Prof Rhoshel Lenroot


Research Fellow and Group Leader, NeuRA Chair of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, UNSW
Clinical Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, SESLHD

+612 9399 1884

Prof Lenroot received her medical degree and training in Adult, Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico in the United States. She began her work in psychiatric research in New Mexico with a project using spectroscopy to study glutamate abnormalities in adolescents with early onset schizophrenia. She then moved to Bethesda, Maryland, to work on longitudinal studies of brain development with the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institutes of Mental Health. There her research focussed on understanding influences on brain development, including sex differences, the impact of having different numbers of sex chromosomes, and twin studies to parse out the relative of influences of genetic and environmental factor across development. In May of 2009 Rhoshel relocated to Sydney to begin her work at NeuRA and UNSW using neuroimaging techniques to study healthy and atypical brain development in children and adolescents.

Projects Prof Rhoshel Lenroot is currently involved with


Koori Growing Old Well Study

The primary aim of a proposed longitudinal study is to find the reasons for the high dementia rates (three times non-Indigenous rates) in urban/regional Aboriginal people.


Koori Growing Old Well Study

An MRI study of emotion processing in boys

The goal of this study is to use functional magnetic resonance imaging to better understand brain activity in children with different kinds of conduct problems, and to determine whether an intervention to change visual attention in children with conduct problems affects brain activity and emotional responses in response to signs of distress in others.


EMPATHY: An MRI study of emotion processing in boys with aggressive behavior and other conduct problems and boys without a history of mental health problems

The bipolar kids & sibs study

NeuRA is working in partnership with the Black Dog Institute to conquer bipolar disorder. This study aims to identify what makes people more or less likely to develop bipolar disorder.



The bipolar kids & sibs study

Like Father Like Son: Fathers Against Violence and Aggression

A national collaboration of health researchers, clinicians, policy leaders and consumer groups to put into place a range of innovative strategies such as web-based parenting programs to enhance participation of fathers and creating changes in policy and clinical practice at a national level.


Like Father Like Son: Fathers Against Violence and Aggression

A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study of early intervention for children with autism

The aim of this study is to determine whether the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), an early intervention program for preschool aged children with autism, affects developmental changes in brain activity.


A functional near-infrared spectroscopy study of early intervention for children with autism

An MRI study of intervention outcomes in children with autism

The proposed study will evaluate primary school aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to determine whether baseline measures of brain structure and function can contribute to predict response to interventions such as school based programs.


An MRI study of intervention outcomes in children with autism


Lidan Zhang


Jason Bruggemann


Janan Karatas

DR JANAN KARATAS Visiting Research Officer

Katie Osborne-Crowley


Julius Macefield

JULIUS MACEFIELD Research Assistant

Amanda Mazzoni



Epigenetic regulation of the DRD4 gene and dimensions of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children.

Dadds MR, Schollar-Root O, Lenroot R, Moul C, Hawes DJ

Association of serum VEGF levels with prefrontal cortex volume in schizophrenia.

Pillai A, Howell KR, Ahmed AO, Weinberg D, Allen KM, Bruggemann J, Lenroot R, Liu D, Galletly C, Weickert CS, Weickert TW

A large body of evidence indicates alterations in brain regional cellular energy metabolism and blood flow in schizophrenia. Among the different molecules regulating blood flow, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is generally accepted as the major factor involved in the process of angiogenesis. In the present study, we examined whether peripheral VEGF levels correlate with changes in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) volume in patients with schizophrenia and in healthy controls. Whole-blood samples were obtained from 96 people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 83 healthy controls. Serum VEGF protein levels were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas quantitative PCR was performed to measure interleukin-6 (IL-6, a pro-inflammatory marker implicated in schizophrenia) mRNA levels in the blood samples. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained using a 3T Achieva scanner on a subset of 59 people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 65 healthy controls, and prefrontal volumes were obtained using FreeSurfer software. As compared with healthy controls, individuals with schizophrenia had a significant increase in log-transformed mean serum VEGF levels (t(177)=2.9, P=0.005). A significant inverse correlation (r=-0.40, P=0.002) between serum VEGF and total frontal pole volume was found in patients with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. Moreover, we observed a significant positive association (r=0.24, P=0.03) between serum VEGF and IL-6 mRNA levels in patients with schizophrenia. These findings suggest an association between serum VEGF and inflammation, and that serum VEGF levels are related to structural abnormalities in the PFC of people with schizophrenia.

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulation Increases Hippocampal Activity during Probabilistic Association Learning in Schizophrenia.

Kindler J, Weickert CS, Skilleter AJ, Catts SV, Lenroot R, Weickert TW

People with schizophrenia show probabilistic association learning impairment in conjunction with abnormal neural activity. The selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) raloxifene preserves neural activity during memory in healthy older men and improves memory in schizophrenia. Here, we tested the extent to which raloxifene modifies neural activity during learning in schizophrenia. Nineteen people with schizophrenia participated in a twelve-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over adjunctive treatment trial of the SERM raloxifene administered orally at 120 mg daily to assess brain activity during probabilistic association learning using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Raloxifene improved probabilistic association learning and significantly increased fMRI BOLD activity in the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus relative to placebo. A separate region of interest confirmatory analysis in 21 patients vs 36 healthy controls showed a positive association between parahippocampal neural activity and learning in patients, but no such relationship in the parahippocampal gyrus of healthy controls. Thus, selective estrogen receptor modulation by raloxifene concurrently increases activity in the parahippocampal gyrus and improves probabilistic association learning in schizophrenia. These results support a role for estrogen receptor modulation of mesial temporal lobe neural activity in the remediation of learning disabilities in both men and women with schizophrenia.

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