​​​​​​​​​​​Department of Psychiatry

​​Research - Research Units 

SA MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders

The SA MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders is a cross-university unit at the Department of Psychiatry at SU and the department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT). This unit builds on the legacy of the MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders that was initiated at SU in 1997. The MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders came into effect on 1 April 2017, headed by Profs Dan Stein (UCT) and Christine Lochner (SU).

Unit Overview

Disorders of the psyche are fast becoming one of the greatest contributors to the burden of health disorders in both the developing and developed worlds. The current unit goes beyond anxiety and stress, to embrace a number of additional conditions, that are linked to, amongst others, compulsivity and impulsivity. The research covers a wide spectrum, from basic science (laboratory-based work) and clinical trials, using animal models, to genetics and brain imaging studies, as well as a variety of appropriate aspects of community psychology and culture. The practical implementation of these findings in the interest of the community, for example through the Unit's Mental Health Information Centre (www.mentalhealthsa.org.za), which includes a 24-hour telephone call service, is given high priority. 

To view comprehensive details about this unit, including research outputs and current projects, click here.

To read about the Global OCD international multi-site study, click here

Project staff 

Prof Dan Stein, PhD, DPhil ​

Email: dan.stein@uct.ac.za  ​

Prof Stein is the director of the unit. His research focuses on the psychobiology and management of anxiety disorders, ranging from basic neuroscience to epidemiological and cross-cultural research.​​

Prof Christine Lochner, MA (Clinical Psychology), PhD

Tel: +27 21 938 9179

Email: cl2@sun.ac.za

Prof Lochner is the co-director of the genetics program in the unit, a clinical psychologist, researcher, and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Her interests include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, behavioural aspects of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and linking these with underlying genetic factors.​

Dr. Nastassja Koen
Email: nastassja.koen@uct.ac.za

Dr.​ Koen is based at UCT. With the shift from the Brain-Behaviour Initiative (BBI) (where she was Project Manager) into a Neuroscience Institute at UCT, a Brain-Behaviour Research Unit is now firmly established where Dr. Koen co-leads the neurogenetics group. Her research interests include psychopharmacology and biological psychiatry. 

Prof Brian Harvey 

Tel: +27 18 299 2238 

Email: fklbhh@pucknet.ac.za

Prof Harvey is the co-director of the Animal Models Project in the Unit. His research interests include neuropharmacology of stereotypic behaviour and animal models of PTSD.

Dr. Annerine Roos, PhD

Email: annerine.roos@uct.ac.za

Dr. Roos is a researcher in neuroscience who specialises in brain imaging studies. Her main focus is brain structure (eg white matter) and function. Research interests include development, prenatal substance exposure and aging.​​

Renier Swart

Research Assistant

Tel: + 27 21 938 9536

Email: reniers@sun.ac.za/renier.swart@uct.ac.za​

Clara Marincowitz

Research Assistant

Tel: + 27 21 938 9654

Email: claram@sun.ac.za