Key themes & projects
Clinical trials and interventional studies
We conducted the first randomised controlled trials of TMS (1999), tDCS (2010), ketamine (2014), ECT (2014) and tRNS (2020) in Australia, for the treatment of depression. We also conducted the world’s first randomised controlled trials testing bilateral TMS and multiple TMS sessions per day for the treatment of depression. We recently completed the world’s largest randomised controlled trials of racemic ketamine for treatment resistant depression, and developed a comprehensive framework for monitoring the safety of ketamine treatment (the Ketamine Side Effect Tool). Our research findings have informed Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist (RANZCP) guidelines on ECT, TMS, tDCS and ketamine treatment.
Our current clinical studies include:
- The Randomised Controlled Trial of Frontoparietal and Temporoparietal ECT for Severe Depression: The RAFT ECT Study, led by Prof Colleen Loo.
- The Trial of Enhanced Neurostimulation for Anorexia (TRENA), led by Dr Donel Martin.
- Treatment Resistant Depression Intervention with Psilocybin-assisted Psychotherapy (TRIP), led by Dr Michael Millard and co-led by Dr Jonathan Brett, Dr Adam Bayes, Prof Colleen Loo.
Clinical Alliance and Research in ECT and related treatments (CARE) Network
Co-leads: Prof Colleen Loo & Dr Donel Martin
The CARE Network is an international collaboration involving >50 hospitals aimed at improving clinical practice and furthering research in ECT, TMS, tDCS and ketamine treatments, via the use of a standardised data collection framework. The CARE data collection framework assists services with improving clinical care and complying with data collection requirements. Collation and analysis of these real-world clinical data also produces findings that inform treatment guidelines and translation of research into clinical practice.
Resources developed by the CARE Network:
Lead: Dr Stevan Nikolin. Co-lead: Dr Adriano Moffa
We undertake diverse research in basic neuroscience to improve non-invasive brain stimulation techniques and their therapeutic application in neuropsychiatric conditions.
Current projects include:
- Developing concurrent TMS and EEG as a technique to understand the effects of brain stimulation, including initiating the TMS-EEG Collaboration, an international cooperative network of researchers to facilitate data sharing and collaboration
- Investigating the roles of key brain regions (e.g., prefrontal and inferior frontal cortices, pre-supplementary motor area, cerebellum) in modulating central executive functions using brain stimulation, cognitive tasks and EEG.
- Optimising transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) parameters using cognitive tasks and EEG.
- Developing a novel approach for targeting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) based on performance outcomes of a cognitive task.
- Computational modelling for investigating effects of brain stimulation, in collaboration with UNSW Biomedical Engineering
Contact for further information: Dr Donel Martin or Dr Stevan Nikolin
Lead: Dr Donel Martin
We develop novel interventions for cognitive enhancement and for treating cognitive impairment.
Current projects include:
- Individualising rTMS for cognitive enhancement
- Investigating methods to enhance the cognitive effects of brain stimulation therapies
- Investigating the cognitive enhancing effects of psychedelics
Contact for further information: Dr Donel Martin