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Depression and Anxiety Neuroscience

Laboratory Head



Prof Chris Davey, Head of Department, Psychiatry

Dr Trevor Steward, NHMRC post-doctoral fellow (MSPS)

Dr Alec Jamieson, post-doctoral fellow

Holly Carey, research co-ordinator

Lee Unsworth, research assistant

Amy Nielson, research assistant

Rebekah Truman, research assistant

Christine Leonards, PhD candidate

Sevil Ince, PhD candidate

James Agathos, candidate

Po-Han (Terry) Kung, PhD candidate

Eve Halbe, joint PhD candidate (Uni. Bonn)

Elizabeth Haris, PhD candidate (UNSW)

Leah Hudson, PhD candidate

Yingliang Dai, PhD candidate

Anna Wester, joint PhD candidate (KU Leuven)

Lieselotte Claes, joint PhD candidate (KU Leuven)

Our research group is dedicated to understanding the brain basis of mood and anxiety disorders – the most common and costly form of mental illness. We conduct experimental neuroimaging research in healthy and clinical populations and have a particular interest in treatment mechanisms. Our key collaborative partners include the Advanced Interventions in Mood Disorders (AIM) Clinic at Royal Melbourne Hospital; the Brain and Mental Health (BAM) Hub in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, and the Melbourne Brain Centre Imaging Unit.

A Neural System Model of Fear Dysregulation In Anxiety Disorders

People with anxiety disorders have characteristic difficulty regulating fear. Recent work by our team has shown that successful fear regulation relies on the coordinated activity of an extended ‘ventromedial prefrontal cortex system’ that mediates adaptive emotional responses to perceived threat and safety signals. This project will combine functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychophysiological monitoring and advanced brain connectivity analysis, to develop a unified neural systems model of human fear regulation that will be applied to the study of three clinical anxiety disorders in young people.

Funding: NHMRC Project Grant (ID 1161897)

Recent Publications

Ince S, Steward T, Harrison BJ, Jamieson AJ, Davey CG, Agathos JA, Moffat BA, Glarin RK, Felmingham KL (2023) Subcortical contributions to salience network functioning during negative emotional processing. Neuroimage 119964.


Davey CG, Harrison BJ (2022) The self on its axis: a framework for understanding depression. Transl Psychiatry 12(1):23.


Jamieson AJ, Harrison BJ, Razi A, Davey CG (2022) Rostral anterior cingulate network effective connectivity in depressed adolescents and associations with treatment response in a randomized controlled trial. Neuropsychopharmacology 47(6):1240–1248.


Harrison BJ, Davey CG, Savage HS, Jamieson AJ, Leonards CA, Moffat BA, Glarin RK, Steward T (2022) Dynamic subcortical modulators of human default mode network function. Cereb Cortex 32(19):4345–4355.


Battaglia S, Harrison BJ, Fullana MA (2022) Does the human ventromedial prefrontal cortex support fear learning, fear extinction or both? A commentary on subregional contributions. Mol Psychiatry 27(2):784–786.


Laing PAF, Steward T, Davey CG, Felmingham KL, Fullana MA, Vervliet B, Greaves MD, Moffat B, Glarin RK, Harrison BJ (2022) Cortico-Striatal Activity Characterizes Human Safety Learning via Pavlovian Conditioned Inhibition. J Neurosci 42(25):5047–5057.


Steward T, Kung PH, Davey CG, Moffat BA, Glarin RK, Jamieson AJ, Felmingham KL, Harrison BJ (2022) A thalamo-centric neural signature for restructuring negative self-beliefs. Mol Psychiatry 27(3):1611–1617.


Leonards CA, Harrison BJ, Jamieson AJ, Steward T, Lux S, Philipsen A, Davey CG (2022) A distinct intra-individual suppression subnetwork in the brain’s default mode network across cognitive tasks. Cereb Cortex (In Press).


Davey CG, Cearns M, Jamieson A, Harrison BJ (2023) Suppressed activity of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex as a biomarker for depression remission. Psychol Med (In Press).


Savage HS, Davey CG, Wager TD, Garfinkel SN, Moffat BA, Glarin RK, Harrison BJ (2021) Neural mediators of subjective and autonomic responding during threat learning and regulation. Neuroimage 245:118643.


Steward T, Davey CG, Jamieson AJ, Stephanou K, Soriano-Mas C, Felmingham KL, Harrison BJ (2021) Dynamic Neural Interactions Supporting the Cognitive Reappraisal of Emotion. Cereb Cortex 31(2):961–973.

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