Professor Michael Berk

Professor Michael Berk is currently appointed as Chair of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, Deakin University. He also is leads the first-episode bipolar program at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, and is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Centre for Youth Mental Health, the Department of Psychiatry and the Mental Health Research Institute. He is immediate past President of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders and the Australasian Society of Bipolar Disorders. He has published over 450 papers focusing on the mood and psychotic disorders, particularly bipolar disorder and depression.

His major interest is in the discovery and implementation of novel therapies. He has published the first two published randomised trials of the atypical antipsychotics and lamotrigine in bipolar disorder, all of which are now established treatments. He completed one of the first and largest trials of fluoxetine in acral lick dermatitis, which is now a routine veterinary treatment, and the first trial showing that mirtazapine reduces the symptoms of schizophrenia, a finding that has been replicated, and is now routinely used in practice and incorporated into current guidelines.

He has recently completed the first positive large scale trial of internet psychotherapy for bipolar disorder, the largest trial of Vitamin D in a community cohort. He has completed the first two randomised placebo controlled trials of N-acetyl cysteine in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. These have established both an entirely novel treatment and implicating a novel mechanism of disease. NAC has begun to be used globally and appears in the latest treatment guidelines. His team has also generated novel data on lifestyle risk factors for psychiatric disorders, including diet smoking and physical activity, developed an intervention based on this data, and is using this evidence to develop a preventative strategy for depression.

He is the recipient of a number of grants, including National Institutes of Health (US), Simon Autism Foundation, NHMRC CRE and project grants, beyondblue, Stanley Medical Research Institute awards and is a lead investigator on a successful Collaborative Research Centre application. In 2009 he was a warded a commendation in the Ministers Award for mental health, and in 2008, he was awarded the Australasian Society of Psychiatric Research Eli Lilly Oration, the Pathcare Smart Geelong Research and Learning Expo Health and Lifestyle award and the G Force Recruitment Researcher Of The Year award and the RANZCP senior research award in 2012. He has served the NHMRC as a member of a GRP as well as a reviewer.

Research Interests:

Bipolar disorder, depression.

If you have mood changes that are more severe than normal, or stop you from doing things, then it’s important to talk to someone and get help.