Professor Felice Jacka is Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University. She is also founder and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR) and immediate past president of the Australian Alliance for the Prevention of Mental Disorders. She has been responsible for the development of a highly innovative field of research establishing diet and nutrition as of importance to common mental disorders. These include the first studies to document a role for diet in adolescent depression – the primary age of onset for common mental disorders – the first study to identify both maternal and early life nutrition as important predictors of children’s mental health, and the first trial to show that dietary improvement can address depression. The results of the studies she has conducted have been highly influential, and she is widely recognized as international leader in the nascent but transformative field of Nutritional Psychiatry research.
Professor Jacka’s current research focuses closely on the links between diet, gut health, and mental and brain health. This work is being carried out with the ultimate goal of developing new, evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for mental disorders. Professor Jacka has published >160 peer-reviewed scientific papers, the majority in high-impact journals in the mental health field including the American Journal of Psychiatry, World Psychiatry, BMC Medicine and Lancet Psychiatry. She is listed in the top ten most highly-cited researchers in mood disorders in Australia (Scopus).
Personally, Felice has a passion for food and medicine, as well as knowledge translation. She has written a book for the lay public called ‘Brain Changer’ through Pan Macmillan press in Australia and is working on a children’s book with her husband. Her hope is that her work will inspire individuals and families to prioritise a healthier way of eating to protect their mental and brain health over their lifespan, as well as influencing clinical practice for people affected by mental health problems. She is also passionate about prompting changes by policy-makers to improve the global food environment.