Investigating dysfunctional cognitive-affective processes in depression


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People with depression often experience cognitive-affective impairments, including in their decision-making ability. However, the neural mechanisms underlying these dysfunctional processes and how they may moderate treatment response are not fully understood.

The details

This PhD project will investigate task-related brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify the neural mechanisms that underlie impaired cognitive-affective function in depression as well as assess the predictive quality of this activity with regards to treatment response.

Graduate researcher profile: Christine Leonards

Picture of Christine Leonards

I completed my undergraduate degree with honours in psychology at Macquarie University, Sydney. It was during this time that I developed a strong interest in research, so I went on to complete a Master of Research (psychology) with the intention of pursuing a PhD. However, after completion, I was offered the opportunity to pursue registration as a psychologist, so I took a break from research to complete a Master of Professional Psychology and work towards general registration which I received in 2019. Working in private practice and mental health hospitals with diverse populations allowed me to interact with a range of psychiatric disorders, which helped me develop a deeper appreciation for integrating clinical work and research. My joint PhD has allowed me to explore both of these elements further.

I am excited to be completing a PhD project that will produce new insights into the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive-affective disturbances in depression, and that can also be used to inform the effectiveness of treatments and treatment outcomes. I am grateful to be completing a joint PhD which I view as an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with international teams, expand my cultural and research horizons, and further develop my neuroscientific knowledge and skills as a researcher.

Supervision team

First published on 2 September 2022.

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