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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.
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
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.
- The University of Melbourne: Professor Chris Davey, Professor Ben Harrison
- The University of Bonn: Professor Dr Alexandra Philipsen, Professor Dr Ulrich Ettinger, Professor Dr Bernd Weber, Professor Dr Silke Lux
First published on 2 September 2022.
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Joint PhD opportunities
See which joint PhD projects are currently open for enrolment in the Bonn and Melbourne Research and Graduate School in Decision Neuroscience.
The impact of somatic markers on the decision-making behavior in ADHD and Depression
This research project investigates the basis of decision-making behavior and proof deficient cognition by using functional imaging.
How to apply
Apply for a joint PhD with the Bonn and Melbourne Research and Graduate School in Decision Neuroscience.