Professor Dan Siskind - Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship recipient
From Brisbane to Boston and back again, bringing home an unwavering love of baseball and a Harvard degree, Professor Dan Siskind is continuing to hit home runs.
In collaboration with Metro South Hospital and Health Service, The University of Queensland’s Professor Siskind has received a $400,000 Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship grant to help Queenslanders with schizophrenia live longer and healthier lives.
People with severe mental illness die almost 20 years earlier than the general population, mostly due to avoidable illnesses like diabetes and heart disease that can be related to antipsychotic medications and lifestyle factors. Professor Siskind is committed to developing new approaches to reduce this mortality gap.
The grant will be used to conduct a world first clinical trial investigating the efficacy of semaglutide, an existing diabetes drug, to help improve the cardiometabolic outcomes in people with schizophrenia, who are also obese. The four-year project will build on a previous pilot study showing that these medications can assist in reducing weight and improving metabolic profiles of people with schizophrenia.
Yogi Berra, of New York Yankees fame, said that baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. Poor maths aside, the same is true for health. Striking the right balance between a patient’s mental and physical health is an ever-growing issue that medical researchers are working hard to address.
Inspired by questions asked by his patients, Professor Siskind is committed to researching innovative solutions to meet both the physical and psychological health needs of schizophrenia patients and improve their overall quality of life.