Incredibly exciting news. Associate Professor Felice Jacka is now confirmed as our third speaker. Felice discusses growing brains and how food affects development, intelligence, and depression, and how to help your teenagers grow into healthy happy adults.
A/Prof Felice Jacka is a Principal Research Fellow within the Deakin University School of Medicine based at Barwon Health in Geelong. She is also an honorary Research Fellow with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne.

Over the last seven years A/Prof Jacka has been developing an innovative program of research that examines how individuals’ diets interact with the risk for mental health problems. This research is being carried out with the ultimate goal of developing an evidence-based public health message for the primary prevention of the common mental disorders. 

A/Prof Jacka’s ongoing program of research incorporates a broad range of epidemiological and public health investigations, with extensive partnerships and collaborations in Australia and elsewhere involving the acknowledged experts in the field of psychiatry and public health. The program spans the spectrum of research, comprising detailed investigations of biological mechanisms and drivers of the relationships between lifestyle and mental health, such as biomarkers; to familial, demographic and social contributors to both lifestyle and mental health; through to the development of community based interventions. It aims to yield new knowledge that will be readily translated and will be aimed at informing public policy. The primary goal is to develop a coherent public health message and effective, best-practice strategies for the universal primary prevention of the common mental disorders.

Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are highly prevalent, disabling and have major social, psychological and biological consequences. To date, psychiatry has focused on treatment of established disorders over an examination of the role of modifiable risk factors in the development of these conditions. A/Prof Jacka’s research has now helped to elucidate the potentially crucial relationship between diet and mental health. This nove

l research supports the development of a coherent primary prevention message for mental illness. Such a message is likely to lead to better outcomes for those affected by depressive and anxiety disorders and reduce the public health burden of such illnesses in the community.