Neurosciences and Mental Health



Sydney Medical School’s research into neuroscience and mental health spans the structure and function of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and muscle.

The Sydney Neuroscience Network brings together a pan-university, multidisciplinary team of researchers dedicated to pursuing and developing collaborative research projects in neuroscience and mental health research and teaching across the University of Sydney.

It unites experts in genetics, biochemistry and physiology, as well as pharmacology and pathology, and includes all relevant faculties and affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.

Research highlights

  • Research led by Associate Professor Michael Valenzuela aims to understand the competing forces of neuroplasticity and degeneration in the human brain and use this knowledge. His recent research includes the use of stem cell therapy to reverse the signs of canine cognitive dysfunction in dogs (similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans).
  • Professor Ian Hickie and his team’s research into the use of e-mental health services by young Australians to manage anxiety and depression is giving young people the power to improve their own wellbeing and protect themselves from lifelong mental health problems.
  • Research by the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium – led in Australia and New Zealand by the University of Sydney – identified more than 50 genetic variants associated with developing multiple sclerosis.
  • Professor Tim Lambert and colleagues at the Concord Centre aims to identify the risk and protective factors that could be used to predict those who are most likely to develop life-limiting physical illnesses, and develop ways to determine who is most likely to benefit from early intervention.
  • Professor of Psychiatry at Royal North Shore Hospital, Gin Malhi has developed scans that detect early signs of depression and anxiety in young teenagers, before symptoms are apparent.

Sydney Neuroscience Network (SNN)

Sydney Neuroscience Network (SNN)

The recently launched Sydney Neuroscience Network (SNN) is a member-based pan-University network for neuroscience and mental health researchers. The overarching goal of the Network will be to provide a framework to foster and coordinate synergies to create more and better connections of a multidisciplinary nature in neuroscience and mental health research and teaching across the University, including all relevant faculties and affiliated teaching hospitals and institutes.


Brain and Mind Centre

Brain and Mind Centre


Brain and Mind Centre aims to make real world differences to individual and societal challenges presented by the workings of the brain and mind through highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and education. Work at the Brain and Mind Centre spans basic, pre-clinical, clinical and translational research, across strong partnerships with industry, government, the community and other health care providers and research bodies.


Meet our researchers

Professor Ian Hickie


Professor Ian Hickie

Ian Hickie is Professor of Psychiatry at Sydney Medical School and Co-Director, Health and Policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre. He is one of the most influential voices in community recognition of the burden of mental illness and improved funding of mental health services, especially for young people.

Professor Hickie’s research and clinical and health services development work focuses on expansion of population-based mental health research, improved mental health services and development of international mental-health strategies.


Professor Matthew Kiernan


Professor Matthew Kiernan

Matthew Kiernan holds the Bushell Chair of Neurology at Sydney Medical School, is the Head of Clinical Neuroscience Research at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and is Co-Director, Discovery and Translation at the Brain and Mind Centre. Professor Kiernan is also the Vice-President of the Australian Brain Foundation.

Professor Kiernan is currently investigating the mechanisms and possible prevention of neurodegeneration in motor neurone disease; chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity; stroke; Machado-Joseph disease; spinal muscular atrophy and other inherited neuropathies.