Our lab hosts two Tobii eye-trackers which have a range of research and treatment applications. Eye tracking provides us with an insight into a range of critical processes such as attention and social cognition, which we apply to the study of mental illnesses. Eleana and Nigel use the eye-trackers in their research with autism and anxiety.
We have access to an MRI lab run by Southern Radiology that allows structural and functional brain imaging. We are currently conducting several studies using these imaging techniques to investigate which biological processes contribute to mental illnesses like autism, anxiety and psychosis. We are also investigating whether these imaging techniques could be used to predict which people will respond positively to treatment using oxytocin nasal spray (a natural hormone). Ben's research is focused in this area.
Our psychopharmacology lab allows us to analyse biological samples like blood for hormone levels. This is a very important part of our research, because many of our studies involve investigating the effect of hormone-based medications like oxytocin as a treatment for various mental illnesses. We have also established relationships with researchers overseas like Simon Gregory who are able to analyse blood samples for genetic markers, which means we are able to do research investigating the impact of genes on mental illness. Loretta is a trained professional who has skills in taking and analysing blood samples from patients in a safe and effective way.
Behavioural observation laboratory
Our behavioural observation lab is equipped with state of the art audio-visual recording devices, wireless physiological equipment, and a one-way observation mirror. We use the lab to observe children playing and interacting with others in a naturalistic setting. The physiological recording system allows us to measure heart rate, and other important responses during child-play. Lizzie is using these facilities to investigate how children with autism interact and play with their parents, on a behavioural and physiological level.