Testing a dynamic neural model of impaired medial prefrontal cortex function in youth depression

Research Opportunity
PhD, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Future
Department
Psychiatry
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Ben Harrison habj@unimelb.edu.au (+613) 83441959 Personal web page
A/Prof Chris Davey c.davey@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Project Details

Overview  People with anxiety disorders experience fear that is excessive and disproportionate to their current circumstances – they have difficulty regulating their fear responses. Recent work by our team has shown that successful fear regulation relies on the coordinated activity of an extended ‘ventromedial prefrontal cortex system’ that mediates adaptive emotional responses to perceived threat and safety signals.

This project will combine functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychophysiological monitoring and advanced brain connectivity analysis, to develop a unified neural systems model of human fear regulation that will be applied to the study of three clinical anxiety disorders in young people. We will test the hypothesis that these disorders are characterised by mostly common alterations of this underlying neural system.

The capacity of the model to predict clinical outcomes over a 12-month period will also be assessed. This project will represent the most comprehensive neuroscientific study of fear regulatory processes in people with anxiety disorders. Its results may inform the discovery of novel brain systems targets with direct relevance to the optimisation of treatments.

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the supervisor to discuss your options.



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Psychiatry

Research Group / Unit / Centre