|Location||Western Sydney University, NICM|
|Eligibility||Australian and New Zealand residents|
PhD Scholarship - An Integrative Model to Treat Depression
NICM and Blackmores Institute
Clinical depression has a major impact on individuals and society, often presenting the clinician with a significant challenge. Evidence suggests that antidepressants - although effective in the treatment of severe depressed mood, may have only a weak effect against mild to moderate depression. Thereby, in such cases, non-pharmaceutical options may be indicated. Research concerning the treatment of depression often emphasises individual monotherapies, which is often incongruent with clinical reality. In reality, patients often use a combination of interventions to manage their depression, and may be undertaking different modalities. One such approach is via the use of nutraceuticals (nutrient or plant-based medicines) or lifestyle modifications (e.g. excercise, diet, sleep management, or mind-body interventions). While there is evidence for certain nutraceuticals and lifestyle modifications, there is little known about the integrative application of these to better manage depression.
About the project
The project will involve the design and study of an integrative model to treat depression (involving nutraceuticals and lifestyle medicine). The study will be carried out in the NICM Clinic, Westmead, Western Sydney Univerisity. The full scope of the project will be determined in consultation with the supervisory panel and the selected candidate. The doctoral candidate, under the primary supervision of Professor Jerome Sarris, will learn relevant clinical trial research skills and develop a specialised understanding about the effect of an integrative model to treat depression.
The primary objective is to firstly, conduct a literature review of the area and to engage with clinicians to determine a list of evidence-based nutraceuticals and lifestyle interventions to treat depression; secondly to finalise a design to conduct a robust randomised, blinded, controlled study to test the efficacy and safety of an integrative approach, and; thirdly to conduct this study, collecting the data and subsequently analysing the data and publishing the results.
Nutraceutical products for the treatment of depression and a generic matching placebo for the clinical trial will be provided by Blackmores Institute. The project will be based at NICM, a health research institute at Westmead, Western Sydney University. The candidate is expected to publish regularly throughout the candidature.
What does the scholarship provide?
- Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $35,000 per annum for up to 3 years and a funded place in a doctoral degree.
- If the successful applicant is in receipt of a Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend, they will receive an additional $10,000 top-up scholarship.
- Additional funding of up to $50,000 over 3 years to conduct the research, including costs for implementation of the project, conference presentations and travel, equipment, and open access publication.
- Benefits and allowances including a thesis production allowance, a relocation allowance, 3 months extended sick leave and 3 months parental leave.
This scholarship is open to domestic applicants only (Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or New Zealand citizens).
The successful applicant should:
- hold qualifications in the fields of health science, psychology, or biomedicine equal to one of the following; (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, or (ii) a Masters degree with a significant research component
- have a strong academic track record (relative to opportunity)
- have clinical skills or experience
- be self-motivated and have a friendly temperament with good communication skills
A specific interest in mental health is desirable. The project will be adjusted according to clinical focus and skills.
How to apply
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