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Our Summer 2024 Newsletter

It has been a busy time for the Circadian Mental Health Network, so please enjoy these highlights! For more detail on some of the things we have been working on, check out our other blog posts.

Mental Health and the Body Clock

We officially launched our Mental Health and the Body Clock survey on World Sleep Day.

This survey is part of our Mental Health and the Body Clock Priority Setting Partnership (PSP). Working with the James Lind Alliance, we aim to identify what are the most important questions research needs to answer about mental health, sleep and circadian rhythms.

This survey has been shared widely through our partner networks, including The McPin Foundation, Bipolar Scotland, The Sleep Charity, and BioClocks UK.

Our survey is open until 15th July, and we would appreciate you sharing the survey within your own Networks. We want to hear the research priorities from anyone who has experience of disrupted sleep and/or circadian rhythms and/or experience of mental health difficulties. This includes shift workers, new parents, individuals with experience of jet lag, individuals with a mental health condition, and clinicians who treat and support individuals with these experiences (this includes all clinical support and care workers).

You can find more details on our website, and you can fill out the survey here.

Open Science and Data Sharing

Over the course of this year, we have hosted several open science and data sharing training events. We are very grateful to have the opportunity and the interest to host our “FAIR in practice” workshops for a wide audience, from Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to Principal Investigators (PIs) and lab leaders, as well as, explore the different data challenges that occur across the diverse field of mental health, sleep and circadian research.

We are also excited to announce an ongoing project that focuses on enhancing data-sharing practices within the Network. We aim to thoroughly assess and improve how data is managed and shared across our network, collecting insights from both current practices and established data management standards. The primary goal is to identify opportunities where we can apply more effective data-sharing strategies to foster greater collaboration and innovation among researchers.  

This project delves into the specific challenges and opportunities associated with managing sensitive data. Recognising the complexities of such data, we aim to develop tailored 

recommendations that will guide researchers in navigating these challenges. We are committed to building training programs, standards, and frameworks that will support both PIs and ECRs. We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress and sharing how these efforts will contribute to better research outcomes and collaborative practices.

Supporting Early Career Researchers

In October 2023, we launched our first funding call. This award was open to application for a variety of different ECR activities, including networking opportunities, training, public engagement activities, and lab exchange visits. We were extremely encouraged by the response to our first ECR funding call. You can read more about the call and the ECR awardees on our blog. You can also look forward to hearing about their activities in the near future.

We have also recruited an ECR Advisory Board to further highlight the needs of ECRs at various different career stages, and we will have some exciting things to share from their expertise soon.

Also, we are excitedly preparing to launch a second ECR funding call! Be sure to look out for future announcements.

Building a Sustainable Network

We have been continuing to engage with the wider research community to introduce the Circadian Mental Health Network and begin to build relationships which will help to create a sustainable and inclusive Network. We are extremely grateful to our partner organisations for supporting this Network.

We hope to continue to build strong relationships with the wider community in the future.

Featured Network Team Member

We are grateful to have Dr Cathy Wyse as a member of the Network’s ECR Team, working to support ECRs and develop new ways for the Network to provide opportunities for ECRs. Dr Cathy Wyse is a research fellow at Maynooth University working on FamilySleeps. Cathy also 

works on Ambient-BD that will run concurrently at Maynooth University and the University of Edinburgh. Ambient-BD will look at longitudinal patterns in circadian rhythms in people with bipolar disorder. The Ambient-BD work at Maynooth is just starting and will be recruiting the first participants in the next few weeks. Cathy is very excited to be part of chronobiology research at Maynooth University as they build these new research projects and strengthen collaborations with the University of Edinburgh. This research is founded on interdisciplinary collaboration, and team of biologists, psychiatrists, geneticists, data scientists and people with lived experience all bring different perspectives on the chronobiology of mental health to the research group. This generates a fascinating mixture of ideas, fosters innovation, and helps us to drive research on the emerging discipline of chronopsychiatry forwards.

Highlighted projects

  • HELIOS-BD. Lithium’s mechanism in Bipolar Disorder: Investigating the light hypersensitivity hypothesis.

  • AMBIENT-BD. Using sleep and circadian rhythms data to understand trajectories and clinical outcomes in Bipolar Disorder.

  • FamilySleeps. Disrupted circadian rhythms in families - an endophenotype of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Generation Scotland. Loneliness in the digital world.

  • Better Sleep. Exploiting sleep and circadian science to develop and test interventions that will improve health.

  • Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry. Working at the interface of mental and physical health.

You can find out more about the work of the Network via our blog, and our social media. If you’d like to get involved with this work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

You can download the PDF version of our Newsletter below.

June Newsletter
Download PDF • 1.24MB

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