What are your research interests?
Cognitive neuroscience aims to understand normal and impaired brain function as it occurs in mental illness. This understanding is fundamental when aiming to improve the treatment of mental illness. My research interests include exploring the pathophysiological mechanisms causing mental illness and how they impact on brain functions, which give rise to the symptoms commonly seen in mental illness.
Why did you get into reseach?
The frustration of how little we know about mental illness compared to the broader medical field has frustrated me as a doctor and continues to motivate me in my work as scientist.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
Finding a cure for conditions like autism, schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder would be the ultimate goal.
Professor Schall's career began in Germany as a Psychologist with a strong interest in neuroscience. The realisation that neuroscience can help to better understand mental illness motivated him to become a Psychiatrist. He earned his academic credentials in Germany by completing a PhD in Neuroscience (University of Constance), a MD in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (University of Duisburg-Essen), and DSc (Habilitation) in Biological Psychology & Neuropsychology (Ruhr-University of Bochum).
He joined the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle in 1999 as Senior Lecturer after leaving his post as Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the University Teaching Hospital in Essen. In Newcastle, he developed a successful research program investigating conditions like schizophrenia (supported by the former Schizophrenia Research Institute), autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
He served as Director of Hunter Neuroscience (2001-2006) and was appointed Professor and Chair of Schizophrenia Research at the University of Newcastle in 2012.
Professor Schall sees children and young people at the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service of Hunter New England Health and EDUCARE.
Throughout his career Professor Schall has attracted $10 million of competitive research funding from the NHMRC, ARC, HMRI, German Research Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service, etc. He has published in Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Communications, JAMA Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, American Journal of Human Genetics, NeuroImage, PLoS One, etc. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=schall+u). In 2018, Researchgate recorded 8,000 citations and 20,000 reads (RGscore: 44.8; h-factor 36) (http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ulrich_Schall).
Improving treatment of mental illness is a gradual process and can be painstakingly slow. However, every new discovery can potentially lead to better treatment with less adverse side effects for those in need in our community. Hence, the future focus lies in discovering what drives mental illness and how to prevent or even cure it.
- Clinical and neuropsychological assessment
- Psychophysiological (EEG-based) brain function
- Structural and functional brain imaging