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Stressing the importance of mental health

The impact mental stress has on the human body will be explored in a public lecture by a James Cook University researcher.

First published 4 October 2012

The impact mental stress has on the human body will be explored in a public lecture by a James Cook University researcher.

The talk is being held next week as part of part of the Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences Public Lecture series.

The series showcases JCU’s research to the community and is designed to inform, educate and entertain residents about current health issues.

Associate Professor Zoltan Sarnyai will present Stress and the Brain: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Wednesday, October 10.

Dr Sarnyai said most people encountered stress every day and experienced its profound effects on the brain and body.

“Stress has been suggested to contribute in the development of a number of mental disorders, including depression, substance abuse and schizophrenia,” he said.

People from lower socio-economic status and from minority groups were particularly subjected to stress and its harmful effects, however, no-one was immune, he said.

“Executives under pressure, adolescents dealing with the pains of growing up, couples trying to sort out their lives, are all susceptible,” he said.

“This talk will summarise current scientific research on how stress influences brain function, emotions, cognition and mental health and will highlight the biological interactions between psychosocial stress and depression as well as other aspects mental health and well-being.”


Dr Sarnyai is currently Associate Professor of Pharmacology at JCU.

He was previously University Lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge where he served as Director of Studies for Medicine.

His current research focuses on the biological mechanisms of stress and psychiatric disorders.

Dr Sarnyai’s research career included a Research Fellowship at the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, followed by a junior faculty position at The Rockefeller University in New York.

He published more over 80 original papers, review articles and book chapters in the field of neuroscience.

He was awarded the Curt P. Richter Prize by the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology for his work on neuropeptides and brain function and was a recipient of the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).


Date: Wednesday 10th October 2012

Time: 5.30pm

Location: Medical Lecture Theatre, JCU Townsville campus

Everyone is welcome.

For interviews, contact Associate Professor Zoltan Sarnyai on (07) 4781 6992 oremail zoltan.sarnyai@jcu.edu.au

For more information, contact Kiara Cantamessa, Marketing & Events Assistant

on (07) 4781 5179, or on 0419 547 797.

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175