Studies of the immune system in psychosis

Zoom - registration required
Monday 10 October 2022 (11:00-12:00)

Stacey Smith

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Institute for Mental Health

Although it is recognised that the immune system is implicated in the pathophysiology of psychosis, the relationship is complex, and our understanding remains incomplete. In this talk, Vanessa will describe her work investigating the immune system in people living with psychosis. This work will include studies investigating microglia using positron emission tomography, clinical studies examining the influence of peripheral cytokines on brain structure, and recent studies examining the complement system in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in people at various stages of illness. The work presented has implications for better understanding immunological disturbances in people with psychosis which may lay the foundations for alternative treatment targets.    

About the Speaker


Vanessa Cropley is a Senior Research Fellow at Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research is focused on investigating the relationship between the brain, biology and behaviour in mental illness, with a particular focus on psychosis. Vanessa’s research uses brain imaging (structural, molecular and functional), cognitive assessment and clinically accessible tissue (blood and cerebrospinal fluid) to investigate biological processes (such as immune factors) and changes to brain anatomy and function, and how these relate to the clinical symptoms and cognitive and functional impairment experienced by many people with psychotic disorders. She seeks to understand how these mechanisms may affect, and are affected by, development, the environment and other psychosocial factors. Her group examines these relationships in people living with psychotic disorders across a broad spectrum of disease risk and development, including youth experiencing subclinical psychosis, help-seeking youth at risk of developing psychosis, and in people with early and established illness.

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