Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation

Developing new responses to mental and physical health

IMPACT aims to improve health and wellbeing by contributing to the understanding of the causes and impacts of psychiatric, musculoskeletal, metabolic and other disorders.

How our research drives health reform

From common mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, through to chronic physical conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis – we are coming up with solutions to improve the health of people from their first 1000 days of life all the way through to their later stages.

Our research areas

Our seven themes bring together world-class researchers, early and mid-career scientists and postgraduate students to develop innovative diagnostics, treatments and therapies for mental health conditions and chronic diseases.

Explore our research

Clinical interventions

Investigates new treatments to understand biological pathways in mental illness and physical health conditions.

Food and mood

Conducts research to understand the complex ways in which what we eat influences our brain, mood and mental health.

Fundamental biosciences

Discovery-based research that focuses on understanding the molecular basis of health and disease at the individual and population level.

Mental health disorders and neuroscience

Explores chronic disease patterns, risk factors, novel therapies and effective treatments of psychiatric conditions, such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Molecular medicine

Seeks to understand and improve the treatment of many of the most common chronic diseases impacting populations across all ages.

Novel treatment discovery

Focuses on developing new treatments to help people whose lives and livelihoods are disrupted by complex and difficult-to-treat chronic health problems.

Population health

Explores both the physical and mental health of humans across the lifespan.

Help us address our health challenges

When you study a PhD or postdoctoral research at IMPACT you'll be supported by world-renowned researchers. Explore over 400 health-focused research topics and discover a supervisor who could help you further your research career goals.

We aim to improve mental and physical health at both the individual and population levels. Our team advance cross-disciplinary, world-leading biomedical research and translate results into real-world medical or clinical practice that benefits the community.

Professor Michael Berk

Director, IMPACT

Our researchers

Our team of over 250 researchers use innovative approaches to translate laboratory medical research into real-world solutions.

Professor Felice Jacka

Professor Felice Jacka is the Director of the Food and Mood Centre. Her highly innovative field of research focuses closely on the links between diet, gut health, and mental and brain health. In 2021 she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to Nutritional Psychiatry.

Professor Tania de Koning-Ward

Professor Tania de Koning-Ward is the leader of the Infection, Immunity and Cancer Theme at IMPACT. She heads a vibrant research team of postdocs, research assistants, PhD and Honours students in understanding the molecular basis of malaria.

Professor Ken Walder

Professor Ken Walder is the Chair of Metabolic Diseases in the School of Medicine and the Deputy Director of IMPACT Institute. His research focuses on mental health disorders, and in particular the discovery of novel treatments for these diseases.

Featured projects

We collaborate with national and international partners from universities, healthcare providers and philanthropic organisations to increase our impact. Our research is vital to tackling some of the most disabling and common mental and physical health conditions that we face today.

Innovative treatment strategies to heal the mind

Innovative treatment strategies to heal the mind

Over the past two decades, drug discovery has come to a near standstill for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Challenging prevailing assumptions about mental health disorders, Professor Michael Berk has investigated fresh ideas. Now, his team’s research is alleviating distress for millions of people.

The link between poor diet and mood disorders

The link between poor diet and mood disorders

While there are many known risk factors associated with poor mental health, we don’t yet know what makes the female brain so vulnerable to these conditions during pregnancy and after giving birth. Dr Luba Sominsky’s research indicates that poor diets before and during pregnancy could interfere with the brain mechanisms that regulate our moods, leading to perinatal depression and anxiety later.

Our facilities

Our team of innovative thinkers work in universities, laboratories, hospitals and community spaces across Geelong and Burwood.

Metabolic Research Unit

MRU is a purpose-built molecular facility where our team performs cell culture and molecular biology research. Facilities include PC2 labs, an EchoMRI, echocardiography, histology core facility and a microscopy suite.

Molecular Medicine Research Facility

MMRF is where we investigate the molecular basis of cancer, immunology and host-pathogen interactions. Facilities include PC2 experimental and support labs for high-end molecular and cellular analyses.

Health and Education Research Building

HERB hosts pre-clinical and clinical research in state-of-the-art biomedical and clinical research spaces. Facilities include PC2 labs, tissue culture facilities, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, microscopy and a biobank.

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology

CCMB provides advanced facilities to support our research across molecular, cell, animal and plant biology. This includes PC2 labs, atomic absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence microscopy and more.

Contact us

Stay in touch with us to hear about the latest alumni opportunities, research news and much more. Have a question? Get in touch with the team.

03 9244 5791
Email the IMPACT team
Visit the IMPACT website