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Personal profile


Dr Rico Lee was awarded an NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Priority Round Investigator Grant (2021-25) as an Emerging Leadership Fellow. This will assist with the scaling out of a purpose-built digital assessment tool for addictive problems to fast-track knowledge generation and clinical translation, as well as provide additional support to his team.


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,  and has been an Australian board-approved psychologist since 2008. He later 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 NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Optimising Early Interventions for Young People with Emerging Mood Disorders (2015-16), 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 (namely, Torus Games), which aim 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. 


Dr Lee also has a special interest in cognitive rehabilitation using next-generation digital tools. He is involved with the prototyping and testing of virtual reality technology as an immersive approach to examining real-world addictive behaviours (eg, problem gambling). He has a keen interest in complex statistical modelling of the underlying factors that drive mental ill health and disability in transdiagnostic clinical and community cohorts.


At just over 5 years post-PhD, Dr Lee has secured >2.4 million dollars in research funding and published more than 50 papers since 2012, 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, MIME Industry Award 2019, Las Vegas, US; SIRS 2016, Florence, Italy; Addictions 2017, Lisbon, Portugal; SOBP 2019, Chicago, USA). Additionally, 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.


Presently, he is the primary supervisor of 3 PhD candidates (Ms Teresa Wulandari, Ms Maja Brydevall, Ms Erynn Christensen) and 2 honours candidates, co-superrvisor for 2 PhD candidates (Ms Chang Lui, Dr Catherine McHugh), and has supervised 1 research masters and 4 honours students to completion.

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Research Output

Fear driven compulsive behaviour is associated with worse long-term outcome in obsessive–compulsive disorder

Ferreira, G. M., Albertella, L., Moreira-de-Oliveira, M. E., Piquet-Pessôa, M., Yücel, M., Lee, R. S. C., Batista, K. B., de Menezes, G. B. & Fontenelle, L. F., Jan 2020, In : Human Psychopharmacology. 35, 1, 4 p., e2720.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Harmonised collection of data in youth mental health: Towards large datasets

Lavoie, S., Allott, K., Amminger, P., Bartholomeusz, C., Berger, M., Breakspear, M., Henders, A. K., Lee, R., Lin, A., McGorry, P., Rice, S., Schmaal, L. & Wood, S. J., 1 Jan 2020, In : Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 54, 1, p. 46-56 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)

Modelling associations between neurocognition and functional course in young people with emerging mental disorders: a longitudinal cohort study

Crouse, J. J., Chitty, K. M., Iorfino, F., Carpenter, J. S., White, D., Nichles, A., Zmicerevska, N., Guastella, A. J., Scott, E. M., Lee, R. S. C., Naismith, S. L., Scott, J., Hermens, D. F. & Hickie, I. B., 21 Jan 2020, In : Translational Psychiatry. 10, 1, 9 p., 22.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

A data-driven transdiagnostic analysis of white matter integrity in young adults with major psychiatric disorders

Hermens, D. F., Hatton, S. N., White, D., Lee, R. S. C., Guastella, A. J., Scott, E. M., Naismith, S. L., Hickie, I. B. & Lagopoulos, J., 8 Mar 2019, In : Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 89, p. 73-83 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

A psychophysiological and behavioural study of slot machine near-misses using immersive virtual reality

Detez, L., Greenwood, L. M., Segrave, R., Wilson, E., Chandler, T., Ries, T., Stevenson, M., Lee, R. S. C. & Yücel, M., 1 Sep 2019, In : Journal of Gambling Studies. 35, 3, p. 929-944 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review