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Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenen

Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenen is a Senior Research Fellow and

head of the Mood - Psychosis Spectrum Sub-Stream at the MNC  

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Dr Tamsyn Van Rheenen completed her PhD at Swinburne University in 2014, and moved to the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre in 2015 to take up an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow, and head of the Mood - Psychosis Spectrum group within the Psychosis Studies stream.


Tamsyn’s research program is focussed on understanding shared and distinct features of the major psychiatric illnesses on the mood – psychosis spectrum. Specifically, her current research incorporates neuropsychological and neuroimaging techniques to better understand the relationship between behaviourally assessed cognitive (thinking) skills and underlying brain anatomy and brain function, with an emphasis on bipolar disorder and its cross-over with schizophrenia.

Dr Van Rheenen is currently running the following study that is currently recruiting participants:


If you would like to find out more about Dr Van Rheenen’s research, or are interested in Honours, Masters or PhD projects, please contact her at

Current Projects

Current Funding

(2018-2020) Understanding the biological relevance of cross-diagnostic subgroups of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Henry Freeman Trust

(2017-2018) Characterising cross-diagnostic cognitive subgroups in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Society of Mental Health Research.

(2017-2018) Understanding cognitive variability in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Jack Brockhoff Foundation Medical Research Grant.

(2017-2018) Understanding the role of inhibitory dysfunction in affective network alteration and auditory verbal hallucinations in patients with bipolar disorder. Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation.

Van Rheenen TE, Mcintyre RS, Balanzá-Martínez V, Berk M & Rossell SL. (2020) Cumulative Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Triglycerides Differentially Relate to Subdomains of Executive Function in Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders. 278:556-562

Van Rheenen T.E., Cropley VL., Wells R., Bruggemann J., Swaminathan V, Sundram S, Weinberg W., Jacomb I, Lenroot R, Pereira AM, Zalesky A, Bousman C, Shannon Weickert C, Weickert TW, Pantelis P. (2020) Cognitive Reserve Attenuates Age-Related Cognitive Decline in the Context of Accelerated Brain Ageing in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders. Psychological Medicine, 50, 1475-1489

Karantonis J, Rossell S.L, Carruthers S, Sumner P, Hughes M, Green MJ, Pantelis C, Burdick K.E, Cropley V, Van Rheenen TE. (2020) Cognitive validation of cross-diagnostic cognitive subgroups on the schizophrenia-bipolar spectrum. Journal of Affective Disorders, 266, 710-721

Calafiore, D., Rossell, SL., Van Rheenen TE. (2018). Cognitive Abilities in First-Degree Relatives of Individuals with Bipolar Disorder, Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 147-152

Van Rheenen T.E, Cropley VL, Wells R, Bruggemann J., Swaminathan V, Sundram S, Weinberg W., Jacomb I, Lenroot R, Pereira AM, Zalesky A, Bousman C, Shannon Weickert C, Weickert TW, Pantelis P. (2018). Widespread volumetric reductions in schizophrenia and schizoaffective patients displaying compromised cognitive abilities. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44(3):560-574

Van Rheenen T.E., Lewandowski KE., Tan, E., Ospina, L., Ongur D, Malhotra A., Neill, E, Gurvich, E., Pantelis, C., Rossell SL., Burdick KE. (2017). Characterising cognitive heterogeneity on the schizophrenia – bipolar spectrum.  Psychological Medicine. 47, 1848-1864

Van Rheenen, T.E, Joshua, N., Rossell, S.L. & Castle, D. (2017) Configural and featural face processing influences on emotion recognition in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 23, 287-291

Van Rheenen TE, Lewandowski KE, Bauer I, Kapczinski F., Miskowiak K., Burdick, KE, Balanza-Martinez, V. Current understandings of the trajectory and emerging correlates of cognitive impairment in bipolar disorder: an overview of evidence (2020). Bipolar Disorders, 22:13–27

Van Rheenen, T.E., Lewandowski, K.E, Lipschitz J.M, Burdick K.E.  (2019) Conducting Clinical Studies Targeting Cognition in Psychiatry: Guiding Principles and Design, CNS Spectrums, 24, 16-21

Van Rheenen, TE, Ganella E., Bauer I and Bartholemeusz C. (2019). Characterisation of social cognitive deficits on the schizophrenia -bipolar spectrum: an overview of current evidence, In Lewandowski, K and Moustafa, A.M. eds. Social Cognition in Psychosis. Elsevier Inc, New York, p. 2-36

Select Publications

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