University of Western Australia: Prairie Health and UWA collaborate to accelerate precision psychiatry

Prairie Health and The University of Western Australia are collaborating on a study to expand research in clinical pharmacogenomics to provide precision medicine in psychiatry.

Led by Professor Sean Hood, Head of UWA’s School of Psychiatry, the study will assess the impact of genetics on the psychopharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders.

Prairie Health is a mental health technology company based in California helping people with anxiety and mood disorders get personalised mental health care.


The company is pioneering the routine use of genetic profiles of metabolic pathways to guide clinical choice of antidepressants before the start of treatment.

Prairie Health and UWA aim to use genetic markers and other phenotypic data to build predictive models for an individual’s response to medication.

Prairie Health found two thirds of adults seeking treatment were previously treated with medications which would not have been chosen had the metabolic profile been known.

“Choosing medications matched to a patient’s profile can improve their experience by reducing side effects and producing a faster time to treatment response,” Professor Hood said.

Professor Hood is also involved with the Young Lives Matter Foundation (soon to be WA Centre for Mental Health Research) which shares Prairie’s vision to harness data science to improve targeted care in mental health, especially among young Australians at risk for depression and suicide.

Prairie Health has a current US-wide network research program but will benefit from access to distinct populations as well as the expertise of UWA scholars.

The partnership will provide access to UWA populations to support Prairie Health’s development of advanced predictive models with the goal of developing new clinical protocols or approaches that support precision psychiatry.

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