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Visit the Graeme Clark Oration website for more information and to register for this free public event –



Mental illnesses are amongst the most common and disabling disorders in all of medicine, yet we have a very limited understanding of their medical basis.

Thomas R. lnsel, M.D., is a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, at Verily (formerly known as the Life Sciences Team at Google) and as the speaker at this year’s Graeme Clark Oration, Dr Insel will call in question how recent science has begun to change our perspective on these illnesses from behavioral problems to brain disorders.

Dr Insel was previously Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders.

He served as Director of this $1.5B agency from 2002 until 2015. During his tenure, Dr. Insel focused on the genetics and neurobiology of mental disorders as well as transforming approaches to diagnosis and treatment before joining Verily in December 2015. Dr Insel said that the revolutions in genomics and brain imaging have now begun to reveal the fundamental biology of psychosis as well as mood and anxiety disorders.

“This new science indicates that many of our old assumptions may be incorrect: diagnostic categories are not valid, treatments are inadequate, and interventions are too late. Modern scientific tools and information technologies promise more precise diagnostic boundaries that ensure people will get the right treatment at the right time,” Dr Insel said. “While classic neurological disorders may involve specific brain lesions, mental disorders appear to be due to functional changes in brain circuits.”

This lecture will describe some of the recent advances in the science of mental illness and explore some of the ways that research advances can help those suffering from a serious mental illness. Bionic ear pioneer Professor Graeme Clark AC — after whom the Oration is named — is delighted to have Dr Insel deliver this year’s Oration.

“Dr Tom Insel’s work opened up new avenues for the understanding of mental illnesses. Not only is he a brilliant Neuroscientist, but he has had a distinguished and interesting career and is now reaching new audiences through his corporate work. I believe the future is very bright for scientific research aimed at improving human health and well being,” he said.