Budding neuroscientist joins fight against schizophrenia

13 Jun 2017

A young French neuroscientist will join the effort to prevent schizophrenia at UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, having received an Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI) scholarship.

Aurélie Flaive, a neuroscience Master's graduate of University of Geneva in Switzerland, will travel to Queensland later in the year to undertake schizophrenia research as part of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR).

Funded by Sunshine Coast’s ARAFMI and the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Ms Flaive’s research will look to uncover preventative treatments for schizophrenia and deepen understanding of the course of disease.   

Ms Flaive will join QBI’s Developmental Neurobiology laboratory for the duration of her research, under the supervision of Professor Darryl Eyles.

Professor Eyles said the scholarship was a tremendous opportunity for a young scientist.

“The recipients of this scholarship start off with the initial recognition from their peers that they may achieve something,” Professor Eyles said.

“This scholarship also comes from the hard work of Queensland pioneers in bringing the idea of the need for public housing for people with schizophrenia to the attention of government.”

In the 1980s, ARAFMI raised money to purchase two half-way houses, which it set up as living quarters for adults with mental illness.

“These were just ordinary parents desperate for their adult children, who happened to have schizophrenia, to have secure accommodation,” said Professor Eyles.

The houses were sold in the early 2000s, with more than $250,000 in profits donated to the Ipswich Hospital Foundation to form a scholarship fund.

The first recipient of the scholarship was QBI researcher Dr James Kesby, whose PhD studied the link between between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia.

The scholarship will fund Ms Flaive’s study, in a new animal model, into how dopamine systems in the brain develop in the progression towards schizophrenia.

“It is our hope that such knowledge may pave the way for future therapies to prevent schizophrenia,” said Professor Eyles.


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Media: Donna Lu, communications@qbi.uq.edu.au, +61 405 661 856