Researcher biography

Prof Christel Middeldorp has a conjoint appointment with the Child Health Research Centre (CHRC), UQ, and Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS), Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Services (CHQ HHS). She is also affiliated with the Department of Biological Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The large burden of disease by mental disorders is partly due to the sometimes chronic course. Her aim is to improve prognosis by providing targeted treatment for children and families at high risk for persistent symptoms. To that end, her research focuses on 1) improving recognition of children that are at higher risk for a chronic course and, following up on these findings 2) developing targeted treatment to prevent this unfavourable course.

Christel is the PI of CAPICE: Childhood and Adolescence Psychopathology, unravelling the complex etiology by a large Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Europe, funded by an EU Marie Curie grant, coordinated by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This project aims to identify genetic variants underlying the development and persistence of common childhood psychopathology by using data from population based longitudinal child and adolescent cohorts from over the world. Many of these cohorts participate in the Early Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) Consortium.

This research is complemented by studies in clinical populations. She established a clinical cohort of families with children with neurodevelopmental disorders. They are followed longitudinally to identify factors, including biomarkers influencing outcome. It is also investigated whether providing integrated care to parents and children improves outcomes. She also analyses the data as collected in electronic health records in the Child and Youth Mental Health Services to gain knowledge on treatment outcomes in the services and characteristics of the child, family and their circumstances thata are associated with these outcomes.

In 2019, Christel was appointed by the federal government as Co-Chair of the Childhood Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy Working Party. The working group is developing a strategy which will provide a framework that embeds protective skills in early childhood, creates mentally healthy home environments, supports parents, and prevents or treats early childhood trauma.