33. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Alcohol use in bipolar disorder: A neurobiological model to help predict susceptibility, select treatments and attenuate cortical insult. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 56, 193-206. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Naismith, S., Chitty, K., Lee, R., Tickell (nee Kennedy), A., Duffy, S., Paquola, C., White, D., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Cluster analysis reveals abnormal hippocampal neurometabolic profiles in young people with mood disorders. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(6), 836-845. [More Information]
  • Vuillier, L., Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Wang, C., Kaur, M., Ward, P., Degabriele, R., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Emotional Processing, P50 Sensory Gating, and Social Functioning in Bipolar Disorder. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 46(2), 81-87. [More Information]
  • Hermens, D., Chitty, K., Lee, R., Tickell (nee Kennedy), A., Haber, P., Naismith, S., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2015). Hippocampal glutamate is increased and associated with risky drinking in young adults with major depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 186, 95-98. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Hippocampal glutamatergic/NMDA receptor functioning in bipolar disorder: A study combining mismatch negativity and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 233(2), 88-94. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). Investigating the role of glutathione in mismatch negativity: An insight into NMDA receptor disturbances in bipolar disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology, 126(6), 1178-1184. [More Information]
  • Lee, R., Hermens, D., Naismith, S., Lagopoulos, J., Jones, A., Scott, J., Chitty, K., White, D., Robillard, R., Scott, E., Hickie, I. (2015). Neuropsychological and functional outcomes in recent-onset major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders: a longitudinal cohort study. Translational Psychiatry, 5, 1-10. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Kaur, M., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2015). The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor as a neurobiological intersection between bipolar disorder and alcohol use: a longitudinal mismatch negativity study. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 18(6), 1-9. [More Information]

2014

  • Papagiannopoulou, E., Chitty, K., Hermens, D., Hickie, I., Lagopoulos, J. (2014). A systematic review and meta-analysis of eye-tracking studies in children with autism spectrum disorders. Social Neuroscience, 9(6), 610-632. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Albrecht, M., Graham, K., Kerr, C., Lee, J., Iyyalol, R., Martin-Iverson, M. (2014). Dexamphetamine effects on prepulse inhibition (PPI) and startle in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology, 231(11), 2327-2337. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Kaur, M., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2014). Risky alcohol use predicts temporal mismatch negativity impairments in young people with bipolar disorder. Biological Psychology, 99(1), 60-68. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2014). The impact of alcohol and tobacco use on i?�vivo glutathione in youth with bipolar disorder: An exploratory study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 55(1), 59-67. [More Information]

2013

  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Lee, R., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mismatch negativity in bipolar disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(11), 1348-1363. [More Information]
  • Chitty, K., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2013). Risky alcohol use in young persons with emerging bipolar disorder is associated with increased oxidative stress. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150(3), 1238-1241. [More Information]

2012

  • Trollor, J., Chen, X., Chitty, K., Sachdev, P. (2012). Comparison of neuroleptic malignant syndrome induced by first- and second-generation antipsychotics. British Journal of Psychiatry, 201(1), 52-56. [More Information]

2011

  • Chitty, K., Kaur, M., Lagopoulos, J., Hickie, I., Hermens, D. (2011). Alcohol use and mismatch negativity in young patients with psychotic disorder. NeuroReport, 22(17), 918-922. [More Information]

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