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Personal profile

Biography

Professor Paul Fitzgerald is Deputy Director of MAPrc and Professor of Psychiatry at the Epworth Clinic / Epworth Health Care in Camberwell. He is a qualified psychiatrist, has a Masters of Psychological Medicine and research PhD.

 

Prof Fitzgerald completed his medical degree at Monash University (1991) and subsequently a Masters of Psychological Medicine (1998) whilst completing psychiatric training. He then undertook a Clinical and Research Fellowship at the University of Toronto and The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On returning to Melbourne, he worked as a psychiatrist and completed a PhD in transcranial magnetic stimulation in schizophrenia (completed 2003). Since completing this Ph.D., he has developed a substantial research program including a team of over 25 psychiatrists, registrars, postdoctoral researchers, research assistants, research nurses and students.

 

Professor Fitzgerald runs a substantive research program across both MAPrc and Epworth Clinic utilising brain stimulation and neuroimaging techniques including transcranial magnetic stimulation, functional and structural MRI, EEG and near infrared spectroscopy.  The primary focus of this program is on the development of new brain stimulation based treatments for psychiatric disorders. There is a special focus on severe or treatment resistant depression but treatments are also being investigated in other disorders including schizophrenia, obsessive- compulsive disorder, chronic pain, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders. Researchers within the team have conducted over 15 clinical trials across these conditions as well as a large number of investigative studies. The team currently has 9 clinical trials underway across 7 clinical conditions.

 

Treatments which have been developed or investigated by Professor Fitzgerald include repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), magnetic seizure therapy (MST) and deep brain stimulation (DBS).  The program of research includes developing and improving methods of treatment application and the conduct of clinical trials.

 

In support of the development of new treatments, his research is also focused on the conduct of investigative studies of brain function & dysfunction in these disorders. These studies aim to better characterise brain changes underlying the symptoms of psychiatric disorders to directly improve the application of novel therapies. These studies are aiming to lead to the identification of biological markers or predictors of response to treatment. These studies include the use of technologies such as functional and structural MRI, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography and near infrared spectroscopy.

 

In addition, he is also looking to develop and improve the devices used in the application of brain stimulation. To this end he has a small team of biomedical engineers and software developers and works in close collaboration with the Monash Instrumentation Facility (of which he chairs the steering committee). He is a named inventor on 4 patents (1 provision, 2 PCT phase, 1 national phase – US/EU/Japan/Australia). He has collaborative grants with several industry partners in Australia and overseas and Monash university is currently licensing IP developed in his research into a startup company.

 

Professor Fitzgerald has published over 370 papers in a range of peer reviewed journals an been cited over 10,000 times. He has received project grant funding from the NHMRC, ARC as well as a number of US based and local funding organisations including over $5 million in funding in the last five years. He has had continual NHMRC project grant funding since 2001. He has been supported by three consecutive NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship awards.

Professor Fitzgerald was an elected board Member of the International Society for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (ISTS) and was an invited member of the World Federation of Biological Psychiatry Taskforce on Brain Stimulation (2006-2009). He is currently a committee member for the Electroconvulsive Therapy and Neurostimulation Section with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and serves on the board of directors for Neurosciences Victoria. He is Psychiatric deputy editor for the journal ‘Brain Stimulation’ and is on the Editorial Boards of ‘Psychiatry Research’ and the ‘Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry’.

 

He was awarded a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award in 2003 and 2005 and the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research  Eli Lily Oration in 2012.

 

Professor Fitzgerald’s research has a strong translational focus. He established the first TMS training program run in Australia and has trained over 300 psychiatrists and nurses in TMS techniques. He has directly helped established over 10 clinical TMS services. He has co-authored multiple clinical practice guidelines and advised or contributed to several Medicare applications for new service funding. 

External positions

Founder and Board member, TMS Clinics Australia

1 Aug 2017 → …

Professor of Psychiatry, Epworth Clinic

1 Feb 2017 → …

Professor, Director of TMS Program and Research, The Victoria Clinic, Prahran

1 Jan 200330 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • antidepressant
  • depression
  • prefrontal cortex
  • remission
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimu
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • rtms
  • service developm
  • bilateral
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • treatment resistant
  • brain stimulation
  • psychiatry
  • cognition
  • cognitive remediation
  • dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • transcranial direct current stimulation
  • w
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • autism

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Projects 2001 2021

Research Output 1999 2018

Accelerated repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of depression

Fitzgerald, P. B., Hoy, K. E., Elliot, D., Susan Mcqueen, R. N., Wambeek, L. E. & Daskalakis, Z. J. 5 Feb 2018 In : Neuropsychopharmacology. 43, p. 1565-1572 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

A pilot study of the comparative efficacy of 100 Hz magnetic seizure therapy and electroconvulsive therapy in persistent depression

Fitzgerald, P. B., Hoy, K. E., Elliot, D., McQueen, S., Wambeek, L. E., Chen, L., Clinton, A. M., Downey, G. & Daskalakis, Z. J. 1 May 2018 In : Depression and Anxiety. 35, 5, p. 393-401 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Bipolar disorder in the balance

Lithgow, B. J., Moussavi, Z., Gurvich, C., Kulkarni, J., Maller, J. J. & Fitzgerald, P. B. 1 Jan 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) during pregnancy: Quantifying and assessing the electric field strength inside the foetal brain

Kibret, B., Premaratne, M., Sullivan, C., Thomson, R. H. & Fitzgerald, P. B. 1 Dec 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 1, 10 p., 4128

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access