Australian Genetics of Depression Study: Anti-depressant Cell-omics

People differ in the symptoms they experience as part of their depression and the way in which they respond to treatments. Our long-term goal is that treatments should be tailored to individuals rather than a “one size fits all” approach. This concept of personalised medicine is already applied in other health settings, for example cancer care. To advance this in depression requires more research to understand differences between people.

About the Study

What is the purpose of the research?

To advance our long-term goal that treatments should be tailored to individuals, we plan to conduct assays on cells to discover biological and genetic mechanisms that link to the differences between people in their responses to antidepressants.

From blood cells we can derive induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The iPSCs can be reprogrammed to form any cell type in the body including brain cells (see the video below). This exciting research is being conducted worldwide to study many diseases, but to date there are no comprehensive studies which link iPSCs measurements to in-person responses to antidepressants.

What does participation in this research involve?

We will ask you to complete an online questionnaire about your personal experiences of depression focussing on symptoms and response to treatments. The questionnaire will take about 30 minutes to complete. We will ask you to provide a blood sample by attending a local pathology clinic.

We would like to acknowledge and thank Professor Alex Hewitt, University of Tasmania, and colleagues for the use of this You tube video “What to expect if you participate in iPSC research”. He created this video for his research of eye diseases deriving iPSCs from skin cells. The goals of his research were different from ours, but the iPSC principles are the same.

How to participate?

Step 1 (10 mins) – Read the participant Information and Consent form; and decide whether you would like to participate.
Step 2 (30 – 40 mins) – Answer questions about your depression and treatment.
Confirm mailing address so we can send a sample collection kit.
Step 3 (10 mins) – Attend your local pathology collection centre to provide a blood sample.
Step 4 (1 min) – Email us that you have sent your blood sample to us. Once we receive your sample we will send you your gift card.


We are pleased to announce that recruitment has commenced and are enrolling participants. Overall, the completion rate of those who have consented has been high.

A big thank you to those who have supported our research. This support is invaluable and plays a significant role in helping us continue with these important studies as we aim to make meaningful contributions to this field.

If you have received an invitation to participate and still deciding to participate and/or have questions, please reach out to us at We would love to hear from you.

Contact Us
07 3346 2089
Ms Deborah Gilroy
Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland
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If you have any further questions, please contact us via email at

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What to expect if you participate in iPSC research

We like to acknowledge and thank Professor Alex Hewitt, University of Tasmania, and colleagues for the use of this You tube video “What to expect if you participate in iPSC research”.
Please note that in our study, participants are only requested to provide a blood sample for the generation of iPSCs.

About HSU

The Human Studies Unit at the University of Queensland is supporting the Cello study. At HSU, we combine laboratory and computing expertise to generate genomic data, and provide data management solutions, to advance understanding of common complex diseases and benefit those affected by them.

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