By / 26th of June, 2014

SOUTH Australia researcher Professor Julio Licinio from SAHMRI proposes a war on mental illness that crosses the boundaries of institutions, states and countries.

“Anywhere in the world, there is not one thing that a single researcher can do at a laboratory bench that will solve the problem of depression or schizophrenia,” he said at a conference launching the scientific work of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide today.

“A large, joint and collaborative initiative is needed,” Prof Licinio said about his idea of tackling the problem of mental health from all disciplines.

The approach flies in the face of many research programs, which take place behind closed laboratory doors and with little interactive activity.

It also fits firmly within SAHMRI’s deliberate focus on translational science – medical research that is conducted with a clear view to impacting on clinical practice.

“SAHMRI has a very critical role in the war on mental illness as the concept originated here, and we are very keen to advance this at many levels,” said Prof Licinio.

“Funding should come from a combination of both local and national government sources, as well as private philanthropy,” he added. 

Fitting under the mental health umbrella, Professor Licinio is hosting a Translational Neuroscience Day as part of the launch of SAHMRI’s scientific program.

Flinders University is a co-host of the day.

“We aim to use the event to promote awareness of translational neuroscience and encourage cohesion among scientists and clinicians who have been working on these problems at different sites,” said Professor Licinio. 

The Translational Neuroscience Day also features the presentation of the first ever Samuel Gershon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Translational Neuroscience to Professor Sam Berkovic, Director of the Epilepsy Research Centre at Austin Health.

Prof Licinio outlined his war on mental illness in a paper in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this month