CRC for Mental Health

Biobanks are large collections of biological samples such as blood or tissue samples which are held for use in research. The CRC is involved with, or establishing, large cohorts of more than 1000 volunteers for prospective studies for research into Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and mood disorders. These biobanks will allow us to confirm the accuracy of discovered biomarkers in real populations, and ensure our research discoveries are integrated into medical and health care practice.

The CRC for Mental Health’s Biobanks Committee provides ethical and legal oversight for all CRC operated biobanks, ensuring that the important contribution patient volunteers have made is recognised.

Clinical Data Management

The CRC is in the process of developing an integrated clinical data management system in collaboration with the data management company Arcitecta. This system will allow efficient management and analysis and secure sharing of the CRC’s biobank data. The infographics below provide an overview of how the system will function to benefit CRC research. More information on the CRC’s collaboration with Arcitecta can be found here.


Case study on clinical data management in the CRC for Mental Health. Case study on clinical data management in the CRC for Mental Health.

The CRC for Mental Health has projects which use the valuable information provided by volunteers in the cohorts below:

Australian Parkinson’s Disease Registry

The Australian Parkinson’s Disease Registry is a collaborative endeavour set up by researchers across Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales, and is managed by the CRC for Mental Health. The registry provides a cohort of volunteers with and without Parkinson’s disease who have provided blood and DNA samples for use as a research platform for Australian and international researchers.

Treatment-resistant Schizophrenia Cohort

Around a third of people with schizophrenia do not respond to the first-line treatment options currently available. This cohort, set up by the CRC, consists of three groups: volunteers whose schizophrenia is resistant to currently available first-line treatment, first degree relatives of these volunteers who do not have schizophrenia, and unrelated individuals who do not have schizophrneia. Blood, RNA and DNA samples, neuroimaging data and other clinical assessment information are collected and maintained by the CRC for use in the identification of biomarkers to assist in developing targeted treatments.

Australian Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL)

The CRC for Mental Health uses information from the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing (AIBL), a longitudinal study of ageing comprised of volunteers with Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and no mental health diseases. For more information about AIBL, including a full list of partner organisations, see

The AIBL research team are finalists for the 2014 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research. Watch a video on AIBL prepared by the Australian Museum below.