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IMAGE Otago Research Group

(NeuroImaging of Mental health And General Emotional disorders)

IMAGE Otago research group 2020Left: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner at Pacific Radiology (Dunedin). Photo courtesy of the School of Pharmacy (University of Otago). Right: Diffusion tractography image from an MRI scan. Image courtesy of the Breathe Oxford Group (University of Oxford), adapted from Harrison et al., 2019.

Description

Our research group focusses on mental health and related disorders. We use behavioural and neuroimaging experimental paradigms to investigate both underlying mechanisms and treatment responses. Bruce’s work primarily focusses on severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, addiction and depression, with an emphasis on treatment-resistance. Olivia’s work focusses on disorders such as anxiety and depression, with an emphasis on how body perception may both propagate symptoms and be targeted for treatments.

Please contact Bruce (bruce.russell@otago.ac.nz) or Olivia (olivia.harrison@otago.ac.nz) if you would like to discuss student projects or postgraduate study options.

Principal Investigators

Bruce Russell image 2020Associate Professor Bruce Russell

My research focuses on investigating the psychopharmacology and underlying pathophysiology of the severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia with an emphasis on treatment-resistance. I aim to discover biomarkers that will enable the prediction of an individual's response to drug treatment. I also have an active interest in the psychopharmacology of both new and 'old' recreationally used drugs and the mechanisms underlying drug addiction.

Olivia Harrison image 2020Dr Olivia Harrison

My research focuses on mental health and its relationship to interoception (how we perceive our body).

I use neuroimaging and computational models to better understand how the brain perceives and learns about changes in the body, with a particular focus on breathing. My work also aims to understand how currently available treatments such as anxiolytics and exercise can improve conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Collaborations

Olivia is an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow of the following research groups


Bruce and Olivia also collaborate with the following external groups:

Active study information sheets

General MRI screening sheet (for participants who will be involved in brain imaging studies)

Ketamine and brain imaging in patients with treatment resistant anxiety (for individuals with treatment resistant Generalised Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder)

Breathing perception and its relationship to anxiety: Pilot study (healthy volunteers)

Breathing perception and its relationship to anxiety: Measuring the effects of antidepressants on behaviour (for individuals with anxiety who have been prescribed antidepressants by their doctor)

Breathing perception and its relationship to anxiety: Measuring the effects of exercise using brain imaging and behaviour (for individuals with moderate levels of anxiety – pre-screening will be used to assess study criteria)

Breathing perception and its relationship to anxiety: Measuring the effects of low-levels of anxiety using brain imaging and behaviour (for individuals with low levels of anxiety – pre-screening will be used to assess study criteria)

Personality and the brain over time (a follow-up study for Year 13 students who previously took part in the personality survey with Professor Richard Linscott)

Additional links

Clinical studies at the School of Pharmacy