Monday 15 September, 2014 – UQ Research Week

In September BrisScience will once again present The University of Queensland’s annual Research Week Public Lectures. This year’s talks are:

Why Groups are the Cornerstone of Mental Health

Prof Alex Haslam, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland

Mental health 300x198Joining just one social group today you will cut your risk of being diagnosed with depression in the next two years by 24%. Such statistics point to the fact that groups are as important for health as diet, exercise, and genetics. Yet their importance is rarely discussed, and far less explained.

This lecture, by Prof Alex Haslam, will discuss how social groups — and the identities they give us — are central to our psychology.  Not only are they a source of social support but they also imbue us with a sense of meaning, belonging, purpose, and agency. In this way, the talk makes the case for a radical change in public discourse about health and well-being and in the policies that service this.

Alex Haslam 1 201x250Alex Haslam is Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology and Australian Laureate Fellow at The University of Queensland. His research focuses on the study of group and identity processes in organizational, social, and clinical contexts.

Together with colleagues, Alex has written and edited 11 books. His most recent books are Social Psychology: Revisiting the Classic Studies (2012) and The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power (2011).

His work with Michelle Ryan on the Glass Cliff was identified by the New York Times as one of the ‘Best 100 Ideas’ of 2008. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and for the Association for Psychological Science, and on the editorial board of 10 international journals including Scientific American Mind for which he writes regularly.

Treating Arthritis and Diabetes in the Digital Age: A Personalised Approach

Prof Ranjeny Thomas, Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland

The digital age has brought technologies streaming personalised information right into our hands, onto our wrists, into our wallets and our clothes. What if we could take an individual’s genetic and cellular information and use it to customise personalised smart therapies for crippling and expensive diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diabetes?

In this talk, Professor Ranjeny Thomas from the Translational Research Institute will demonstrate how she and her team have developed smart personalised therapies for rheumatoid arthritis, designed based on an individual’s genetic, antibody and cellular information, and their work towards similar personalised approaches in type 1 diabetes.

Ranjeny Thomas 1 200x250Prof Ranjeny Thomas is clinical Rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital and head of the Immunology programme at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. Her research is focussed on the study of autoimmune disease and restoration of tolerance. Through this work, she developed and tested the first rheumatoid arthritis vaccine.

Ranjeny has also contributed major insights into the pathogenesis of spondyloarthropathies and autoimmune diabetes, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. Ranjeny is founder and a director of the spin-off company, Dendright, which is developing vaccines to suppress autoimmune diseases.

  • Time: 6:30pm to 8:00pm, Monday 15 September.
  • Venue: The EdgeState Library of Queensland, South Brisbane.
  • Arrangements: Doors open at 6pm. No need to book – just show up!
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, where Prof Alex Haslam and Prof Ranjeny Thomas will be available to answer any questions.
  • Questions about this event? Contact Andrew.

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This BrisScience event was proudly sponsored by  The University of Queensland.
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