CTNMH RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT
The Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research (CTNMH) is a University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre created in 2006 as part of a strategic initiative by the University to identify areas of existing and emerging research strength. The CTNMH is a cross-disciplinary and cross-faculty centre encompassing researchers from the Schools of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy, Health Sciences and Medical Practice & Population Health (Faculty Health), the School of Psychology (Faculty Science/IT), as well as Hunter New England Area Health (Mater and Rankin Park Campuses) and Hunter Medical Research Institute.
The CTNMH is a unique research entity in Australia, bringing together high-quality neuroscience research in nationally important disease areas through six programs focusing on (i) development, aging and cognition, (ii) schizophrenia, (iii) affective & addictive disorders, (iv) stroke, (v) pain & sensory dysfunction and (vi) translation, implementation and models of care. The Centre builds tight linkages across multiple levels of enquiry as well as between basic neuroscience, clinical neuroscience, mental and neurological health service delivery. CTNMH initiatives promote basic research in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science and fosters multi-disciplinary collaborative research across basic and clinical neuroscience, so as to achieve translation of important research outcomes at both clinical and population levels.
A priority of the current strategic plan of the University of Newcastle is to â€œenhance our international research profile and impactâ€ and this has been promoted by the establishment of 12 Priority Research Centres which target international collaboration, high quality research and postgraduate research training opportunities. The CTNMH was the strongest performing Priority Research Centre at the University in the latest ERA assessment exercise.
The CTNMH has played a major role in the acquisition of a new 3T MRI scanner largely devoted to research which is located at the Calvary Mater Hospital. CTNMH was instrumental in attracting to Newcastle a research radiographer (A/Prof Peter Stanwell) from MGH Boston, who heads the Centreâ€™s Imaging Platform. Further negotiations are underway for acquisition of additional magnets for other sites.
The CTNMH has also developed co-operative research partnerships with Siemens (Master Research Agreement) for brain magnetic resonance imaging research and Toshiba (Luminary Research Centre) for advanced perfusion computed tomographic brain imaging. These partnerships will enhance the Centreâ€™s imaging capabilities.
The Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL) is located within the School of Psychology and is a state-of-the-art electrophysiological laboratory that houses three 32- and 64-channel EEG recording labs, clinical and neuropsychological test libraries, multiple workstations for EEG processing and MRI analysis, and research space for doctoral students. Together with building infrastructure, this facility cost approximately $1m to make fully functional in 2001. The CTNMH contributes to IT and technical personnel supporting FNL research. In addition, the Centre has also co-funded the purchase of new eye-tracking equipment for the Ourimbah EEG facility.
To support the basic neuroscience aspects of our core program areas, the Centre has developed enhanced infrastructure support for long-term animal modelling. These models will enable studies of ageing related changes in structure and function, as well as model ageing related illnesses.
The Centre also has expertise in a multitude of cell technologies, further information can be found on our Technology Platforms page.
Primary care research support
The Centre has developed strong shared research support and linkages with the Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle and includes a cohort of clinicians and researchers from Hunter New England Area Health.
The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, located in Orange, is an affiliate of the CTNMH. The CRRMH aims to improve the mental health of rural and remote communities through academic leadership, collaboration and achievements in research, education, service development and information services.
Links with other Priority Research Centres
The Centre has strong links and on-going collaborative projects with the Centre for Information Based Medicine, Centre for Health Behaviour and the Centre for Gender Health and Ageing.
EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH
The CTNMH has researchers active in forty-one Field of Research Codes, with 75.5% of the Centres research falling within Neurology (1109), Clinical Science (1103), Psychology (1701), Cognitive Science (1702) and Public Health (1117). In ERA 2008, Cognitive Science (FOR code 1702) received a score of 4 (â€œabove world standardâ€) and was ranked equal second across the nation, with only one (much larger) group in the nation receiving a higher score. Public Health, Clinical Science and Neurology all performed at ranking 3 (at world standard).
SCOPE OF RESEARCH
The CTNMH has researchers and clinicians investigating a wide range of translational areas, including (but not limited to):
Â· MRI brain imaging
Â· Prevention and treatment of psychosis
Â· Recovery of cognitive function post-stroke
Â· Treatment of stroke related depression
Â· Combined treatment of depression and substance abuse
Â· Role of drug use in disease onset
Â· Effect of mental illness on physical health
Â· Animal modelling of pain and sensory disorders
Â· Neurodegenerative conditions (e.g. Alzheimerâ€™s, Parkinsonâ€™s)
Â· Memory research and Executive Function
Â· Development and ageing
Â· Personality disorders
Â· Suicide and suicide prevention
Â· Psychological trauma
Â· Public Health Policy
The CTNMH supports a progressive and active research environment by offering support through Summer scholarship schemes, RHD support grants, start-up funding for new post-doctoral appointments, travel and publication support, and through targeted mentoring and grant review by senior researchers.