NPCD Researchers

Associate Professor Mark Walterfang

mark-walterfangDr Mark Walterfang graduated in medicine from University of Queensland with honours in 1993, and completed his Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 2000. From 2001-2002 he worked as a consultant psychiatrist at the Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit at Sunshine Hospital, treating patients with poor-outcome psychiatric disorders, and worked as the Academic Fellow at the University of Melbourne Department of Psychiatry. From 2003-2005 he was appointed as Senior Research Fellow at the Mental Health Research Institute, involved in neuroimaging research as part of a Stanley Foundation Centre Grant, and from 2006 has been a research fellow at the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre. Since 2003, he has worked as a consultant neuropsychiatrist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, developing expertise in managing comorbid psychiatric and neurological disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, neurometabolic disorders and atypical dementias. He has also been involved in the unit’s Deep Brain Stimulation Programme for treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder, and in the establishment of the Melbourne Young-Onset Dementia service. He manages a large cohort of adult patients with the rare neurometabolic disorder Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), and has undertaken the first group neuroimaging analyses in NPC adults that have shed light on the brain mechanisms underpinning their neurodegeneration, and provided promising in-vivo markers of illness progression and treatment response. Dr Walterfang has also been involved in the development in a number of clinical tools for use in psychiatric patients in the areas of cognition and behavioural observation, and their validation in a variety of medical, neurological and psychiatric settings since 2000. Dr Walterfang completed his PhD in the shape analysis of the corpus callosum in schizophrenia and related major psychiatric illness. He is undertaking further doctoral research involving the neuroimaging and neuropsychiatric investigation of rare metabolic disorders, and shape analysis of subcortical structures in a range of neurodegenerative disorders. He recently was invited to contribute a new chapter on the Neuropsychiatry of Neurometabolic and Neuroendocrine disorders to the world’s most respected reference text in psychiatry, Kaplan and Sadock’s “Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry”, and has authored over 90 National Library of Medicine-indexed scientific papers. He has published in psychiatric journals such as Molecular Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Research and Psychiatric Research; neurological journals including Neurology, Movement Disorders and Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology; metabolic journals including the Journal of Inherited and Metabolic Disease, Molecular Genetics and Metabolism and Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, and imaging journals including Neuroimage and Human Brain Mapping. He also serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for the following journals: Archives of General Psychiatry, Brain, Cerebral Cortex, Biological Psychiatry, Movement Disorders, Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping, International Psychogeriatrics, Journal of Inherited and Metabolic Disease, British Journal of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, and the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, amongst others.

Ashley BushAshley I. Bush (MB BS, DPM, FRANZCP, PhD, FTSE) heads the Oxidation Biology Unit at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, is Professor of Pathology, The University of Melbourne, NHMRC Australia Fellow, co-director of biomarker development for the Australian Imaging Biomarker Lifestyle Study (AIBL), Chief Scientific Officer of the CRC for Mental Health, lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and adjunct professor of neuroscience at Cornell University. He has received numerous awards including the Potamkin Prize and the Beeson Award. Professor Bush has authored over 280 publications, with >20,000 citations (the most highly-cited Australian neuroscientist of the last 10 years), 21 patents and founded 4 biotechnology companies. He discovered the interaction of beta-amyloid with zinc as a major factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

Ya Hui HungYa Hui Hung, PhD, is a senior scientist at the Oxidation Biology Unit, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.  She completed her PhD studies on Menkes disease and copper metabolism at the University of Melbourne.  Her interest in Niemann-Pick type C (NP-C) disease evolved from her investigations of the interplay between copper and cholesterol metabolism in the development of neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease.  Her current research focuses on understanding the role of NPC1 in metal metabolism and metal-targeting therapeutic approaches for NP-C.