From the CEO
At its core, the CRC for Mental Health is focused on impact. Our vision of success involves important and interlinked outcomes:
- A portfolio of technology development projects that are directed at innovative biomarker-based products and services that will be used by mental health clinicians.
- Ongoing collaborative research and development ventures involving partners from academia, industry and not-for-profit organisations
- A knowledge base and resources which support programs that enhance the skill of workers who provide primary care to people who live with a mental illness
- An alumni of talented, committed students, researchers and staff who are applying their considerable skills to a broad range of industry sectors.
We are now in our sixth year of funding, and have received clear direction that our Federal Government CRC Programme funding will cease in June 2018 (as per our original funding agreement). Our board and executive are now focused on ensuring a smooth and successful transition after this time - in short, how can ensure the best possible legacy and amplify the impact of the CRC's initiatives? We will continue to engage with our Participants and stakeholders on this matter over the coming two years, and invite you to share your views directly with us.
At this juncture, I wish to thank former directors Dr Daniel Grant and Dr Kate Taylor who have resigned from the CRC's Board. Both made tremendous contributions to the CRC throughout their involvement. We wish them all the very best for their future endeavours - Dr Grant has left Pfizer Australia to take up an appointment at La Trobe University as its first Pro-Vice Chancellor (Industry Engagement) and Dr Taylor continues her role as CEO and Managing Director of rapidly expanding company Oculo, which provides eye care professionals with an innovative way to share clinical information.
It is my pleasure to welcome our newest independent director, Dr Rachel David. Dr David is a former medical practitioner, with extensive experience in healthcare policy in both Government and the private sector including roles with CSL, Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and is currently CEO of Private Healthcare Australia. Her experience and expertise will be an excellent asset to the CRC for Mental Health as we continue our firm focus on a successful and impactful legacy.
- Professor Ian Cooke, CEO
New research collaboration launched with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
A new research collaboration has commenced between the CRC for Mental Health and the Baker IDI, conducting lipidomic analysis of samples from the Australian Imaging Biomarker and Lifestyle study of Ageing (AIBL).
Baker IDI researchers are leaders in lipidomic research and the collaboration will investigate biomarkers, cognitive characteristics and lifestyle factors that determine the subsequent develop of Alzheimer's disease.
Knowledge exchange project with Mercy Health
Since 2012, Mercy Place Parkville has collaborated with the CRC for Mental Health to host knowledge exchange visits between postgraduate students and staff and residents. Our most recent visit involved students presenting their research to staff, learning about Mercy Place’s operations, and meeting residents. PhD student Jenalle Baker commented, “I think we’re very fortunate to have this chance to meet and discuss our research with the people it will affect the most. It’s important to see the real world impacts our work can have.”
Kerryn Wong, Learning Manager Aged Care at Mercy Health, says the visits provide an opportunity for staff to learn about the latest research and influence young laboratory researchers to have a full understanding of aged care. “As an advocate for older people in our community living healthy and well lives, Mercy Health is committed to promoting discussion of dementia and supporting research that may advance treatment and prevention of these illnesses. The visits provide Mercy Health staff with an opportunity to hear directly from young scientists about how their research may change the future the aged care.”
The CRCMH's Publico Program matches PhD students with not-for-profit endusers to work on a short, clearly defined project.
PhD students Edith Drajkopyl, Karra Harrington and Jenalle Baker provided their expertise in study design and evaluation for a project which Mercy Health is launching using Virtual Reality technology to gives residents living with dementia transformative experiences that can prompt positive memories.
“I was impressed by the innovation of the technology and the opportunity that it offers to improve engagement and well-being for the residents living with dementia at Mercy Health,” said Karra Harrington. “I think that it is a very exciting area in dementia research and I’m interested to see how the use of VR technology in dementia care develops.”
The Publico Program provides students with a unique opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the skills they already possess, including project management, evaluation, and stakeholder engagement. This is the second trial of the program, following a successful pilot with the Reach Foundation in 2015.
Our congratulations to
- PhD student Tenielle Porter who was a finalist in the CRC Association's Early Career Research Awards. Her 30-second application video was chosen for clearly and effectively communicating her research and she subsequently spoke at Business of Innovation conference. Watch Tenielle's application video about understanding the genetic architecture of rates of change in pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease here
- PhD student Ben Scicluna, who was awarded one of three 'Featured Abstract' presentations at ISEV2016 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for "Tracking exosomal miRNA biomarkers in prion disease."