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Recent appointments: UNSW James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders

Mental health disorders expert and clinician researcher Dr Aswin Ratheesh has been appointed to lead the James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders at UNSW Sydney.

Dr Ratheesh currently leads an NHMRC Partnership grant in early intervention for bipolar disorder and is a chief investigator on a Centre of Research Excellence grant in early intervention for bipolar disorder. He co-leads the International Society of Bipolar Disorders Taskforce on Early Intervention and is an Associate Editor for the leading journal, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. He has received awards from the International Early Psychosis Association and the Australasian Society for Bipolar and Depressive Disorders for his research. He joins from The University of Melbourne.

About UNSW Sydney 

  • Establish and lead an internationally recognised program of translational research 
  • Transform the understanding, prevention, treatment and cure of mood disorders 

Since its foundation in 1949, the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) has made an ongoing commitment to improve and transform lives in Australia and globally. One of Australia’s leading universities ranked in the top 20 universities worldwide, UNSW Sydney is a member of Australia’s prestigious Group of Eight.  
The essence of UNSW Sydney is not just its impressive facilities and grounds, but in its staff, students, alumni, and partnerships with community and industry, who together make a collective difference in the creation of a just society. UNSW’s 2025 Strategy positions UNSW as a global leader in change and innovation, through research and education. 

UNSW is also home to an outstanding mental health community through the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network at the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct which includes Black Dog Institute, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Royal Women’s Hospital. Mindgardens is the first research centre in Australia to focus exclusively on disorders that involve the brain, emotions, nervous system and thinking processes. Mindgardens translates new insights rapidly into everyday practice, integrating patient health care with research and education to reshape the understanding, prevention, treatment and cure of mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders. A virtual centre of expertise with patients’ lived experience at its centre, Mindgardens generates new ideas and approaches that are not constrained by professional disciplines or health system silos.

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The James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders has been established through a gift from the Packer Family Foundation to substantially transform mental health research. The Professorial Chair will lead a new unit at UNSW and Mindgardens that will conduct rigorous research in mental health, with a particular focus on mood disorders such as bipolar disease, to improve outcomes for those with lived experience. The gift will also enable funding of a research team.

James Packer – businessman and investor

The postholder will play a significant leadership role within the Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health in the UNSW School of Clinical Medicine, as well as the broader Mindgardens Neuroscience Network, and other collaborators as appropriate. The UNSW Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health, which recently celebrated its 60-year anniversary, is widely renowned as the pre-eminent psychiatry research department in the country and one of the leading university psychiatry research groups internationally. 

The role will be accountable for leading original and innovative translational research that actively contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the area of mood disorders and that is recognised internationally. The Packer Chair leads a research group that includes clinical colleagues and will build peer recognition and secure further research income. The Chair is also accountable for knowledge exchange and will work effectively with key stakeholders, including the Chair funders. 

The right candidate will be appointable at full professor or associate professor level, and may have a clinical academic background in a relevant discipline (e.g. Clinical Academic Psychiatry or Psychology). They have a significant and continuing track record in research leadership in the area of mood disorders, and demonstrated leadership in building engagement and partnerships with the profession, stakeholders, industry and the broader community. 

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