Hunter researchers look at schizophrenia from basic laboratory neuroscience through to clinical interventions and diagnostic testing for the disease.
A major achievement of this group has been the establishment of the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (ASRB) which collects biomedical samples and brain imaging data on schizophrenic and healthy patients to improve the sample size of research studies and allow easier detection of patterns and trends in patient samples.
This technology also allows for recruitment into relevant clinical trials and research projects to improve the diagnoses and treatments available for patients.
Another major aspect of research for this group is the investigation into the genetic basis underlying schizophrenia and newly discovered molecules that can regulate gene expression known as micro-RNAs (miRNA). These molecules can alter how genes are expressed without actually altering the genetic makeup of patients. This is important as a hallmark of schizophrenia is often the manifestation of the disease without any obvious neuropathologies for scientists and doctors to diagnose. Researchers in this group are working to characterise miRNAs which may play a role in schizophrenia and how to potentially modulate their activity.