Pre-Conference Workshops will be held on Tuesday 6 December at University of Sydney.

Workshop Registrations are now open via the Conference Registration form

To view the Pre-Conference Workshop program click here.

Workshop one – Full day workshop

TIME: 0900 – 1630

Psychiatric Genetics – Gaining Biological insights into the Aetiology of Psychiatric Disorders

Speakers: Anna Vinkhuyzen & Enda Byrne

Anna Vinkhuyzen

Anna Vinkhuyzen completed a master’s degree in neuropsychology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. During her PhD studies (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands), she investigated the interplay between genes and environment in the context of general cognitive ability. In her postdoctoral research at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (2010-2011) and The University of Queensland (since January 2012) in Brisbane, Australia, her research focus moved from behaviour genetics to statistical genetics. Her research focusses on the interplay between genetics and environmental risk factors in the context of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and autism.

this workshop IS NO LONGER running

Tensor Imaging (DTI) in Mental Health Research: a hands on workshop on DTI data analysis

Speaker: Mayuresh Korgaonkar 

Dr. Mayuresh Korgaonkar is a NHMRC Career Development Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. He has a strong research interest in developing and using neuroimaging techniques to understand brain function and structure and how it may inform and help understand development, risk and treatment of mental disorders. He is also co-Director of the Brain Dynamics Centre at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. 


Time: 0900 – 1630

Diagnostic Interview for Psychoses (DIP) Workshop

Speaker: Assen Jablensky


Professor Assen Jablenky is the Winthrop Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Western Australia.  Prof Jablensky plays a prominent role in psychiatric epidemiology, nosology and genetics having held posts in Switzerland (WHO, Geneva), the United States (Stanford) and Bulgaria.  Amongst many other achievements he chaired the WHO committee that developed the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for mental disorders and headed the WHO Ten-country study on Schizophrenia.  Since coming to Australia he has been a chief investigator on the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. As a result of his work he developed the Diagnostic Interview for Psychoses – a structured clinical interview suitable for people with a clinical background in mental health. The workshop will train attendees in the use of the DIP, the leading diagnostic interview schedule for psychotic disorders.


TIME: 0900 – 1245

Keeping the Body in Mind: Translating Evidence into Practice to Improve Physical Health in People Experiencing Mental Illness

Speakers: Jackie Curtis and Philip Ward
 Dr Jackie Curtis is the Clinical Director of Youth Mental Health at the SESLHD, Sydney. Since 2002, she has worked with the Early Psychosis Program in Bondi and set up a Metabolic Clinic in 2006. She has presented on metabolic issues in youth with first episode psychosis both nationally and internationally and published in this area. She has facilitated a programme to ensure the integration of physical and mental health needs for youth with psychosis.  She is active in the education of mental health clinicians, GP’s and NGO’s in physical health issues in mental health. Since 2010 along with Dr David Shiers, Jackie has co-chaired the iphYs working group, which is an international working group promoting the physical health issues in youth with psychosis. She has co-led the development of the HeAL (Healthy Active Lives) declaration on the importance of an early intervention approach to preventing future poor physical health, which was formally launched in Tokyo in November 2014 and has been widely endorsed.  Jackie Curtis

Phil Ward is clinical neuroscientist whose early research career focused on understanding the neural underpinnings of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. More recently, his research interests have expanded to include evaluating the utility of lifestyle interventions to improve physical and mental health outcomes of people living with mental illness. He is the director of the Schizophrenia Research Unit, based at Liverpool Hospital in southwestern Sydney, an associate professor in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW Australia, and a member of the research faculty of the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research.

Phil Ward

WORKSHOP five – HALF day workshop

TIME: 1315 – 1730

Health Economics – integrating health economics in mental health research

Speaker: Cathy Mihalopoulos


Cathy Mihalopoulos is Associate Professor of Mental Health Economics at Deakin University and leads Australia’s first research group dedicated to the economics of mental health which specialises in the use of economic evaluation methods in the mental health care context. She is a member of the Economics Sub-Committee of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and Associate Head of Research in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin. 


TIME: 0900 – 1630

Australian Rotary Media and Presentation Training Workshop for Early Career Researchers

Speaker: Rob Morrison and Michael Sawyer
Professor Rob Morrison OAM, South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year 2008.
Professor Rob Morrison’s work as a scientist, writer and media personality has added profoundly to the promotion and understanding of science in Australia. For 25 years he has been a familiar face of science on television, as presenter of The Curiosity Show for eighteen years and appearances on The New Inventors, Nexus, Science Magazine, and Radio National’s Ockham’s Razor. He has written thirty books on science and natural history and under his stewardship the SA Royal Zoological Society has trebled its membership in six years. Rob recently helped establish SciWorld, a new science centre in Adelaide which runs exciting education programs and developed six regional science fairs and shows, including Adelaide’s National Science Week. He is recognised nationally and internationally as an outstanding science communicator and in the citation for his 2007 Australian Museum Eureka Prize Rob is described as a national treasure and a well-loved ambassador for science.

Michael Sawyer, MBBS, PhD, Dip Child Psych., FRANZCP, FRCPC is Head, Research and Evaluation Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in South Australia and Professor, Discipline of Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. He is currently Chair of the Australian Rotary Health Research Committee. He has previously been Head, Department of Paediatrics and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Professor Sawyer completed his undergraduate medical education at Monash University and his post-graduate training in psychiatry at McMaster University and the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Professor Sawyer’s research has focused on the quality of life of children with chronic illness and the epidemiology of child and adolescent mental disorders.

Professor Sawyer was the lead investigator in the Child and Adolescent Component of the National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being in Australia. He is currently lead investigator of the research team responsible for evaluating the beyondblue Schools Research Initiative.



Choosing and Designing Apps for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Speaker: David Kavanagh 


This workshop will help would-be app developers and those wishing to incorporate apps into the mental health research programs through the steps of: app scanning to determine the need for a new app, quality rating identified apps, early decisions in designing your own app, primary focus of your app, processes in participant design, steps in developing your own app, soft and hard releases of your app, and maximizing uptake and testing outcomes. Participants will need to bring their own laptop along to this practical workshop.


TIME: 1300 – 1730

The Gut Microbiome – From Associations to Diagnosis and Treatment 

Speaker: Karsten Kristiansen


At the SMHR workshop Professor Karsten Kristiansen will discuss the interaction between host and microbiota focusing on how the gut microbiota can be used for non-invasive early detection of diseases, stratification of patients for treatment, and the use of fecal microbiota transplantation for treatment. 

Karsten Kristiansen is Professor of Molecular Biology and heads the Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Biomedicine at the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen. He is also Professor and Scientific Leader of the Metagenomics Section at BGI-Shenzhen. After graduation from the University of Copenhagen, he held postdoctoral positions at the Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik in Berlin and at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Fondation Edmond de Rothschild, in Paris. He was full professor and head of Department of Molecular Biology, later Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, 1992-2005, before he was recruited as professor and Head of the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen in 2008. He served as Head of Department until March 2015, when he stepped down to be able to spend more time with BGI-Shenzhen. Central themes of the research of Professor Kristiansen concern the interaction between the host genome, the host immune system and the gut microbiota in regulating energy metabolism, and how interaction between different nutrients modulates energy homeostasis and adipocyte differentiation and function. To achieve these goals his research groups use a combination of molecular biology approaches, animal studies, metagenomics and genomics. He has published more than 270 articles in refereed journals, many of which in high ranking journals such as Science, Nature, and Cell.


TIME: 0900 – 1630

Keeping Translation in Mind: Using technology to improve prevention and treatment of Mental and Substance Use Disorders. The 2016 Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use Colloquium

Speakers: Centre in Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS)

A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin
Ms Leonie Manns,
Dr Christina Marel
Dr Sally Hunt
Dr Lexine Stapinski
Dr Katrina Champion
Dr Louise Thornton
Dr Bridianne O’Dea
Dr Yael Perry:
Dr Louise Mewton
Prof Maree Teesson

By harnessing the power of modern technology we have the potential to overcome treatment barriers and facilitate widespread access to evidence-based healthcare. The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS), at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW,  is a collective of internationally recognised experts in understanding and managing mental health and substance use disorders. In this one-day colloquium, we aim to provide attendees with an up-to-date understanding of the ways in which we can use technology to facilitate the translation of evidence-based interventions for mental health and substance use disorders into practice. Presentations by CREMS members and guest speakers will focus on a variety of ways in which technology is being used to assist in the translation of research findings, including:

  • The use of technology to train clinicians in the best practice for the management of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders;
  • The development of online portals that link services, schools and communities to evidence-based information, preventions and interventions for mental health and substance use disorders;
  • The use of social media to facilitate mental health treatment engagement; and
  • The development of online “serious games” to treat depression and prevent adolescent mental illness

This day will be a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with technological innovations in the management of mental and substance use problems and meet the team at CREMS. We look forward to seeing you on the 6th of December in Sydney.

Speakers: Maree Teesson and Frances Kay-Lambkin
Professor Maree Teesson is Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS), an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and most recently an Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Fellow. She is a ministerial appointed member of the NHMRC Health Care Committee and Professorial Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, UNSW. Maree was recently awarded Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers. Maree has made a major contribution to Australia’s health and medical research effort in the field of mental health and substance use. In particular, she is known nationally and internationally for her research on the comorbidity between mental health and substance use disorders. Her research interests include the epidemiology mental health and substance use disorders, the effects of alcohol on brain development, internet delivered prevention and treatment programs, new treatments for individuals with comorbid mental health and substance use disorders, and improving treatment delivery. Prof Teesson has a strong track record of winning competitive scientific grant funding and has published extensively. She maintains strong links with treatment services and is a founding member (since 1990) of The Mental Health Services Conference (TheMHS) Inc, the largest mental health services conference and learning network in Australia.  maree-teesson-cropped

A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin is a Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, and  at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South. She is internationally recognised for her innovative computer based interventions for mental health and substance use disorders. She has also worked in a clinical research capacity with people experiencing psychotic disorders, personality disorders, and substance use problems. A/Prof Kay-Lambkin has a strong publication and funding record. She is a Chief Investigator on several projects that are being conducted as part of this CRE.

The colloquium program and full list of speakers can be accessed at:  



TIME: 0900 – 1630

Advanced Trial Statistics with Andrew Mackinnon – An introduction to analyzing longitudinal data using mixed models

Speaker: Andrew Mackinnon  andrew

Andrew Mackinnon is the most senior statistician/quantitative psychologist in Australia working exclusively in mental health research. He has worked on over twenty trials and has designed and analysed data from a number of Australia’s landmark longitudinal studies including the Canberra Longitudinal Study of the elderly. He has broad experience in the analysis of longitudinal data using a range of methods and was an early adopter of mixed modelling in clinical trials as a means of accommodating participant dropout and missing data. Andrew has a long history of teaching statistics to the fearful, reluctant and uninterested!

This one-day workshop will focus on a unified approach to the analysis of longitudinal data, whether collected in experiments such as RCTs or in observational studies such as surveys. Mixed models will be introduced: growth curve analysis, multilevel modelling, mixed model repeat measures ANOVA and a variety of structural equation models are specific forms of this class of model. The SPSS package will be used because of its popularity and its inclusion of the MIXED procedure that supports these analyses.

This is an introductory workshop. To the maximum extent possible, the workshop will avoid complex mathematics and will focus on concepts and practical examples.

The workshop will cover:

  • The nature of mixed models – basic concepts.
  • Comparison, possibilities and advantages of mixed models compared to standard methods.
  • Preliminaries – examining, organizing and restructuring data.
  • Fitting a basic model in SPSS using the MIXED procedure.
  • Example 1 – Modelling change over time in survey data.
  • Example 2 – Analyzing simple trial data.
  • Elaborating models and answering refined questions.

Participant requirements The workshop is ‘hands on:’ you should bring a laptop with a recent version of SPSS installed. You should be familiar with the routine operation of SPSS and statistical procedures such as regression and repeated measures ANOVA. Where possible, SPSS dialogues will be demonstrated, but some operations require use of syntax.


Neuroanatomy workshop with Prof Kevin Keay

Speaker: Prof Kevin Keay


This workshop will explore the neuroanatomy of emotion. The full day workshop will use prosections, neuroimaging and other media to explore the connectivity and control of the emotional Brain. Emotions are evoked and regulated in the limbic and frontal lobes of the brain. These areas are central to an understanding of many mental illnesses and the workshop will help participants review past learning as well as achieve a greater knowledge of the neuroanatomical underpinnings of disorder. This will be “wet lab” experience for all attendees. The workshop will be presented by Associate Professor Kevin Keay and the staff of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Sydney. Professor Keay is the Head of the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Sydney. He has a special interest in neural structure and function, particularly the response to injury, neuroinflammation and the regulation of pain.