Grant winner Dr Matthew Kang and his research on the effects of electroconvulsive therapy on new blood tests measuring brain injury and inflammation.

Dr Matthew Kang is a RANZCP Fellow, PhD student, clinical tutor at the department of psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and a psychiatrist at Melbourne Health. In 2023, Dr Kang was one of the recipients of The RANZCP Foundation Early Research Career Grant for his research project The effect of electroconvulsive therapy on blood-based biomarkers of glial activity and neuronal injury.

About the project

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for major depression and other mental illnesses; however, its neurobiological effects are yet to be understood. Developments in ultrasensitive blood test techniques have allowed us to measure small fragments of brain proteins in the blood. Neurofilament light chain (NfL) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) are two proteins found in the brain and are markers of brain injury and inflammation. This project, as part of the MiND Study (, will analyse serial blood samples of NfL and GFAP in people undergoing ECT for major depression and compare this to treatment response and side effects of ECT, including cognition.

I’m very grateful for the RANZCP Foundation’s support in funding my PhD project. It motivates me to see the project through, and ultimately help future consumers, carers and clinicians have access to a widely available blood test that can aid diagnosis and care.

Dr Matthew Kang

The RANZCP Foundation Early Research Career Grant aims to provide support for RANZCP Fellows or Affiliates who are pursuing innovative research in psychiatry. The grant is designed to encourage those who might be new to research or intend to have a career in research.

The Value is one grant of A$10,000.

The RANZCP Foundation funds clinical research in psychiatry
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