Healthy? Help Researchers Explore the Biological Link Between the Immune System and Schizophrenia!


Next Steps

  1. Complete the study questionnaire
  2. Understand if you’re eligible to participate
Click Here

Research Centre: The University of Melbourne
Location: Carlton, Vic, 3053
Lead Researcher: Vanessa Cropley
HREC: This study has been reviewed and approved by the Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee

About the Study

Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder that currently affects about 1 in 100 Australians. Researchers at the University of Melbourne aim to explore the role of the immune system in brain development.

Scientists hope that by researching these biological factors we can further understand  the relationship between the immune system and schizophrenia. In turn, this information might help develop a more accurate explanation of why and how schizophrenia develops. The hope is that this information could help those predisposed to schizophrenia or those currently experiencing psychosis access the support they need sooner. If you have not been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but want to help researchers understand this condition better, why not consider signing up for this research study?

Why Participate?

  • Participants will be compensated up to $340 for participating in this study. This consists of $120 for assessments, and $220 for the lumbar puncture. Payments will be made separately. Compensation will be provided to eligible participants for portions of the study that are completed.
  • Participants will be contributing valuable information that may benefit those with schizophrenia in the future.
  • Participants will be helping to advance medical research.

Your Rights

  • If you decide to participate in the study and later feel that you no longer wish to be part of it, you can withdraw at any time.
  • Any information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential, except as required by law.
  • Qualified health professionals will monitor your health as it relates to the study.

Who Can Participate?

  • People aged between 18-40 years old
  • Must be in generally good health
  • Must be fluent in verbal and written English
  • Must be willing to undergo a lumbar puncture during the study
  • Must be willing to avoid taking alcohol or drugs prior to the session to ensure that these substances do not influence the study results.
  • Must not have a history of a psychotic disorder or  or a current diagnosis of a psychiatric condition
  • Must not have any metal inserted into your body (e.g., braces, piercings that cannot be removed, a pacemaker) or be claustrophobic
  • Must not have a current or previous history of neurological disease
  • Must not have any inflammatory conditions (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, chemotherapy within the past 24 months)
  • Must not have a history of seizures within the last 12 months
  • Must not have a history of significant head injury within the last 12 months
  • Must be able to attend 2-3 visits at the research sites (over approximately 1 month)

More Study Details

The study team will explain the research in its entirety but some details are:

Session 1 (~6 hours):

  • Participating in a fasting blood sample collection
  • Participating in a neuropsychological assessment and clinical interview
  • Participating in an MRI (this is a scan that measures brain structure/function) 

Session 2 (~2 hours):

  • Participating in a lumbar puncture (this is a routine medical procedure used to collect cerebrospinal fluid from the lower back)

If you would like further information about the study please read the Participation Information form here. We encourage you to save a copy of this so you can refer back to it later.

About the Research Centre

The University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia’s second-oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. The university comprises ten academic units associated with numerous institutes and research centres. These include the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, and the Grattan Institute. The university has fifteen graduate schools, including the Melbourne Business School, the Melbourne Law School, and the Melbourne Medical School.

Please note:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers would like to assure the participants that ensuring their and the study staff’s safety is of utmost importance.


What’s Next?

  1. Click the link to enter your contact details and take the study questionnaire.
  2. If eligible, a member of the research team will contact you to discuss the study and answer any questions you may have.
Click Here to Check Your Eligibility for This Study

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