Therapeutic Innovations in Affective Disorders

Project Details

The group based at the Melbourne Clinic is focussed on research in treatments for affective disorders in the areas of psychopharmacology, pharmacogenomics, lifestyle interventions, integrative mental health models, nutraceuticals, and brain stimulation. The clinical research areas include major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, treatment resistant mood disorder, anxiety disorders and related disorders.

Currently the research unit is conducting several double-blind randomised control trials (RCTs) using conventional and novel pharmacotherapies for affective and anxiety disorders. Interventions studied include both pharmaceutical psychopharmacological agents and nutraceuticals.  A major  focus of the unit's research includes the study of pharmacogenomics, to examine potential genetic markers of treatment response and the prediction of efficacy and tolerability. Of note, one of the key focus is  nutraceutical and lifestyle medicine mental health research, and the unit is involved in several NHMRC-funded multi-centre projects testing novel nutraceutical compounds to improve mood or reduce anxiety in people with psychiatric disorders (see Arcadia research group).

The Melbourne Clinic Professorial Unit is involved in a number of collaborations in Victoria, nationally and internationally in Asia, Europe, and the USA.


Healthscope Professor of Psychiatry Professor Chee Ng

Honorary Principal Research Fellow, A/Prof Jerome Sarris,

Senior Lecturer, Dr Joel King
Research Coordinator, Nathan Dowling
Clinical Trials Co-ordinator, Dr Jenifer Murphy

Research Assistants and Students

Ms Gina Oliver
Ms Samantha Galea
Mr Lachlan Cribb
Ms Melanie Aston
Ms Karen Savage
Ms Tanya Freijy
Ms Rosie Arnold
Ms Alison Cullen

Clinical Associates and Research Staff

Dr Richard Bonwick
Dr Scott Blair West
Dr Chia Huang
Dr Ranjit Menon
Dr Perry Short
Dr Lev Botvinik
A/Prof Amgad Tanaghow



Deakin University/Barwon Health
Monash University (Brain and Mental Health Laboratory)
Australian Catholic University
Swinburne University
UNSW & Black Dog Institute
University of Queensland
University of Western Australia


Peking University Institute of Mental Health
National University Singapore
College of Medicine, Korea University
Chinese University of Hong Kong
University of Macau
University of Rochester


    NHMRC Project Grant APP 1121510 (2017) Efficacy of Garcinia mangostana Linn pericarp for bipolar depression
    NHMRC Project Grant APP 1104460 (2016): N-acetyl cysteine for the treatment of OCD: 24 double-blind RCT
    NHMRC Project Grant APP1063383 (2014): Kava in the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A 16 week RCT
    NHMRC Project Grant APP1048222 (2012): The Efficacy of S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) in Depression

Research Outcomes

The Melbourne Clinic Professorial Unit has collaboratively produced over 100 publications in past five years. See below for a list of selected publications.

Research Publications

Bousman CA, Sarris J, Won ES, Chang HS, Singh AB, Ng CH. Escitalopram efficacy: A cross-ethnic examination of the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 2014; 34(5): 645-8.

Ng CH, Bousman C, Smith DJ, Dowling N, Byron K, King J, Sarris J. Prospective Study of serotonin and norepinephrine transporter genes and the Response to Desvenlafaxine over 8 Weeks in Major Depressive Disorder. Pharmacopsychiatry 2016;49(5):210-212.

Sarris J, Murphy J, Mischoulon D, Papakostas GI, Fava M, Berk M, Ng CH. Adjunctive Nutrient Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analyses. American Journal of Psychiatry 2016;173(6):575-87.

Zhang L, Zhang QE, Zhao Q, Wang G, Ungvari GS, Ng CH, Chiu HFK, Yu X, Fan YR, Li HC, Yang HC, Tan QR, Xu XF, Xiang YT (2017). Duration of untreated bipolar disorder: a multicenter study. Scientific Reports;7:44811. doi: 10.1038/srep44811

Bousman CA, Forbes M, Jayaram M, Eyre H, Reynolds C, Berk M, Hopwood M, Ng CH (2017). Antidepressant prescribing in the precision medicine era: A prescriber’s primer on pharmacogenetic tools. BMC Psychiatry;17(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1230-5

Research Group

Melbourne Clinic Research

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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