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Dr Rico Lee is an NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Investigator Grant Emerging Leadership Fellow (2021-25; APP1193946). Central to his research program is the scaling out of innovative, purpose-built digital technologies to fast-track knowledge generation in addiction neuroscience, as well as its translation to people with addiction problems in the clinic and the broader community.


Dr Lee completed his undergraduate studies in psychology and advanced neuroscience at the University of Sydney in 2007. He subsequently underwent specialist training in clinical neuropsychology at Macquarie University. He has been an Australian board-approved psychologist since 2008 (AHPRA# PSY0001223827), and has practised in psychiatry, psychogeriatrics, neurology, neurosurgery and traumatic brain injury and latterly in private practice at Mind Plasticity (Sydney, Australia). He completed his PhD conjointly between Macquarie University and the Brain and Mind Research Institute in 2014. Dr Lee was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Brain and Mind Centre as part of the University of Sydney NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Optimising Early Interventions for Young People with Emerging Mood Disorders (APP1061043), where he spent two years modelling the underlying mechanisms of early-stage depressive, bipolar and psychotic illness.   


At BrainPark, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Dr Lee is the Head of the Decision-Making Group, comprised of neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, as well as postgraduate and honour students. He leads the BrainPAC Project, involving the development of emerging cognitive technologies with industry partners to phenotype core neurocognitive, motivational, trait-based and behavioural constructs across disorders of impulsivity and compulsivity (eg, addictions, obsessive-compulsive disorder). The early validation outcomes of The BrainPAC Project has led to his successfully obtaining NHMRC Project Grant funding in 2018 to scale up the project internationally (APP1162031).


At just over 5 years post-PhD, Dr Lee has secured >2.4 million dollars in research funding and published more than 50 papers, which have been highly cited (1000+), including being ranked within the top 1% of citations in the psychiatry and psychology field. He is a peer reviewer for top international journals (eg, JAMA) and has been awarded various travel awards to disseminate his research findings at an international level (eg, SOBP 2019, Chicago, USA; MIME Industry Award 2019, Las Vegas, US; Addictions 2017, Lisbon, Portugal; SIRS 2016, Florence, Italy). He has ongoing collaborations with leading researchers around the world (eg, Cambridge University, UK; University of California San Francisco, USA).  


He has served on Project Grant review panels for NHMRC, and been an external reviewer for international grant funding bodies (eg, Ontario Mental Health Foundation). Dr Lee was appointed the Co-Chair of the Translational Neurobiology Consortium Cognition Panel (2015-Current; Orygen, The National Centre of Research Excellence in Youth Mental Health) aimed at harmonising neuropsychological approaches to psychiatric research across Australia. He currently sits on the Turner Insittute for Brain and Mental Health Digital Mental Health Steering Committee. 


Dr Lee is currently the primary supervisor of 4 PhD candidates (Ms Teresa Wulandari, Ms Maja Brydevall, Ms Erynn Christensen, Ms Lara Piccoli) and 2 honours candidates, as well as co-supervisor for 2 PhD candidates (Ms Chang Lui, Dr Catherine McHugh). He has supervised 1 research masters and 6 honours students to completion.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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