Our Research

Research in our Strategic Research Centre spans clinical, epidemiological and laboratory-based research. Our research interests support the School of Medicine pillars neuroscience, and musculoskeletal and metabolic disease.

Our research theme includes:

Clinical trials that investigate:
  • Novel Therapies
  • Biomarkers for Physical and Mental Disease
  • Online Psychological Interventions
  • Lifestyle Interventions
  • Drug Safety
Population-based, epidemiological studies that investigate:
  • Incidence, Prevalence and Temporal Changes of Disease
  • Disease Risk Factors and Outcomes
  • Burden of Disease and Associated Costs 
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Health Service Utilisation
Laboratory-based studies that investigate:
  • Novel Therapies
  • Treatment Mechanisms and Effects of Pharmacological Agents
  • Muscle Power and Balance

Our Studies

The following studies are conducted within the psychiatric arm of IMPACT.

Mino UD trial

This is a world-first trial exploring the use of an old agent for a completely new purpose.  The draw-card of this approach is that the medication has an established safety profile and is available after completion of the study. This study is trialling minocycline as an adjunct to usual treatment for depression. The study involves adults who attend a series of interviews over the course of 16-weeks.

Mito NAC trial

This trial involves N-acetyl cysteine, known as NAC, in combination with other nutraceutical agents as a potential new treatment for bipolar disorder. This is an exciting trial, focusing on balancing energy production and thereby improving symptoms. The study involves adults who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, currently experiencing depression. Participants attend a series of interviews over the course of 20-weeks.

YoDA-A trial

This trial involves rosuvastatin and aspirin as treatments for youth depression. It is a requirement that study participants are currently undergoing treatment at Orygen Youth Health Clinical Program, Headspace Sunshine, Headspace Glenroy or Barwon Health.


There has been continued growth in online psychological interventions both in research and as a way of delivering psychologist services. These interventions overcome barriers to accessing specialist programs and services, particularly in areas where such programs are non-existent. IMPACT is collaborating with Stanford University after successfully obtaining funding from the NIH to further evaluate one of the first online self-help programs for Bipolar Disorder called MoodSwings.


A world-first trial that aims to answer the important question, "If I improve my diet, will my mental health improve?" has been developed. As such, we have recruited approximately 200 adults suffering from major depression and randomised them to either a social support condition or an intensive dietary intervention. The dietary intervention comprises counselling, advice, education and support for a period of three months. The impact of dietary improvement on their depressive symptoms at the end of the trial period will be examined. This trial is being conducted at Barwon Health in Geelong and St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.

Bipolar Health and lifestyle

The Bipolar Disorder Health and Lifestyle Study is an observational study currently recruiting participants from the Geelong and surrounding regions. This study aims to investigate a host of health and lifestyle factors associated with bipolar disorder, including bone health. Findings from this project may be used to inform public policy and health service delivery, leading to improved treatment and health outcomes for people with bipolar disorder.

The following studies are conducted by the Epi-Centre for Healthy Ageing (ECHA) which is nested within our strategic research centre.

Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS)

The Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) is a large and ongoing population-based cohort study of men and women that was designed in the 1990s to describe the health burden of osteoporosis and identify risk factors for fragility fracture. Age-stratified samples of 1500 men and 1700 women have been recruited from electoral rolls for the Barwon Statistical Division. Detailed clinical, lifestyle and biochemical data were collected at baseline and every few years the participants attend the research centre at Barwon Health to update their health check. This prospective data collection provides an invaluable resource for health research. With time and a growing range of expertise, the scope of the GOS has broadened to study a range of chronic physical disorders, psychiatric disorders and infectious diseases.

Geelong Osteoporosis Study Fracture Grid

The Geelong Osteoporosis Study Fracture Grid is a unique and comprehensive database that records fractures and monitors fracture rates in the Barwon Statistical Division in south-eastern Australia.The Fracture Grid comprises fractures confirmed by x-ray and includes all fractures occurring in the region since its inception in 1994. This important resource is used to define the burden of fractures in the population, describe patterns of fracture according to age, sex and fracture site and follow changes in the pattern of fractures over time. Over a defined 12-month period, men and women who sustained an incident fracture were invited to complete a detailed questionnaire regarding the fracture event, risk factors, fracture treatment and impact on lifestyle. This is known as the ProFrac study.

Vitamin D in Pregnancy (VIP) study

This prospective study that was initiated in 2002, demonstrated that maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) level during late gestation was associated with infant long bone length at birth. We are re-calling the mother-child pairs for assessment, as the children in this birth cohort turn 10-11 years of age. This provides a novel opportunity to investigate the relationship between gestational vitamin D levels and important indices of childhood growth, including body size, proportions and composition, adiposity, muscle mass, and bone geometry, density and estimated bone strength. We are also measuring the children's allergic response and behavioural development.

Ageing, Chronic Disease and Injury (ACDI), a study in western Victoria

The Ageing Chronic Disease and Injury (ACDI) study commenced in 2015 to document the pattern of chronic disease and injury, and investigate its relationship with ageing in western Victoria. Drawing on new and existing data, the ACDI study will provide a platform for describing the current health status of older individuals living in the study region and form the basis for projecting the future burden of chronic disease and injury.

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