Committed to Research

Sydney Anxiety and OCD Conference 2020 banner
"Working together for better outcomes."


Organising bodies: Western Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University.
Date and Time: 19th to 20th November, 2020. 9am to 430pm.
Location: Lecture Theatre, Blacktown Clinical School, Blacktown Hospital.


The conference aims to discuss cutting edge research in the field of anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. It will have both a biological and psychological focus with the presenters and attendees coming from psychiatry, psychology, medical and social science backgrounds. The conference will have the following specific aims:

  1. To stimulate research endeavours for anxiety and OCD in Australia
  2. To enhance collaborative efforts to better treat anxiety and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders (a meeting of the Australian OCD Consortium will be held at the conference)
  3. To bring attention to a geographical area where there are large numbers of people who suffer from these high prevalence disorders
  4. To be informative to clinicians who treat patients with anxiety disorders
  5. To improve standards of clinical practice for the treatment of OCD and anxiety disorders


Convenors: Prof Vlasios Brakoulias and A/Prof Vladan Starcevic

Scientific Committee: Prof Vlasios Brakoulias, Prof David Castle, Prof Leonardo Fontenelle, Dr Paul O’Halloran. Prof Lisa Lampe, Karen Moses, Dr Iain Perkes, A/Prof Vladan Starcevic,


A series of presentations have been planned and the final scientific program will be published on the website by May 2020. This is the second Sydney Conference on Anxiety and Related Disorders with the first held at Nepean Hospital in 2010.

Delegate registration fee: Early bird fee - $250 (payment due before the 18 September, 2020).
Standard registration fee - $310. The fee includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.


Keynote Speakers

Professor David Nutt

David Nutt
Professor David Nutt
DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FMedSci, DLaws
A psychopharmacologist with an interest in anxiety disorders from the University of Bristol in the UK.

Anxiety disorders: from brain mechanisms to new treatments” My talk will explore recent developments in the molecular and imaging science of anxiety disorders and how they can help us understand how current treatments work and hopefully inform new approaches to treatments”

David Nutt is a psychiatrist and the Edmund J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology in the Division of Brain Science, Dept of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London. He has published over 500 original research papers, a similar number of reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 35 books, including one for the general public, Drugs: without the hot air, that won the Transmission Prize in 2014. He was previously President of the European Brain Council, the British Association of Psychopharmacology, the British Neuroscience Association and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is currently Founding Chair of and holds visiting Professorships at the Open University and University of Maastricht.

David broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television. In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine voted him one of the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist in the list. In 2013 he was awarded the John Maddox Prize from Nature/Sense about Science for standing up for science and in 2017 a Doctor of Laws hon causa from the University of Bath


Professor David Castle

David Castle
Professor David Castle
An internationally recognised psychiatrist from St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne in Melbourne who is known for his work in body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.



Professor of Psychiatry, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and The University of Melbourne
Consultant Psychiatrist, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne

Adjunct appointments:
Honorary Professor, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Cape Town
Clinical Professor, School of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, University of Western Australia
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, Swinburne University

David is Professor of Psychiatry at St Vincent’s Health and The University of Melbourne. His clinical and research interests include schizophrenia and related disorders and bipolar disorder. He has a longstanding interest the impact of licit and illicit substances on the brain and is actively engaged in programmes addressing the physical health of the mentally ill and the mental health of the physically ill. He is also pursuing his work on OCD spectrum disorders, notably body dysmorphic disorder, in which he is a recognised international expert. David has published widely in prestigious journals, including around 800 papers and chapters; and has co-authored or co-edited 25 books, a number of which have won prestigious awards. His work is consistently highly cited. He has been successful in attracting substantial grant funding from a variety of different sources, and has strong local, national, and international research links. He has received a number of commendations for his work, including the Senior Research Award from the Royal ANZ College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and a University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor’s Staff Engagement Award. In 2015 he was presented with the Ian Simpson Award by the RANZCP in recognition of outstanding contributions to clinical psychiatry as assessed through service to patients and the community.

David is on a number of advisory boards and editorial boards, and is a reviewer for numerous national and international scientific journals. He speaks regularly at local, national and international scientific meetings about his research; and also teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His strong commitment to teaching is reflected in his completion of the Graduate Certificate in University Teaching from the University of Melbourne in 2011, his election as a Fellow of the Melbourne Medical School Academy of Clinical Teachers in 2013 and his being awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Teaching from the University of Melbourne in 2015. David served two years as Chair of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and was an elected member of the Binational RANZCP Board 2016-2018. In 2016 he became a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David’s broader interests include music, literature, theatre and art.




Doctor Iain Perkes

Doctor Iain Perkes
Doctor Iain Perkes
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: A meta-review of pathophysiology


Phenomenological descriptions of OCD have maintained fidelity for 1500 years — across time, neurodevelopment, and culture. However, a vast amount of data has accumulated since seminal clinical case reports, shifting our understanding of the condition. This talk aims to systematically juxtapose data informing OCD pathophysiology and produce an integrated synthesis.

Iain Perkes is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, Senior Lecturer, and NHMRC Scholar at UNSW Sydney. He researches the development and mechanisms of OCD using decision neuroscience and magnetic resonance imaging. He is an Advisor to the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.


Professor Leonardo Fontenelle

Leonardo Fontenelle 
Professor Leonardo Fontenelle
Transitioning from subthreshold to full-blown obsessive-compulsive disorder: Is there room for early intervention?


This talk will introduce the audience a staging model for OCD, describe studies pro phenotypes “at risk” for OCD, and list the factors likely to be involved in transition from subthreshold to full-blown cases.

Professor Leonardo F Fontenelle, MD, PhD is a psychiatrist who is internationally recognised for his work on OCD and is affiliated with the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health & Department of Psychiatry, Monash University, VIC, Australia; and the D’Or Institute for Research and Education & Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Professor Vlasios Brakoulias

Vlasios Brakoulias 
Professor Vlasios Brakoulias
Developing an early intervention program for obsessive-compulsive disorder


This talk will present describe a novel early intervention program for young people suffering from obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

Professor Brakoulias is a psychiatrist with an interest in obsessive-compulsive and related disorders who is currently affiliated with Western Sydney University and works in the Western Sydney Local Health District.


Professor Roco Crino

Rocco Crino 
Professor Roco Crino
An update on exposure and response prevention Exposure and Response


Prevention (E-RP) procedures were first described in the 1970s and have remained an important and often recommended non-pharmacological intervention in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The techniques were solidly grounded in the learning theory concepts of extinction or habituation. Learning theory, however, has advanced significantly since the initial development of E-RP with important implications for how E-RP should be conducted in order to maximise treatment gains and reduce relapse. These changes are discussed with clinical examples.

Dr Rocco Crino is a senior Clinical Psychologist who has been involved in the research and treatment of Anxiety Disorders for over 40 years. He is a past Director of the Anxiety Disorders Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and held senior clinical positions in other NSW Clinics and Hospitals. He has also held a number of academic positions at Universities including Sydney University, University of NSW, University of Western Sydney and Charles Sturt University. He remains clinically active in his private practice and continues to teach and supervise clinicians.


Doctor Bethany Wootton

Bethany Wooton 
Doctor Bethany Wootton
Remote treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder: Enhancing access to evidence-based treatment


This presentation will outline the various approaches to remote treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as the advantages and disadvantages and current empirical support for each remote treatment approach. Remote treatment options in Australia will be discussed and highlighted during the presentation.  

Dr. Wootton is a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the Graduate School of Health at the University of Technology Sydney. Clinically Dr Wootton focuses on the treatment of anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Dr Wootton's research primarily focuses on improving the assessment and identification of these conditions, as well as the development and evaluation of remote psychological treatments for these conditions, with the goal of improving access to evidence-based treatment for individuals with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive spectrum conditions.


Prof Jerome Sarris

Jerome Sarris 
Prof Jerome Sarris
Potential Application of Nutraceuticals and Plant-based Medicines in OCD and Anxiety Disorders


This talk will cover a selection of nutrients and plant-based medicines for potential use in OCD and for anxiety disorders. A particular focus is given to n-acetyl cysteine and kava in respect to current clinical trial evidence and therapeutic considerations.  

Jerome Sarris is an NHMRC Clinical Research Fellow and Professor of Integrative Mental Health at NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University. He also holds an honorary Principal Research Fellow appointment at Melbourne University, Department of Psychiatry. He has a particular interest in mood and anxiety disorder research pertaining to lifestyle medicine and nutraceutical psychopharmacology, and psychotropic plant medicine research (in particular on Kava, and medicinal cannabis). He has conducted many RCTs in the field, including 3 recent multicentre NHMRC Project Grants as CIA. He currently leads the ACTA Clinical Trials Network on Lifestyle Medicine and Nutraceuticals for Treatment of Mental and Cognitive Disorders.


Karen Moses

Karen Moses
The assessment and treatment of Anxiety Disorders in the Western Sydney Area


This presentation will focus on the importance of evidence based assessment / treatment practices and review some of the services that offer this in the local area.  

Karen Moses is a Clinical Psychologist and is the current Director of the Western Sydney University Psychology Clinics. Karen is an experienced clinician and researcher, with particular interests in the area of assessment and treatment of the anxiety and obsessive compulsive and related disorders.


A/Prof Lisa Lampe

Lisa Lampe 
A/Prof Lisa Lampe
Social anxiety – towards better understanding and treatment


Social anxiety is a normal phenomenon related to the human desire to be liked and accepted. But when the fear and/or expectation of negative social outcomes becomes unreasonable it can ruin lives. Helping patients to master disorders of social anxiety requires graded exposure in the context of developing a good understanding of the core cognitions driving the anxiety.  

Lisa Lampe MB,BS PhD FRANZCP is Associate Professor and Discipline Lead in Psychiatry, and Convenor of the Joint Medical Program (BMedSci/MD) at the University of Newcastle. Lisa’s clinical expertise and research interests are in anxiety disorders, cognitive behavior therapy and medical education. She completed her PhD (USyd) on avoidant personality disorder and social phobia. She is author or co-author of several books on anxiety. Lisa was a member of the team that produced the RANZCP Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalised anxiety disorder (ANZJP 2018). Lisa had a past long association with the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression at St Vincent’s Hospital. 



Sydney Anxiety OCD Conf widget2
Eventbrite Sydney Anxiety & OCD Conference 2020
The conference aims to discuss cutting edge research in the field of anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.

Blacktown Hospital Map

stages of improvement small 
Click to expand image


Looking for General
Orientation information?

See more