Impact: Improving symptom control for patients with schizophrenia and informing understanding of metabolic diseases
Normal brain function is the balance between the positive and negative or yin-yang hypothesis.
Our brains include sophisticated excitatory and inhibitory systems which control our emotions, drive our working memory and control very basic physiological functions, such as eating behaviour.
When there is an aversive environmental factor or risk gene or their combination, our brain balance can be altered, leading to either brain disease or the dysregulation of the whole body metabolism.
Focusing on severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, Professor Xu Feng Huang and a team of neuroscientists at Centre of Translational Neuroscience (CTN), UOW are examining what happens in the brains of experimental animals and patients when the balance is lost.
About half of the patients on antipsychotic drugs used to mitigate the symptoms of schizophrenia develop obesity and metabolic syndrome. Through their studies of the metabolic side effect of antipsychotic medications, Professor Huang and his centre have contributed to a greater understanding of the brain pathology of schizophrenia, and key genes which contribute to this disease.
Critically, the centre has identified a way to prevent antipsychotic-induced obesity which has been recommended to hospital clinicians for further clinical trials.
In parallel, Professor Huang is also investigating how the brain controls body metabolism related to obesity and diabetes, how food molecules influence the brain to regulate body metabolism, and how herbal extracts can have beneficial effects on brain cells, and how these can be used for preventative and therapeutic medicine.
- ILLAWARRA HEALTH AND MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE, UOW
Professor Xu-Feng Huang
Dr Yinghua Yu
Dr Mei Han
Dr Qingsheng Zhang
Dr Dorna Esrafilzadeh
A/Professor Peng Zhang
Dr Zhixiaong Wu
And many PhD students
- INTELLIGENT POLYMER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, UOW
Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace
A/Professor Jeremy Crook
Professor Robert Kapsa
- SCHOOL OF CHEMISTRY, UOW
Professor Stephen Pyne
Dr Haibo Yu
- CLOVER CORPORATION
Dr Craig Patch
- NZ CSIRO
Dr Mikhail Vyssotski
- BEIJING PSYCHIATRIC RESEARCH UNIT, HUILONGGUAN HOSPITAL, CHINA
A/Professor Xiangyang Zhang