Adolescents with substance abuse problems and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could benefit from a new approach to mental health treatment being developed by a UNSW researcher awarded a Postdoctoral Fulbright scholarship.

Dr Emma Barrett, from UNSW’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, is one of five university staff and graduates to receive a Fulbright to the United States. UNSW has the highest number of 2015 Fulbright Scholar affiliations, along with Monash University.

Dr Barrett will use the prestigious scholarship to develop and test an integrated psychological treatment for co-occurring traumatic stress and substance use among adolescents. She will collaborate with Professor Sudie Back at the Medical University of South Carolina.

“This holistic approach to treatment is absolutely crucial if we are to see an improvement ,” said Dr Barrett, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use.

Other UNSW recipients are:

  • Mr Isaac Donnelly from UNSW’s School of Mathematics and Statistics has won a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship. He will investigate the mathematics of network science and how it can be applied to help predict the rapid spread of infectious diseases on airline networks and minimise congestion on city roads.
  • Dr Renxun Chen from UNSW’s School of Chemistry has won a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship. His research is focused on the development of novel antimicrobial chemical coatings for biomedical devices and implants such as catheters, stents and contact lenses. Infection from these devices results in high rates of death and disease, as well as enormous associated medical costs.
  • Mr Sean O’Toole from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and a graduate of UNSW’s Master of Arts has won a Fulbright Professional Scholarship. His project aims to strengthen the capability and career options for Aboriginal people working in the human services sector, building on the experiences of Indigenous people working in social welfare in the US.
  • UNSW Conjoint Associate Professor Stuart Tangye at the Garvan Institute has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship. He will learn how to use the latest genome sequencing technology and bioinformatics techniques to identify specific changes associated with immunodeficient diseases.

Media contact: Dan Wheelahan, UNSW Media Office +61 2 9385 1933, 0435 930 465