A/Prof Mark Walterfang
2011 Chancellor’s Award Winner (Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences)
The Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in the PhD Thesis is awarded on an annual basis (in each of the Faculties grouping of: Humanities and Creative Arts, Social Sciences, Science and Engineering and Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences).
Associate Professor Mark Walterfang is the Chancellor’s Prize Award Winner in the Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences grouping for his thesis entitled: "The specificity of morphological changes of the corpus callosum in schizophrenia and related major mental disorders".
Associate Professor Walterfang examined the corpus callosum, the brain's largest fibre bundle connecting its two hemispheres, in patients with psychotic illness and other major mental disorders, using shape analysis of the corpus callosum on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
He found that patients with schizophrenia have specific and unique shape changes in the corpus callosum, which are detectable at the time the illness first presents but also can be detected prior to illness onset and may be used to determine which at-risk young people may develop schizophrenia and, if they do, the nature of their illness.
Additionally, he showed that the corpus callosum may carry a unique shape "signature" specific to different mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, and that this signature may assist with diagnosis and monitoring of illness.