CRC for Mental Health

Australian Science Shines for Pfizer

The CRC for Mental Health was highlighted in the Australian Trade Commission’s case study, ‘Australian Science Shines for Pfizer’. The article features Dr. Daniel Grant (Head of External R&D Innovation Pfizer Australia), as he speaks about Pfizer’s involvement in Australian science, saying “Australia has some of the world’s best academics in areas such as oncology, immunology and neurology.” He believes that “creating and maintaining an operating environment that recognises innovation and in turn can attract the growing investment attached to the discovery and development of, in particular, biologics or large molecules, has the potential to return significant benefits to the Australian economy.”

Pfizer is an important industry participant of the CRC for Mental Health. Dr. Grant describes the work of the CRC as “very exciting” and reaffirms Pfizer’s interest in looking “to grow our interaction with the collaborating partners and in doing so progress the important work of discovering early biomarkers that have the potential to advance the development of new therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, psychoses, and mood disorders.” He emphasizes that Pfizer has been an “active participant in many of the Australian government’s programs that are designed to support collaborations between companies and academic research groups, such as the Australian Research Council Linkage grants and CRC program,” highlighting the importance of collaborative research in Australia.

Read the full article



Video: web-based repository to improve early detection of mental illnesses

About this video: In this five-minute video, Dr. Noel Faux, molecular biologist and bioinformatician at the CRC for Mental Health talks about the challenges of seeking biomarkers for the early detection of mental illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and, mood disorders.

Dr. Faux talks about a web-based repository the CRC for Mental Health is co-creating with commercial firm, Arcitecta, to improve the early detection of mental illness by simplifying the management and analysis of over 100 terabytes of data stored at 19 different locations, covering longitudinal cohort studies ranging from 2 years to 20 years.

This web-based repository will make it easier for researchers to collaborate and gather information from the participants of a number of studies, many of whom are unable to attend assessment clinics or sites to share information about their illness.

This new system will make it easier to collect data at the bedside (using mobile devices). It will also make it easier to combine these data with the CRC for Mental Health’s existing information taken from body scans, genomic analysis, EEG, blood tests and clinical notes, using a product based on Arcitecta’s Mediaflux data management platform.



InSearch: Unlocking the secrets of Parkinson’s

March 2, 2015MelanieLatest News0

The CRC for Mental Health is pleased to be part of InSearch: Unlocking the secrets of Parkinson’s, a series of research lectures and events across Victoria.

InSearch is a unique opportunity for people living with Parkinson’s, families, carers and health professionals to learn about current international and national research from leading researchers and clinicians.

The 2015 InSearch keynote lecture in Melbourne will be delivered by international guest Dr Ted Dawson (MD, PhD), from John Hopkins University, Baltimore. Dr Dawson has been at the forefront of research into the biology of mutant proteins linked to Parkinson’s. These studies are providing novel opportunities for therapies aimed at preventing the degenerative process of Parkinson’s. In this lecture, Dr Dawson will share his research insights relating to the biological nature of familial Parkinson’s, mechanisms of cell death in Parkinson’s, drug discovery programs and the importance of biomarkers to the future of Parkinson’s research.

When: Wednesday 15 April 2015

Time: Doors open at 5.30pm (finger food and refreshments). Lecture from 6.30 – 7.45pm.

Location: RACV Club, level 17 ballroom, 501 Bourke St, Melbourne.


InSearch is presented by Parkinson’s Victoria, in partnership with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and with support from the CRC for Mental Health.

Early career researcher monthly video conference

February 2, 2015Pierre DaoLatest News0

The CRC held its first monthly video conference in a new professional development series that aims to train and equip new postgraduates with skills and attributes to continue being productive in the biomedical research field.  This month, Chief Executive Officer, Professor Ian Cooke spoke about “Governance and Management”, giving students an awareness of important concepts, processes and developments from outside their discipline. They will continue to run throughout the year, providing early career researchers with a unique training program, as well as the chance for regular interaction, both in Melbourne and in Perth.

Early career researcher activities

January 12, 2015MelanieUncategorized0

The CRC held a two day workshop for our early career researchers in December, covering research translation, data quality and analysis and communication skills.

As part of the workshops, early career researchers worked together to develop a pitch for new collaborative projects which used the outcomes of their current research. Congratulations to PhD students Cassandra Wannan (UoM) and Sabine Bird (UWA) on their winning pitch, which combined Sabine’s research interest in the role of hormones in cognition as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease with Cassandra’s research interest in the role of brain structure in treatment resistant schizophrenia.

Early career researchers also visited a Mercy Health’s  aged care facility, continuing our highly successful knowledge exchange project. The early career researchers provided information on their work, while also spending time interacting with staff and residents of the facility gaining a deep understanding of the aged care sector and how Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and psychoses can present in an aged are setting. The CRC was represented in an exceptional manner by Tenielle Porter, Eugene Hone and Florence Lim from Edith Cowan University, David Skvarc from Barwon Health, Sabine Bird from University of Western Australia and Edith Drajkopyl from the University of Melbourne supported by industry partner Cogstate. We wish to thank Mercy Health’s staff who continue to provide an insightful experience during our visits.

Bringing understanding to mind

January 5, 2015Pierre DaoLatest News0

Date: December 2014

Article from: Inspiring Australia

The CRC for Mental Health appears in the December 2014 Inspiring Australia newsletter, an update on the Federal Government national strategy for science engagement. The article highlights the importance of the community engagement events run by the CRC including, ‘Not just one thing : art, science and schizophrenia’ and ‘Science & Dementia’,  in generating discussion and awareness of mental health issues. Inspiring Australia’s Program Manager Simon France commented that the events created “sustainable demand and product for science engagement,” with over half of the initially funded projects continuing beyond government funding.

Read the full Inspiring Australia article

Read about our community education program

Holiday period

December 23, 2014MelanieLatest News, UncategorizedComments Off on Holiday period

From all at the CRC for Mental Health, we’d like to wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday. We look forward to working with you in 2015.

Please note out offices will be closed from 24 December – 5 January.

New scanner will enable more detailed brain imaging

CRC researchers have commenced a new project, using the only two whole body 7-Tesla MRI scanners in the southern hemisphere. The project will use the ultra-high field scanners to investigate metals and proteins in the brain which could be involved in Alzheimer’s disease, with possible extension into other disease areas.

The CRC project involves collaboration with CSIRO, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Austin Health and the University of Melbourne.

Launching one of the scanners at the University of Melbourne, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education) said, “The 7T whole body MRI will provide researchers in Australia with access to world leading imaging technology”. We’re very pleased to be able to count CRC researchers among those using this cutting edge technology.

More information about the 7 Tesla MRI. Senator Ryan’s speech from the launch.

7T MRI, CRC for Mental Health

7T MRI, CRC for Mental Health

7T MRI, CRC CFO volunteering

CRC CFO volunteering as healthy control for 7 T MRI protocol and development



CRC Project Leader A/Prof Elizabeth Scarr named in 100 Women of Influence

October 2, 2014MelanieUncategorized0


Dr Elizabeth Scarr, CRC for Mental HealthAssociate Professor Elizabeth Scarr has been announced as a winner in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2014. Associate Professor Scarr has been recognised in the Innovation category for her contribution to the understanding and treatment of schizophrenia.

“Improving the quality of life for people with schizophrenia is an essential task for Australian society and science,” said Associate Prof Scarr, who is a program leader at the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health and the Department of Psychiatry in the University of Melbourne.

“Schizophrenia affects around 285,000 Australians, and about 30% of those people do not respond to currently available treatments. My research seeks to improve our understanding of the condition and develop new treatments which enable more people with schizophrenia to live independent lives.”

Now in its third year, the 100 Women of Influence Awards celebrate outstanding women from a wide variety of sectors across Australia. There are ten categories: Board/Management, Public Policy, Young Leader, Social Enterprise and Not-for-profit, Philanthropy, Global Influence, Innovation, Local/Regional Community, Diversity and Business Enterprise. Entrants into the awards were assessed by a panel of esteemed judges and have been recognised based on their outstanding ability to demonstrate vision, leadership, innovation and action in and beyond their fields.

Gail Kelly, Westpac Group Chief Executive Officer said, “The breadth and calibre of our 100 Women of Influence for 2014 is remarkable.

“It is such a privilege to be able to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions these women are making to Australia. The 2014 winners will join the now 300 strong, prestigious alumni of these awards.

“With over 40% of leadership roles at Westpac filled by females, I am fortunate to be surrounded by inspirational women every day.  We are blessed to have such great numbers of influential women doing incredible things in many industries and organisations right across Australia.

Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood said: “This year’s 100 Women of Influence join a growing movement that is changing our society for the better in a myriad of ways. Thanks and congratulations to everyone for the contribution they are making.

“Many of this year’s finalists were nominated by men. It’s a powerful development to see men wholeheartedly supporting women across all the categories. In order to move the dial, more men need to step up and take an active interest, alongside women, in addressing gender equality.”

On Wednesday 22 October, a gala event will be held at Sydney’s Town Hall to celebrate these women and the significant impact that each has made within their chosen field. The ten category winners and overall winner for the year will also be announced on the evening.


For further information please

Coverage in the press

Australia’s 100 Women of Influence 2014, Australian Financial Review, 2 October 2014.

100 Women of Influence Awards showcase remarkable array of talent, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 October 2014.

Interview with Louise Maher on ABC 666 Radio Canberra:

Chief Scientific Officer wins Victoria prize for Science and Innovation

August 27, 2014MichaelLatest NewsComments Off on Chief Scientific Officer wins Victoria prize for Science and Innovation

The 2014 Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in Life Sciences has been awarded to Professor Ashley Bush for his outstanding contributions to the field of translational neuroscience.

The award recognises Professor Bush’s work exploring how key proteins and metals interact to contribute to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Victorian Innovation Minister Louise Asher in announcing the prize said, “Professor Bush is internationally renowned for his outstanding body of work on translational neuroscience, which has included findings on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of metal biology in degenerative brain diseases.”

Professor Bush is the Chief Scientific Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health, providing scientific oversight and advice on the CRC’s research into mental health diseases, psychoses and mood disorders. He is also Director of the Oxidation Biology Unit at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, and an NHMRC Australia Fellow.

The Victoria Prizes are awarded annually by the Victorian Government to outstanding science leaders in Victoria. They celebrate leadership, determination, endeavour and creativity, and highlight the world-class scientific research happening in Victoria.

Prof Ashley Bush CRC Mental Health Victoria Prize

Victorian Innovation Minister Louise Asher, Professor Ashley Bush, Professor Frank Caruso (winner for Physical Sciences) and the 2014 Victoria Fellowship winners. Photo credit: Veski,