BPA Early Career Researchers Network (ECRN)

Biological Psychiatry Australia has an active network of early career scientists who have established a range of awards and avenues to help young scientists.

To find out more about the BPA-ECRN, head to their twitter page here. For all general enquiries please email biolpsychaustralia.ecrn@gmail.com.

If you would like to be involved in the BPA ECRN mentor program (as either a mentor or mentee) please sign-up here.





Funding Opportunities

The BPA-ECRN Professional Development Grant

If you have been connected to our network in the past, you may recall our BPA-ECRN Travel Grant. Given the trepidation many of us feel with booking travel at the moment, the Travel Grant is being re-framed as the Professional Development Grant for 2021. Therefore, rather than exclusively funding travel to a host institution, the Professional Development Grant can be used to engage in a range of activities that will foster growth in biological psychiatry research, such as; research skills training, short courses, research equipment, or indeed travel!  

Check out the award Terms and Conditions and application form now!

Applications must be submitted to biolpsychaustralia.ecrn@gmail.com, by 5pm AEST on Friday 3 September 2021.


The BPA-ECRN Student and Early Career Researcher Excellence Plenary

The BPA Student and ECR Plenary recognises outstanding achievement by a student or early career researcher. The award is open to all Honours and postgraduate students, as well as those working at any level (i.e. research assistant through to post-doctoral researcher), in areas with relevance for advancing biological understandings and interventions of psychiatric disorders.

Awardees are invited to deliver a keynote presentation (20min) at the annual Biological Psychiatry Australia conference and will receive a commemorative certificate.

More information and the Plenary Application Outline can be found here.

These applications must be submitted to biolpsychaustralia.ecrn@gmail.com, by 5pm AEST on Friday 3 September 2021. 



BPA ECRN Mentoring Program

Each year around the BPA conference, the BPA ECRN runs a mentoring program. This program aims to connect ECRs with more senior researchers (mid-career onwards) so ECRs can receive advice, discuss ideas and hear about career opportunities that may not be available at their own institution. Ultimately, this program supports the future careers of our ECRs while also welcoming them into our society.

The success of this program relies on senior researchers (mid-career onwards) volunteering some of their time to mentor ECRs. We therefore highly encourage any researcher who is attending the 2021 BPA conference to take part in this program! Matches will be based upon research topics where possible, but ECRs are encouraged to make the most of this opportunity to receive one on one guidance and career advice, regardless of their mentors area of expertise. Please check here later in the year for updated information on the 2021 BPA ECRN mentoring program.


Here’s what last year’s mentors and mentees had to say about the program:

“The BPA ECRN mentoring program enabled me to meet and discuss my research and career plans with a senior researcher in my field in a more casual and relaxed context. I still catch up with my mentor every now and then, she has a lot of fantastic advice to offer!”

Alex Guerin (mentee)


“I was delighted to be able to serve as a mentor for an Early Career Researcher (ECR) of Biological Psychiatry Australia (BPA).  ECRs are the future of our society and our field, and I think it is important to nurture their passion for science, while guiding them on how to make the most of their time in this extraordinarily exciting and important field of biomedical research.  I enjoyed the experience.  All the way with BPA!”

Prof. Anthony Hannan (mentor)


Previous Awardees

The BPA ECRN would like to congratulate the following for receiving the BPA ECRN Travel Grants (previously known as the Lab Travel Awards):


Samara Brown (The University of Wollongong, Awarded in 2020)
Samara plans to visit Macquarie University where she will present her work investigating the potential role of the kynurenine pathway in the aetiology of depression and disorders involving psychosis. While visiting, she will also extend her research training and analysis pipeline in ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography by collaborating with Dr Edwin Lim.

Patrick Laing (The University of Melbourne, Awarded in 2020)
Patrick plans to visit the Brain Dynamics Centre at the Westmead Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney. Here, he will present his work that investigates how people learn to inhibit threat behaviour in response to learned safety signals, and how this learning process manifests in functional brain activity. While visiting, he also plans to meet and discuss his research with Associate Professor Mayuresh Korgaonkar and Professor Richard Bryant!

Joel Raymond (The University of Sydney, Awarded in 2020)
Joel plans to visit the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the University of Melbourne where he will present his work on the role of oxytocin in sleep-wake behaviour. While visiting he plans to collaborate with Associate Professor Laura Jacobson and Professor Daniel Hoyer from the Sleep and Cognition team on a new project and to develop his skills in experimental techniques.


Sid Chopra (Monash University, Awarded in 2020)

Sid plans to visit the University of Newcastle where he will present on his PhD project; a world first triple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised MRI study that examines brain changes in people with psychosis. Learning from Professor Michael Breakspear, he hopes to use his resting state fMRI data to model brain network changes using the Brain Dynamics Toolbox.

Volkan Uzungil (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Awarded in 2019)
Volkan plans to visit the Queesnsland Brain Institute to meet with various research laboratories and researchers, including Prof. Tom Burne and members of the Development Neurobiology lab, to gain insights and learn techniques to improve his research credentials. He also plans on giving a talk at the weekly QBI Seminar series, a critical experience which will also allow him me to receive feedback from an expert audience.

Anna Horton (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Awarded in 2019)
Anna plans on visiting Professor Chris Dayas’ laboratory at the University of Newcastle where they have recently implemented techniques allowing them to image neuronal networks in freely moving animal models of substance use disorder. This award will allow her to visit and train in this technique so that she can apply it to her own research. She will also present her work at the University of Newcastle to gain valuable feedback from experts using similar electrophysiological and imaging approaches to investigate substance use disorder.

Alice Petty (The Queensland Brain Institute, Awarded in 2019)

Roberta Anversa (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Awarded in 2018)

Katie Drummond (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Awarded in 2018)

Kyna-Anne Conn (The Queensland Brain Institute, Awarded in 2018)



ECRN committee members
Chair Elysia Sokolenko (email)

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Ashela Segal (email)

Monash University

Secretary Georgia Caruana (email)

The University of Melbourne

Social Media Coordinator Clarissa Yates (email)

Queensland Brain Institute

Host representatives
Sid Chopra (email) Orygen
Ashlea Segal (email) Monash University
Svetlina Vasileva (email) Queensland Brain Institute
Carolina De Moura Gubert (email) University of Melbourne and Florey Institute
Karly Turner (email) University of New South Wales
Annalisa Cuskelly (email) University of Newcastle
Mia Langguth (email) University of Sydney
Rossana Rosa Porto (email) Western Sydney University
Christin Weissleder (email) NeuRA
Samara Brown (email) University of Wollongong
Luke Ney (email) University of Tasmania