Associate Professor Andrew Zalesky awarded Rebecca Cooper Fellowship

Associate Professor Andrew Zalesky

Associate Professor Andrew Zalesky has been awarded $1.35 million over five years by the Rebecca L. Cooper Foundation to study high-tech psychiatric therapies, based on electrical and magnetic brain stimulation techniques.

Associate Professor Zalesky and his colleagues will use the Fellowship funds to conduct fundamental research on the human brain in health and mental illnesses.

Its key focus will be to understand how brain networks function with regard to health and mental illness and to use this knowledge to enhance brain stimulation therapies for people with treatment-resistant depression.

Associate Professor Zalesky said the aim is to achieve improved outcomes, reduced distress and enhanced quality of life for those experiencing the condition.

“Once we can map the enormous individual variability in the structure and function of brain circuits, we’ll be in a better position to develop targeted treatments that are precisely directed towards a patient’s dysfunctional circuitry,” Associate Professor Zalesky said.

“Many existing brain-based treatments are delivered using a one-size-fits-all approach, potentially leading to treatment of the wrong brain circuits in some patients and explaining why some patients respond poorly to treatment.”

With a PhD in electrical engineering and formal training in applied mathematics, Associate Professor Zalesky brings a unique perspective to neuroscience.

By studying the brain with an engineering mindset, he has developed novel approaches to understanding the network organisation of the human connectome in health and disease.

The Rebecca Cooper Fellowship, named after the late Rebecca Lillian Cooper, is a prestigious award given to medical researchers who have established a strong research programme in their chosen area.