Orygen PhD student Dr Tahnee Bridson has been awarded a scholarship through the Australian Government Department of Education's National Industry PhD Program.
The scholarship will support her research looking into whether brain waves can predict responses to clozapine, a treatment for people with schizophrenia who do not show improvement from the standard initial therapy.
This discovery could provide new insights into how to improve the wellbeing of young people living with schizophrenia.
Dr Bridson is a psychiatry registrar and PhD student at Orygen, where she is investigating the links between early onset mental ill-health and changes in the body's defense system that might be associated with mental wellbeing.
She said clozapine is a highly effective but underutilised treatment that can dramatically improve the lives of people with schizophrenia.
“One of the main reasons why doctors are so hesitant to prescribe this medication, is the fear of side effects. At the moment, we are not able to predict who will develop life-threatening complications.
“If we can determine who will respond to this treatment, we could improve the illness trajectory and ensure early recovery for young people with schizophrenia,” Dr Bridson said.
The study will be completed in 2025.