Daniel Hermens

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Daniel Hermens


Research areas

  • youth mental health
  • suicide prevention


Professor Daniel Hermens is a cognitive psychophysiologist who studies brain development, as well as psychiatric and substance use disorders in young people. He has training and expertise in youth mental health, cognitive psychophysiology, neuropsychology, neuroimaging, substance misuse and clinical trials. Daniel has extensive expertise in conducting large neurobiologically informed longitudinal cohort studies, with multimodal (neuropsychological, neuroimaging) datasets of various patient groups, such as depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder and substance misuse.

His prior work in ADHD and schizophrenia resulted in significant contributions to these fields. His PhD research involved neurophysiological measures of central and autonomic nervous system activity in ADHD, the results of which have had profound implications for diagnosis and treatment. He was the first to describe sex-based differences in patterns of nervous system activity in ADHD, and consequently, helped to predict which patients would respond best to stimulant vs non-stimulant medication. The resultant two publications were each in the ‘Top 25 Hottest Articles’ list in the respective journals. His other major contribution to neurobiology includes reconceptualisation of the role of a biomarker for schizophrenia. Daniel’s more recent work has been to examine the neurobiological underpinning of alcohol-induced impairments in young people.

To date, Daniel has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in top ranked medical, psychological, psychiatric, neuroimaging journals (eg BMC Medicine, Cortex, British Journal of Psychiatry, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Biological Psychiatry, Human Brain Mapping), with 2800+ citations and h-index of 31 (Scopus). Over his career, Daniel has been a named investigator of grant funding totalling more than $6M. He has been invited to speak at national scientific meetings, community and professional forums including high schools, children’s hospitals, university colleges and medical programs. Daniel has made numerous oral presentations of this work at several international meetings (eg International Society of Affective Disorders, Society for Adolescent Medicine Annual Meeting, World Congress of Psychophysiology). As a teacher, Daniel has made strong, sustained commitments to curriculum development and lectures of postgraduate masters programs and he is also an extremely dedicated supervisor of higher-degree research students, having supervised over 20 PhD, MPhil and honours students.


  • 2013 - Early career researcher overseas travel grant, Sydney Medical School, U Sydney.
  • 2010 - Early career investigator award, Australasian Schizophrenia Conference.
  • 2006 - Postgraduate research publication prize, School of Psychology, U Sydney: Most publications in 2005.
  • 2003 - Lucy Firth postgraduate scholarship, School of Psychology, University of Sydney.
  • 2002 - Best poster presentation (postgraduate student), Australasian Society for Psychophysiology Conference and Functional Brain Mapping Symposium.
  • 2001 - Research & Training Fellowship (Full-time), NSW Institute of Psychiatry, Research project: “Sex differences in ADHD”.

Potential research projects for HDR students

  • Brain imaging developmental trajectories of adolescents
  • Biomarkers of binge drinking in youth
  • Functional imaging of alcohol-induced aggression
  • Neurobiological factors that contribute to suicidality in youth
  • Neurophysiological (EEG) and neurochemical markers of ketamine response
  • Neuroscience of decision making in young people 
  • Novel imaging of neurotransmitter dynamics 

Research grants

Project name Investigator/s Funding body Year
A randomised controlled trial of low-dose ketamine in youth with severe depression and elevated suicide risk Davey, Loo, Cotton, Glozier, Baune, Harrison, Hermens, Somogyi, Martin NHMRC Project Grant A$2,232,757  2018-21
A randomized controlled trial of oxytocin nasal spray for alcohol dependence Guastella, Haber, Hermens, Morley, Lagopoulos, Song NHMRC Project Grant A$673,035 2017-19
Clinical and neurobiological predictors of onset of major mental disorders (mania, psychosis, severe depression), and associated functional impairment, in adolescent and young adult twins: A prospective longitudinal study Hickie, Martin, Scott, Gillespie, Hermens NHMRC Project Grant A$1,291,586 2014-18
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