Dr Isabel Krug

The MSPS Eating Disorder Lab

My name is Isabel Krug. I am a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Melbourne and I lead the MSPS Eating Disorder Lab. The main focus of our lab is to improve the understanding of the genetic, neurocognitive, environmental, and psychological underpinnings of EDs. To do this we focus on transdiagnostic factors that might be shared between EDs and other mental health problems (e.g. anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders). We implement new statistical techniques (e.g. machine learning, network analyses) to improve the classification and aetiological knowledge for EDs and other mental health problems. These techniques also help us to better assess the effectiveness of the new treatment modalities for EDs (e.g. oxytocin and telemedicine), which we are currently examining.

More recently we have started to focus on Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) and Unspecified Feeding and Eating Disorders (UFED), which are two broad heterogeneous provisional diagnoses in the DSM-5 entailing a mixture of various ED symptoms making up the largest proportion of ED patients. Specifically, we are interested to assess whether they meet threshold severity to be included in the DSM, who is at risk of developing them and what interventions are helpful for people suffering from these problem sets.

Overall, our research focuses on ED presentations involving a range of populations, ranging from clinical, to non-clinical, across the age ranges, genders and from numerous cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We use numerous data collection procedures, including Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), passive data, experimental studies and online interventions. A specific strength of our research team is the integration of extensive research and clinical expertise, with the ultimate aim to improve the clinical care of patients and carers living with EDs.

Questions we try to answer on a daily basis include the following:

  • How prevalent are EDs (including OSFED, UFED) in community and clinical settings? How are they representative amongst different age groups, countries, cultures and ethnicities?
  • How are EDs (including OSFED and UFED) best classified? How can the DSM-5 classification system for EDs be improved?
  • Are there gender differences in the presentation of EDs (including OSFED and UFED)?
  • What are the biological, neurocognitive, social and environmental risk factors for EDs (including OSFED and UFED)?
  • Are there transdiagnostic factors (e.g. rumination, distress tolerance, intolerance of uncertainty) that are shared with other mental health problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders)?
  • What preventative and treatment modalities are effective for EDs (including OSFED and UFED)?
  • What intervention/support groups are available for ED careers and how helpful are they?

Involvement with the
MSPS Eating Disorder Lab

We are currently taking on new PhD students for various exciting projects within our six research domains. We also highly value the contribution of students/staff volunteering in our lab. If you are interested to apply for a PhD or would like to volunteer in our lab, please contact Dr Isabel Krug directly (isabel.krug@unimelb.edu.au). We look forward to hearing from you.

Postera Crescam Laude