Cadence M - Research Team

Professor Michael Berk

Professor Michael Berk

Coordinating Principal Investigator

IMPACT Strategic Research Centre, Deakin University/Barwon Health

Professor Michael Berk is currently a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Principal Research Fellow, and is Alfred Deakin Chair of Psychiatry at Deakin University and Barwon Health, where he heads the IMPACT Strategic Research Centre. He also is an Honorary Professorial Research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health and Orygen Youth Health at Melbourne University, as well as in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University.

He is past president of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders and the Australasian Society or Bipolar and Depressive Disorders.

He is an Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) highly cited researcher who has published over 700 papers predominantly in mood disorders.

His major interests are in the discovery and implementation of novel therapies, and risk factors and prevention of psychiatric disorders. He is the recipient of a number of grants, including National Institutes of Health (US), Simon Autism Foundation, NHMRC CRE and project grants, Beyondblue, Stanley Medical Research Institute awards, and is a lead investigator in a Collaborative Research Centre.


Professor John McGrath

Professor John McGrath

Principal Investigator

Queensland Brain Institute/Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

Professor John McGrath received his medical degree from the University of Queensland. After working as a community-based psychiatrist, he moved into full-time research, becoming the Director of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in 1990. He holds appointments at The University of Queensland Department of Psychiatry and the Queensland Brain Institute.

His research aims to generate and evaluate nongenetic risk factors for schizophrenia. He has forged productive cross-disciplinary collaborations linking risk factor epidemiology with developmental neurobiology (e.g. using animal models to explore candidate exposures). In addition, he has supervised major systematic reviews of the incidence, prevalence and mortality of schizophrenia.

He has won several national and international awards including the Premier's Award for Medical Research, a Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency, the Organon Senior Research Award, and the Founders’ Medal from the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research. The Australian government awarded John a Centenary Medal in 2003 and in 2007 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). He is an Associate Editor for Schizophrenia Bulletin, and is on the editorial boards of several international journals. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles.


Andrea Baker

Andrea Baker

Study Coordinator

Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

Andrea Baker is a clinical nurse consultant and is currently the study coordinator for the CADENCE-BZ clinical trial. She has completed her Masters in Mental Health and a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Health. Andrea has worked in health for 27 years, gaining clinical expertise in a variety of areas including mental health.

More recently Andrea has developed clinical expertise in research. For example she coordinated a high profile national schizophrenia research study (Survey of High Impact Psychosis - SHIP) in 2010 under the supervision of Professor John McGrath, which lead to further coordinating positions within Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research.  Andrea has experience in supervision, support and coordination of staff and is proficient in Good Clinical Research Practice.

Associate Professor James Scott

Associate Professor James Scott

Associate Investigator (Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital)

Associate Professor James Scott is a child and adolescent psychiatrist whose main focus of research is broadly encapsulated under (i) child and adolescent mental health and (ii) early psychosis.

He has extensive clinical and research experience in areas of child and adolescent mental health including depression, anxiety, aggression, self harm, developmental disorders and pharmacotherapy. His research interests in early psychosis are prevention, phenomenology and treatment options.

James is currently engaged in a programme of research examining psychotic-like experiences in otherwise healthy individuals, mental health outcomes of bullying in adolescents, the role of cytokines in adolescent depression, the outcomes of early intervention in young children with autism and the outcomes of adolescents experiencing their first episode of psychosis.

The programmes are a combination of clinical work with patient samples and epidemiological studies in collaboration with large mental health surveys and birth cohort studies.

Associate Professor Seetal Dodd

Dr Seetal Dodd

Associate Investigator (University Hospital Geelong)

Associate Professor Seetal Dodd is a Clinical Associate Professor with the School of Medicine, Deakin University, a Principal Fellow with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, and holds a full-time permanent staff position with Barwon Health.

He has published over 170 articles in peer reviewed journals and is on the editorial board of several scientific journals, including being Editor in Chief of the journal Current Drug Safety.

He has over 20 years of research experience, originally at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne, from 1990-2001, and at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, from 2001-2002. He is currently a researcher at Barwon Health, Geelong where he has been based since 2003.

Throughout his career his research has included a broad range of psychiatry research projects, ranging from laboratory based psychopharmacology research involving rats, cells, enzymes and analytical techniques, through to clinical trials, observational studies and other non-laboratory techniques. His interests include treatments for psychiatric disorders, focusing on mood disorders as well as drug safety and efficacy, substance use, focussing on tobacco use, and staging and neuroprogression of mental illness.


Dr Olivia Dean

Dr Olivia Dean

Associate Investigator (IMPACT SRC, Deakin University)

Dr Dean is currently the Director of the Clinical Trials Division at the Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatments Strategic Research Centre (IMPACT SRC), based at the School of Medicine, Deakin University.

Dr Dean has been responsible for the successful completion of a multitude of clinical trials, including both national and international sites.

Over the past seven years, Dr Dean has developed a research program focusing on novel therapies for psychiatric disorders. The program integrates preclinical multidisciplinary approaches to clinical trials to understand the biological underpinnings of mental illness, specifically depression. The multifaceted research program allows verification of target engagement and thus identification of targets for novel therapies.

Dr Dean is committed to disseminating findings through the media and to consumer groups to better understand mental illness. Ultimately, the program aims to identify novel treatment options, but lead to the identification of risk factors informing disease prevention.

Dr Frances Dark

Dr Frances Dark

Associate Investigator (Princess Alexandra Hospital)

Dr Dark has been a psychiatrist working at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for 23 years. She is Acting Director of Rehabilitation, Metro South Health Service which includes the Mobile Intensive Rehabilitation teams in Logan and PAH, Early Psychosis team PAH, Clinical Care Unit Coorparoo, Transitional Housing Team and Casuarina Lodge, Wynnum. Dr Dark is also Director of the State-wide Deafness and Hard of Hearing Team, and Chair of the State-wide Early Psychosis Advisory Group.

Dr Dark has a particular interest in psychosocial therapies for psychosis and trains in cognitive remediation and cognitive behavioural therapy for psychosis. She is a DBT therapist and together with the State-wide Deafness and Hard of Hearing Team, has been involved in modifying DBT for this population.

Dr Dark was until recently on the board of MIFQ, resigning to begin a late life PhD.