UNSW Medicine's thematic approach to research draws on the strengths of UNSW Medicine as well as internal and external partners to achieve significant breakthroughs in crucial areas of healthcare.

Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction


The UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme aims to address the burdens imposed by neurological, mental health, and drug and alcohol disorders. It constitutes a network of internationally recognised researchers and clinicians leading in the understanding and treatment of complex clinical conditions with physical, behavioural, mental and social dimensions.

Our Vision: Better Health, Better Lives: Building communities free from the burden of disorders of the brain.
Our Mission: To prevent, treat, cure and care for a broad range of neurological, mental health and addictive disorders by building effective networks of engaged communities undertaking collaborative research that translates into real-world solutions and improves the quality of life of those affected by those disorders.

Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction consists of four sub-themes and two priority areas.



Children and Adolescent Wellbeing

Key areas of focus:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Prevention, identification and treatment of depression and anxiety
  • Substance use and abuse
  • Psychobiological risk and resilience in response to early adversity
  • Mental health literacy in children and adolescents


Complex and Difficult to Treat Diseases

Key areas of focus:

  • Schizophrenia and related psychoses
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Treatment resistant depression
  • Trauma related conditions
  • Alcohol and drug addictions and their co-morbidities
  • Behavioural change in the context of lifestyle and social adversity


Healthy Ageing

Key areas of focus:

  • Cognitive ageing (including dementia)
  • Prevention and treatment of frailty, immobility and falls
  • Pain management in older people
  • Mental health and positive ageing
  • Biology, prevention and treatment of delirium
  • Stroke prevention and treatments
  • Alcohol and prescription opioids in the elderly


Brain Sciences and Translational Neuroscience

Key areas of focus:

  • The interface of regulation and emotion
  • Executive function and decision-making
  • The mind – machine nexus
  • Neural coding
  • Neural therapeutics
  • Neural prosthetics
  • Neuromodulation and stimulation strategies


Priority areas:

Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing
Innovations in Health Technology (Living Lab)


UNSW Medicine leads multidisciplinary education, research and translation programs recognised for their impact and outcomes. This includes activities undertaken in partnership across UNSW Faculties and Schools, with affiliated independent Medical Research Institutes (MRIs) and state and federal Healthcare and Health Service providers. In support of effective research partnerships, research activities are now pursued through the lens of four thematic areas:

  • Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction
  • Cancer
  • Infectious Disease, Immunity and Inflammation
  • Non-communicable Diseases

The thematic approach recognises that multidisciplinary programs involving larger, coordinated research teams are required to most effectively address contemporary health challenges. The aim is to leverage, focus and build scale on current and emergent strengths of UNSW Medicine, internal and external partners to achieve significant breakthroughs in areas of health that are of high importance to our society.