Florey-MSPS-Orygen Joint Colloquium

More Information

Elise Kalokerinos

elise.kalokerinos@unimelb.edu.au

We are delighted to be able to announce the first joint colloquium with the Florey, MSPS and Orygen. This event will provide additional opportunities to develop collaborations between these three research centres. The session will also be open to students who are part of the Mental Health PhD programme.

DETAILS

  • Thursday 26 November 2020
  • 9:00am – 12:30pm AEDT

If you have any queries about the event, please email research@orygen.org.au

PRESENTATION SCHEDULE

09:00 – 9:10am - Welcome

09:10 – 9:40am - Dr Thibault (Tibo) Renoir (Florey)
Environmental and pharmacological modulation of affective-like behaviours

09:40 – 10:10am - Dr Jacqueline Anderson (MSPS)      
Psychological, cognitive and physical factors contributing to recovery after mild traumatic brain injury in premorbidly healthy adults

10:10 – 10:40am - Dr Gillinder Bedi (Orygen)  
Early intervention and new treatments for substance use disorders in young people

10:40 – 10:50am - Break

10:50 – 11:20am - Dr Trevor Steward (MSPS)    
The neurobiology of emotion regulation deficits and repetitive negative thinking across psychiatric disorders

11:20 – 11:50am - Dr Imogen Bell (Orygen)
New frontiers at Orygen: Virtual reality as an innovative tool for advancing youth mental health research

11:50am – 12:20pm - Dr Robyn Brown (Florey)      
Why do women overeat? Characterizing a model of ‘emotional’ binge eating in female mice

12:20 – 12:30 pm - Wrap up

PRESENTATION INFORMATION

Dr Thibault (Tibo) Renoir (Florey)
Environmental and pharmacological modulation of affective-like behaviours

Dr Thibault Renoir completed his PhD at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in France, before joining Prof Tony Hannan’s group in Melbourne in 2009. He currently holds a NHMRC Dementia Fellowship and leads the ‘Genes, Environment and Behaviour Laboratory’ at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. Using animal models, Dr Renoir’s research aims to understand how both environmental factors and genetic makeup can influence behaviours. This includes assessing how stress and exercise can impact affective-like behaviours and cognitive function in rodents as well as studying molecular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington disease. Dr Renoir has published 54 publications (˃1800 citations) and raised over $3 million in highly competitive funding schemes. Ultimately, Dr Renoir’s projects seek to identify new targets for future therapies.

Dr Jacqueline Anderson (MSPS)
Psychological, cognitive and physical factors contributing to recovery after mild traumatic brain injury in premorbidly healthy adults.

Approximately 200,000 individuals experience a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) each year in Australia. The majority of these cases are individuals who have suffered either road trauma or work place injury, but there is limited research relating to this group. Understanding of those who were pre-morbidly healthy adults (i.e. no drug and/or alcohol or psychiatric history) is even more limited. This presentation will describe results from a multi-disciplinary longitudinal study that is being carried out at The Alfred hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital, which is examining factors contributing to recovery after mTBI in pre-morbidly healthy adults. A comprehensive examination of psychological, cognitive, affective and physical factors as well as subjective and objective outcome, was undertaken with pre-morbidly healthy adults with mTBI and well-matched pre-morbidly healthy trauma control (TC) participants. Radiological and neuropsychological data will be presented to highlight some of the psychological, cognitive and physical factors that are contributing to recovery after mTBI in pre-morbidly healthy adults. Some of the clinical implications of these findings will be discussed.

Dr Jacqueline Anderson is a clinician researcher in Clinical Neuropsychology in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and a Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist at The Alfred hospital. She conducts research into the neuropsychological consequences of subcortical dysfunction. Her research interests are particularly focussed on investigating attention, working memory and executive function changes as a consequence of subcortical damage in individuals with mild traumatic brain injury and subcortical stroke. She is also interested in understanding how neuropathological changes interact with cognitive, physical and psychological factors to impact an individual’s outcome.

Dr Gillinder Bedi  (Orygen)
Early intervention and new treatments for substance use disorders in young people

Dr Gillinder Bedi is a Senior Research Fellow (Addiction and Youth Mental Health) at Orygen and the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, and a psychologist at headspace Glenroy. She joined Orygen in 2017 to lead the development of a clinical drug and alcohol research program. Gill completed graduate training in clinical psychology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, investigating cognitive function and mood in ecstasy and marijuana users. Her postdoctoral research, which focused on characterizing the acute effects of MDMA (ecstasy) in humans, was undertaken at the University of Chicago. From 2009 until 2017, she was a faculty member in the Division on Substance Use Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute in NYC. Gill’s research interests include emerging substance use disorders in young people, behavioural pharmacology of substance use and abuse, and neurobehavioral processes contributing to the onset and maintenance of substance use disorders.

Dr Trevor Steward (MSPS)
The neurobiology of emotion regulation deficits and repetitive negative thinking across psychiatric disorders

Whether it’s a binge eating episode or a gambling relapse, individuals often engage in maladaptive behaviors while experiencing emotional distress. This presentation will provide an overview of neuroimaging studies exploring how the psychopathology of seemingly distinct disorders may be underpinned by shared alterations in the neural networks supporting the regulation of negative affect. Here, I will contrast the findings of recent research on the functional and structural neural mechanisms of emotion regulation in individuals with obesity to studies carried out in patients with gambling disorder, as well as in patients with anorexia nervosa. Emphasis will be placed on how differences in neurobiological function across disorders can be harnessed to identify vulnerable subgroups of patients and to predict treatment outcome. Last, I will provide a discussion on how advances in ultra high-field 7 Telsa MRI technology are being used to shed light on the subcortical brain mechanisms that drive repetitive negative thinking.

Trevor Steward is a NHRMC/MRFF Fellow at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. His research focuses on using ultra high-field 7T MRI technology to understand how subcortical regions of the brain contribute to common symptoms found across psychiatric disorders. Although the majority of his research to date has examined the neuropsychopathology of eating disorders, he also conducted studies on gambling disorder, PTSD, and obesity. His aim is to leverage neuroimaging tools to inform brain-based treatments and to predict individual clinical outcomes.

Dr Imogen Bell (Orygen)
New frontiers at Orygen: Virtual reality as an innovative tool for advancing youth mental health research

Through the window of a head mounted device, virtual reality (VR) transports users into a highly controlled virtual environment where interactions with objects and avatars can provide a powerfully immersive experience. The application of VR in mental health treatment and research is far reaching, and centres on the capacity for highly controlled exposure to near-natural environments from the safety and convenience of a headset. Exploring the potential of VR for youth mental health is the focus of a new stream of research at Orygen, led by Dr Imogen Bell, A/Prof Andrew Thompson and Prof Mario Alvarez-Jimenez. This presentation will provide an overview of how VR has been used within mental health research, alongside some recent developments at Orygen, including current research projects and prototypes, and a brief look at designs for a new state-of-the-art VR space currently being built at Parkville.

Dr Imogen Bell is a research fellow and psychologist based in Orygen Digital. Her research investigates the use of novel digital technologies to enhance youth mental health care, with a particular focus on virtual reality and smartphone apps.

Dr Robyn Brown (Florey)
Why do women overeat? Characterizing a model of ‘emotional’ binge eating in female mice

Overeating of highly palatable food is a major contributing factor to obesity and related health complications. For women in particular, negative emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, and loneliness have been shown to strongly influence eating behaviour and bingeing episodes. Despite this knowledge there is a paucity of research investigating the neurobiology underlying emotional and stress related bingeing, particularly in female subjects. This is primarily due to a lack of suitable animal models and the historical focus of neuroscientific studies on male subjects. Dr Brown will describe a model of emotional stress-induced binge eating her team has developed in mice that does not depend on caloric restriction, a behaviour they have observed specifically in female mice. This behaviour is not oestrogen-dependent as it is not impacted by ovariectomy. Dr Brown will describe the neural correlates and putative networks driving this behaviour which is has been investigated using a multidisciplinary approach.

Robyn Brown is an ARC DECRA Fellow and head of the Neural Plasticity & Motivated Behaviour Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne. She completed a PhD at Monash University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Commerce/Science (honours) in 2004 at University of Melbourne. In 2011 she was awarded a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship from the American Australian Association to go and undertake postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Peter Kalivas in the USA where she contributed to a number of high impact studies investigating neuroplasticity in drug addiction. The current research focus of her laboratory is investigating the neural mechanisms underlying pathological forms of motivated behaviour such as compulsive forms of eating and drug addiction.