World renowned Professor Michael Berk, Chair of Psychiatry, and his team are leading the way in discovering new treatments for people with complex mental health disorders.

Founded in 2001, the Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment (IMPACT) at Barwon Health is a multidisciplinary strategic research centre that integrates clinical, epidemiological and basic research with a strong translational focus. The IMPACT team contribute to the understanding of psychiatric, musculoskeletal, metabolic and other health disorders and have a large number of major successes under their belt.

IMPACT has pioneered a drug discovery program which has resulted in new treatments for psychiatric illness and a new understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of these disorders. As an example, the team has completed the first double-blind randomised controlled trial showing that Mirtazapine, an antidepressant, reduced core symptoms of schizophrenia. This breakthrough finding is now widely used and reflected in international treatment guidelines.

Michael is deeply proud of the team and its achievements.

“Our focus is to better understand the causes of mental health problems, and contribute significantly to the development of novel therapies and preventative interventions.”

“Individuals living with mental ill health in our communities often endure significant disruptions and challenges on the path through life. The effects of mental health can be pervasive, spanning reduced quality of life, problems with family and friends, education and employment and even negative impacts upon physical health.”

The Proof and Potential

Michael Berk and his team are held in the highest regard both nationally and internationally, with many having been recipients of a number of national and international awards. Amongst many honours, Professor Berk was the recipient of the 2015 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research and was also honoured by the prestigious Institute for Scientific Information as Highly Cited Researcher and has published over 800 papers. The team has completed over 20 clinical trials of multiple novel therapies, most notably N-Acetyl Cysteine, which was shown to be useful for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and smoking cessation.


You can read more about Professor Berk and the work of his research team by clicking HERE