Personal profile


My research has made major contributions to understanding the long-term effects of heavy substance use on the brain and behaviour (e.g., why individuals addicted to heroin find it difficult to control their impulses and repeatedly relapse), as well as the impact of drug use on mental health (e.g., links between early and heavy cannabis use and risk for psychosis). Our findings have also challenged some widespread perceptions about drug use (e.g., that cannabis has minimal effects on brain and behaviour). Our research has also made contributions to understanding the neurobiology of several psychiatric disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. His discoveries have led to increased public and professional awareness on these topics and established his group at the forefront of addiction and psychiatric neuroscience research in Australia.

We study self-control and decision-making from several perspectives, including neuroscience, neuropsychology and psychiatry. My group are recognised for our application and integration of advanced neuroimaging techniques (of brain anatomy, function and chemistry) with psychiatric and neuropsychological assessments to understand the biological and psychological factors that contribute to impaired self-control in addictive and mental health disorders. This approach requires the integration of basic neuroscientists, clinical researchers, and those with computational, engineering and physics expertise. My group is in a unique position to generate a 'new breed' of multi-disciplined and talented researchers with cross-discipline expertise and capacity.

My group have recently adopted a 'trans-diagnostic' approach to investigate whether the initiation and maintenance of several clinical disorders are underpinned by overlapping psychological tendencies (e.g., impulsivity and compulsivity), and brain substrates (e.g., ventro-medial and dorso-lateral cortico-striatal circuits). Our findings will have implications for rethinking, customizing and ultimately improving the available psychological and pharmacological interventions. This approach will be applied to clinical populations including substance and behavioural addictions (e.g., drug dependence, problem gambling, obesity), as well as neurological (e.g, Parkinson's) and psychiatric disorders (e.g., OCD).

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Research interests

Biological psychiatry, drug and behavioural addictions, problem gambling and obsessive-compulsive disorder, risk-taking and impulsivity, decision-making and self-control, reward and motivation.

External positions

Honorary Professorial Fellow (Department of Psychiatry), The University of Melbourne


  • MRI
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • brain development
  • brain imaging
  • impulsivity
  • problem gambling
  • risk taking
  • substance abuse

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2021

Research Output 2001 2018

Hooked on gambling: a problem of human or machine design?

Yücel, M., Carter, A. N., Harrigan, K., van Holst, R. J. & Livingstone, C. H. Jan 2018 In : The Lancet Psychiatry. 5, 1, p. 20-21 2 p.

Research output: Other - peer-reviewLetter

Open Access

Investigating the role of anticipatory reward and habit strength in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Ferreira, G. M., Yucel, M., Dawson, A., Lorenzetti, V. & Fontenelle, L. F. 1 Jun 2017 In : CNS Spectrums. 22, 3, p. 295-304 10 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Neuroprotection after a first episode of mania: A randomized controlled maintenance trial comparing the effects of lithium and quetiapine on grey and white matter volume

Berk, M., Dandash, O., Daglas, R., Cotton, S. M., Allott, K., Fornito, A., Suo, C., Klauser, P., Liberg, B., Henry, L., Macneil, C., Hasty, M., McGorry, P., Pantelis, C. & Yücel, M. 24 Jan 2017 In : Translational Psychiatry. 7, 7 p., e1011

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access

Neuroscience in gambling policy and treatment: An interdisciplinary perspective

Yucel, M. , Carter, A. , Allen, A. R. , Balleine, B. , Clark, L. , Dowling, N. A. , Gainsbury, S. M. , Goudriaan, A. E. , Grant, J. E. , Hayes, A. , Hodgins, D. , van Holst, R. J. , Lattimore, R. , Livingstone, C. , Lorenzetti, V. , Lubman, D. , Murawski, C. , Parkes, L. , Petry, N. , Room, R. & 5 others Singh, B. S., Thomas, A., Townshend, P., Youssef, G. & Hall, W. 15 Jun 2017 In : The Lancet Psychiatry. 4, 6, p. 501-506 6 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Orbitofrontal Cortex Volume and Effortful Control as Prospective Risk Factors for Substance Use Disorder in Adolescence

Cheetham, A., Allen, N. B., Whittle, S., Simmons, J., Yucel, M. & Lubman, D. I. Feb 2017 In : European Addiction Research. 23, 1, p. 37-44 8 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access


Achievement Award

Murat Yucel (Recipient), 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Clinical Career Development Award

Murat Yucel (Recipient), 2007

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Early Career Award

Murat Yucel (Recipient), 2004

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Early Career Investigator Award

Murat Yucel (Recipient), 2004

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

High Citation List 2015

Murat Yucel (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)