Department of Psychiatry Academic Seminar Series

Professor Chris Davey, Head, Department of Psychiatry is pleased to extend an invitation to our Academic Seminar Series. This is a joint presentation between the Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, NorthWestern Mental Health, and The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

2022 Seminars

16 November 2022
Title: Neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 and long covid

Guest Presenter: A/Professor Mahesh Jayaram

  • “The presentation outlined the impact of COVID-19 on the brain and associated psychiatric manifestations. It also discussed what is long COVID and potential mechanism of action for the complex presentation of long covid symptoms as well as potential treatment options”.
  • Video Link  TBC
2 November 2022
Title: Studies of the immune system in psychosis

Guest Presenter: Dr Vanessa Cropley

  • Although it is recognised that the immune system is implicated in the pathophysiology of psychosis, the relationship is complex, and our understanding remains incomplete. In this talk, Vanessa will describe her work investigating the immune system in people living with psychosis. This work will include studies investigating microglia using positron emission tomography, clinical studies examining the influence of peripheral cytokines on brain structure, and recent studies examining the complement system in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in people at various stages of illness. The work presented has implications for better understanding immunological disturbances in people with psychosis which may lay the foundations for alternative treatment targets.
  • Video link
19 October 2022
Title:  “The Tuning in to Kids® program: Group, one to one and online delivery for parents of children with challenging behaviours”.

Guest Presenter:  Prof. Sophie Havighurst

  • An introduction to TIK was provided. In addition, Sophie spoke about some of the experiences the team encountered in taking the program from research to dissemination. As part of dissemination, evidence-based programs are often adapted and fit to a wide range of contexts and using different methods of delivery. Findings were presented from a randomised controlled trial where the team compared TIK delivered in a group, one to one and online delivery in order to illustrate some of the complexity of program use.
  • Video Link
5 October 2022 - Graduate Student Symposium: Mental Health PhD Program
Title: “Public understanding of mental disorders”

Guest presenters:

  • Jesse Tse, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, presented about a study investigating lay concepts of mental disorders. Participants in the study made judgments about vignettes describing people with DSM-5 disorders and non-DSM phenomena. Data revealed the relative inclusiveness of labels and features that were associated with disorder judgement. Findings clarify important issues surrounding public understanding of mental health and illness.
  • Krista Fisher, Centre for Youth Mental Health, presented findings from a grounded theory study aiming to examine the experiences of young men with anxiety. Study findings highlight the often-long-term course of anxiety whereby young men reflect on understanding their anxious experiences through a lens of their masculine socialisation. Findings suggest that young men ultimately accepted the fluctuating presence of anxiety, rather than searching for a 'cure' to alleviate symptoms.
  • Elise Carrotte, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences; SANE Australia, discussed the design of a podcast aiming to reduce listeners’ stigmatising attitudes towards people living with complex mental health issues. The study involved a Co-Design Committee of Peer Ambassadors, healthcare professionals, media professionals, and workplace mental health champions. The co-design process allowed participants to design episodes that have potential to maximise strengths and minimise limitations of the podcast format. Once produced, the podcast will be evaluated for its impact on stigmatising attitudes.
  • Video Link not available
7 September 2022
Title: “Treatment discovery for mood disorders; from stem cells to clinical translation

Guest  Presenter:- Prof. Michael Berk

  • Topic: There is a drought in new treatment development notwithstanding a major unmet need for most disorders. This presentation highlights pathways to the development of novel therapies focusing on repurposing existing safe and tolerable agents. There are several potentially productive pathways for treatment development. Firstly, we have developed an innovative treatment discovery model using stem cell cultures by reverse-engineering the effects of combinations of known treatments in terms of their effects on global gene expression and have detected key lead compounds. These are validated in pharmacoepidemiology and preclinical models. Secondly, inflammatory and oxidative and nitrosative processes, altered neurogenesis and apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction are important in the aetiology and progression neuropsychiatric disorders. The presence of increased inflammatory activity, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction as well as altered neurogenesis in bipolar disorder has deleterious sequelae that include lipid peroxidation, DNA fragmentation, telomere shortening, protein carbonylation, reduced neurogenesis and vulnerability to apoptosis and hence structural and cognitive changes. Importantly, these pathways are potentially druggable, and thus suggest novel therapeutic opportunities. Drug repurposing overcomes many of the obstacles to treatment development, and many lead compounds are showing promise.
  • Video Link
10  August 2022
Title: "The role of the social environment in shaping child and adolescent brain development"

Guest Presenter: Professor Sarah Whittle

  • Topic:  The early social environment (e.g., relationships with parents, experiences of adversity) has profound effects on child development, with implications for mental health across the lifespan. In this talk, the neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking social environmental factors and mental health outcomes will be described. The work presented has implications for better understanding risk and resilience processes underlying mental health in young people.
  • Video Link [not available]
22 June 2022
Title: Eating and Body-image Disorders: An Update’

Guest Presenter: Dr Scott Griffiths

  • Topic: In this talk, Dr Griffiths discussed novel manifestations of eating and body image disorders, together with current trends in appearance enhancement and appearance discrimination.
  • Video link recording
8 June 2022
Title: ‘Prevention and Early Intervention for Personality Disorder: Easier Than You Think’

Guest Presenter: Prof. Andrew Chanen

25 May 2022
Title: 'Therapeutic Brain Stimulation for Depression’

Guest Presenter: Dr Robin Cash PhD

11 May 2022
Title: 'Women's Mental Health: Where have we been? Where are we going?’

Guest Presenter: Prof. Jayashri Kulkarni MBBS MPM PhD FRANZCP FAHMS AM

13 April 2022
Title:The neurobiology of cognitive restructuring negative self-beliefs and its relevance to binge-eating behaviours’

Guest Presenter: Dr Trevor Steward BSci(Psychology) MNeuro MDNeuro PhD

30 March 2022
Title: 'The Markers in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Study: A simple blood test to improve timely and accurate diagnosis of dementia (and other conditions of the mind and brain)?'

Guest Presenter: Dr Dhamidhu Eratne, BHB MCChB FRANZCP

  • Topic: In this talk, Dr Eratne shared the challenges of getting an accurate diagnosis, and precision care and treatment, faced by many people with cognitive and psychiatric symptoms and disorders – such as younger onset dementia – with significant diagnostic delay, misdiagnosis, uncertainty, and negative outcomes, and the great need for simple, widely available tests. Dr Eratne presented findings from The Markers in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Study (The MiND Study), with the ultimate aim of clinical translation, and the availability of a simple blood-screening test for neuronal injury, and other biomarkers, to dramatically improve diagnosis, care, treatment, and outcomes for patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms, their families, clinicians, clinical trials, and healthcare systems.
  • Video: Due to currently unreleased findings from Dr Eratne's research presented at this seminar, a recording is not available at this time.
16 March 2022
Title: ‘Psychotherapy Update: Meeting acute and complex needs in real-world settings

Guest Presenter: Dr Paul Cammell MA MBBS (Hons) FRANZCP PhD

  • Topic: In this talk, Dr Cammell discussed his experiences of applying psychotherapeutic approaches in his roles in the public and private sectors as a clinical lead in emergency mental-health and post-discharge services, a research lead for a state-wide personality disorder service, and as a private practitioner. Building on this, he described a range of contexts in which psychiatrists can provide expert psychotherapeutic leadership, and champion contemporary, evidence-based approaches, giving examples of roles, approaches, and professional-development opportunities. Dr Cammell discussed a range of models of psychotherapy, including brief, structured therapies and contemporary models of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He described how this is all increasingly important in meeting the mental-health needs of the Australian and New Zealand communities and, in particular, the needs of what has been termed the ‘missing middle’.
  • Video: Please follow this link to view the recording of this session in our YouTube playlist.