Leading mood disorders researcher scoops national award

Leading mood disorders researcher scoops national award

7 September 2021

Associate Professor Lianne Schmaal, head of mood and anxiety disorders research at Orygen, is the recipient of the 2021 Aubrey Lewis Award.

The annual award by Biological Psychiatry Australia recognises outstanding achievement by an individual researcher within the first 10 years of post-doctoral work.

The honour recognises Associate Schmaal’s research in uncovering brain mechanisms associated with depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Associate Professor Schmaal said she was grateful to receive the award. “It highlights the importance of a better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours, so that we can identify new treatment targets.”

At Orygen, Associate Professor Schmaal leads a research team whose work seeks to understand why some people develop depression or suicidal behaviours, why some have a persistent or recurrent course of these disorders, and why some people respond better to treatment than others.

“If we can identify clinical, psychosocial, genetic and neurobiological risk factors for these different course trajectories of depression and suicidal behaviours, we will be better able to provide the right treatment to the right person at the right time.”

Dr Schmaal also leads the two largest neuroimaging consortia on depression and suicidal behaviours worldwide, the ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the ENIGMA Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours (STB) consortia.

As part of her award, Associate Professor Schmaal will deliver the keynote presentation at the annual Biological Psychiatry Australia Society conference in Brisbane from 25 to 27 October.