This joint PhD project is based at the University of Melbourne with a 12-month stay at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
The main objective of this project is to:
- Utilise imaging data from two ketamine trials being conducted by the University of Melbourne team and develop predictive models to identify the patients who are likely to beneﬁt from treatment.
Depression is a devastating condition for 1 in 10 Australians who are aﬀected each year. Only about a third of patients will remit to the ﬁrst antidepressant. After trialling a second, about half of patients won’t have remitted, which forms the usual deﬁnition of treatment-resistant depression (TRD). New treatment approaches for TRD are urgently needed.
Low-dose ketamine has emerged as an exciting treatment option for patients with severe depression. Unlike other treatments for depression, it has a rapid onset of action, with beneﬁts emerging within hours. While producing profound antidepressant responses in many patients, its eﬀects, as for other antidepressant treatments, are variable.
Brain imaging parameters show considerable promise in helping to identify the patients who are likely to beneﬁt. The PhD project will utilise imaging data from two ketamine trials being conducted by the University of Melbourne team, and will develop predictive models to identify the patients who are likely to beneﬁt from treatment.
The project will also examine short-term responses to ketamine as an additional input to the prediction models. Imaging analyses will be supervised by researchers at the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Australia’s premier psychiatric neuroimaging research group, where Prof. Ben Harrison is Deputy Scientiﬁc Director. The PhD candidate will develop the requisite skills to perform sophisticated brain imaging analyses using world-leading methodologies.
The research team at SJTU, led by Prof. Fang, have internationally recognised expertise in the development of prediction models using machine learning methods. The Melbourne-based PhD candidate will travel to Shanghai after the data has been collected, and once the brain imaging data have been analysed, to learn how to develop prediction models under the supervision of the SJTU team.
The project will be complemented by the project on 'A cohort study of neuromodulation interventions for major depressive disorder' and the collaboration will ensure a successful completion of both projects.
The graduate researcher on this project is: Leah Hudson
University of Melbourne supervisor:
Professor Christopher Davey
Shanghai Jiao Tong University supervisor:
Professor Yiru Fang