With Greece’s economic status currently in turmoil, the University of Melbourne’s Professor Christos Pantelis has been actively thinking up ways to help his fellow Greek researchers abroad.
Inspired by his recent trip to Greece, where he took part in the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry at Athens University, the professor of neuropsychiatry is actively pursuing the development of a fellowship for young Greek researchers.
“It was a great trip. It also gave me the opportunity to meet with a number of academics in psychiatry, but also young researchers. What really impressed me was you’ve a number of enthusiastic people with lots of good ideas, who are finding it very difficult to take forward these ideas, because of issues that Greece is facing currently.
“Some of these young researchers are working and doing their work without any pay at all, which is extraordinary,” Professor Pantelis tells Neos Kosmos.
Invited to give the opening keynote talk of congress, the professor was also conferred the university’s highest distinction, the Doctor Honoris Causa, which he says was the greatest honour.
For many years he has been working alongside Professor Stan Skafidas on the genetics of autism and has identified pathways in the brain that could play a pivotal role in what underlies the condition.
Taking their findings to the next level, most recently the duo have been looking at the development of potential new medications for autism, with the help of fellow researcher Arthur Christopoulos of the Monash institute.
“It’s a long way yet before we know whether this might be fruitful, but it’s certainly exciting and a way forward for a condition where there are no treatments at the moment,” he says.
Simultaneously, the academics have continued to research schizophrenia, with results showing a potential overlap between the biology that underlies the two disorders.
While this is an exciting time for the professor, he hopes to be able to use his connections at the university to establish further collaborative links with Greece to support the work of Greek researchers.
“We’re hearing about all the problems, but I want to emphasise the fabulous stuff I saw and what I really want to do is see if we can support them in their work. I think it’s always exciting to see young people with great ideas, and we need to help them to move forward in that regard,” Professor Pantelis explains.
The professor plans to meet with the advancement of the University in the coming weeks and has his sights set on establishing the fellowship as soon as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about the fellowship, and what you can do to help, contact Professor Christos Pantelis at firstname.lastname@example.org