Professor Michael Berk
Position: Professorial Research Fellow
T: 61 3 4215 3320
Campus: Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Melbourne, Kitchener House, Barwon Health, Geelong VIC 3220
Collaboration between Barwon Health and the Mental Health Research Institute is in investigating oxidative and inflammatory stress and psychiatric illnesses. At present, the group is conducting clinical trials investigating antioxidant treatments for psychiatric illnesses and working together on laboratory-based projects aimed at clarifying the underlying mechanisms.
Michael Berk’s research interests span a range of topics, focusing on bipolar disorder and depression.
He has published 15 self-initiated randomised controlled trials, predominantly in bipolar disorder. These include:
- the first two published randomised trials of the atypical antipsychotics and lamotrigine in bipolar disorder, both of which are now established treatments;
- the largest trials of verapamil in mania and norethisterone in depression; and
- three RCTs of antidepressants in schizophrenia.
He is regularly invited as a guest speaker at international meetings. He is the recipient of a number of current grants, including a NHMRC CCRE and 3 NHMRC project grants, a beyondblue grant and two Stanley Medical Research Institute awards, and is the principal investigator on a number of current trials.
These include two randomised placebo controlled trials of N-acetyl cysteine in both depression and bipolar disorders, which follow up two positive trials of NAC in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder that have broken new ground in establishing both an entirely novel treatment and implicating a novel mechanism of disease.
In addition, trials of internet based psychotherapy and epidemiological research are being conducted.
The methodologies employed in his unit include clinical trials of psychotropic agents and psychosocial treatments, epidemiology, and other clinical research. There are many collaborative projects that have laboratory and neuroimaging based components.