Program Coordinator of Mental Health Research
Professor Michael Breakspear is the inaugural Program Coordinator of Mental Health Research at QIMR Berghofer and plays a key strategic role within the Institute in the establishment and expansion of mental health and neuroscience research.
He is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, an adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Queensland and a consultant Psychiatrist at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
Clinical psychiatry today faces a number of key challenges and limitations: Chief amongst these is the trial-and-error approach to treatment and the founding of nosology on clusters (“syndromes”) of clinician-attained symptoms. Professor Breakspear is contributing to the transformation of psychiatry into a quantitative, biologically informed scientific discipline.
Towards this goal he has contributed novel imaging-based diagnostic tests for dementia, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.He has contributed to the fundamental principles of systems neuroscience and the theoretical basis of psychiatric nosology. He continues an active clinical role in prison mental health and pursues an active public awareness campaign through QIMR Berghofer to redress the stigma of mental illness.
Figure: Weak structural subnetwork on young people at high genetic risk of bipolar disorder. From Roberts G/Perry A, Lord A, Frankland A, Levy F, Lenroot R, Mitchell PB, Breakspear M (2016) Structural dysconnectivity of key cognitive and emotional hubs in young people at high genetic risk for bipolar disorder (2016) Molecular Psychiatry.