Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction

Our vision is to build communities free from the burden of disorders of the brain for better health and better lives.

Our researchers and collaborators focus on the prevention, treatment, cure and care of brain and nerve disorders. We improve the lives of patients by including and drawing upon our solid relationships with communities. Together, we work towards the common goal of better health and better lives.

Doctor with brain scans


Our researchers seek to prevent, treat, cure and care for a broad range of neurological, mental health and addiction disorders. Our strength lies in building effective networks of collaborative research. By working with and alongside patient communities we can better translate our research outcomes into real-world solutions that improve their quality of life.


We lead the way in both understanding and treating complex clinical conditions that have physical, behavioural, mental and social dimensions.

Plastic model of human brain


Dr Michelle Torok

Dr Michelle Torok, née Tye, works on suicide prevention. She addresses the current major gaps in the availability, implementation, and accessibility of interventions to prevent suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Sub themes

The Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme is led by Scientia Professor Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute and Dr Julia Lappin from the UNSW School of Psychiatry and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). Key areas of focus include:

  • 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

The Complex and Difficult to Treat Diseases sub-theme is led by Professor Peter Schofield from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Professor Philip Ward from the UNSW School of Psychiatry. Key areas of focus include:

  • schizophrenia and related psychoses
  • bipolar disorder
  • treatment resistant depression
  • trauma related conditions
  • alcohol and drug addictions and their comorbidities
  • behavioural change in the context of lifestyle and social adversity

The Healthy Ageing sub-theme is led by Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) and Professor Meera Agar from Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT) at the University of Technology Sydney. Key areas of focus include:

  • 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

The Brain Sciences and Translational Neuroscience sub-theme is led by Scientia Professor Bernard Balleine from the UNSW School of Psychiatry, Scientia Professor Nigel Lovell from the UNSW School of Biomedical Engineering and Professor Gary Housley from the UNSW School of Medical Sciences. Key areas of focus include:

  • the interface of regulation and emotion
  • executive function and decision-making
  • the mind / machine nexus
  • neural coding, therapeutics and prosthetics
  • neuromodulation and stimulation strategies

Neuroscience, Mental Health & Addiction Newsletter

We work closely with the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) on a monthly newsletter. Subscribe to receive information on grants, events and news from our combined network beyond UNSW Medicine & Health.

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Initiatives & Funding

Current initiatives in place to support research in the Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction theme, including how to apply and the deadlines for applications.

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Governance & Contacts

Our Strategic Advisory Group for Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction research includes leadership from clinicians, academics and the SPHERE network.

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