Professor Gerard Byrne

Mayne Professor of Psychiatry

Medical School (Office & AME)
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 336 55152


Gerard Byrne is the Mayne Professor and Head of the Academy of Psychiatry within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Queensland and Director of the Older Persons' Mental Health Service at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. His primary research interests include Alzheimer's disease (particularly the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with AD), and personality, anxiety and depression in older people. Recent published work has included papers on generalised anxiety disorder in older people, dementia and delirium in the general hospital setting, and the role of lifestyle factors in predicting cognitive trajectory in middle age and later life.


Gerard completed his medical degree and an intercalated science degree in Sydney at the University of New South Wales and the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry Hospitals. Following an internship at the Royal Newcastle Hospital, he undertook two further years of general medical training at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. He subsequently completed his five years of psychiatry training at The Prince Charles and Wolston Park Hospitals. His PhD in psychiatric epidemiology was undertaken at the University of Queensland under the supervision of Beverley Raphael AM. He has been Head of the UQ Discipline (now Academy) of Psychiatry since 2001 and Director of Geriatric Psychiatry (now the Older Persons' Mental Health Service) at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital since 1995.

He a member of the Repatriation Medical Authority and chairs the Research Advisory Committee of the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital. He is a member of the advisory board of the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute. He is a former member of the board of directors of the International Psychogeriatric Association.

He is a past chairman of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age (FPOA) of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and a former member of the RANZCP General Council. He is a former chair of the RANZCP Sub-committee for Advanced Training in Psychiatry of Old Age and member of the RANZCP Committee for Training. He is a member of the RANZCP Foundation Committee and a member of the Queensland Brain Bank Scientific Advisory Committee.

Gerard also serves as a member of NHMRC GRPs and reviews research grant applications for NHMRC, ARC, Hong Kong MRC, New Zealand RC, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research & Development (ZonMw), U.S. Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Australia Research Fund, and Pfizer Neuroscience Research Grants, amongst others.

He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Clinical Gerontologist.

He reviews manuscripts for Molecular Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Brain and Cognition, Journal of Affective Disorders, Journal of the American Geriatrics Association (JAGS), Journal of Psychiatric Research, Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, Age and Ageing, Aging and Mental Health, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Australasian Journal on Ageing, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, BMC Psychiatry, Depression and Anxiety, International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and International Psychogeriatrics, amongst others.

In 2012 he won the Senior Research Award of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

In 2013 he delivered the Bostock Oration of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

In 2016 he was awarded a Meritorious Service Award by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Research Interests

  • Synaptic Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease
    This project has been funded by the Alzheimer's Association (U.S.) and is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Rudi Tannenberg and A/Prof Peter Dodd in Dr Dodd's laboratory in the School of Microbial and Molecular Sciences.
  • Anxiety & Depression During Cognitive Ageing
    This 3-year NHMRC-funded study will look at the emergence of syndromal and sub-syndromal anxiety and depression in a cohort of 511 women from the LAW Study being conducted at the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital. For further information on this study contact Liz Arnold on 07 3365 5147.
  • Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Alzheimer's Disease
    Data collection has commenced on a prospective study of predictors of incident neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with late-onset Alzheimer disease. This research project will run for about five or six years - two to three years to recruit the participants and 30 months to complete the longitudinal data collection on each participant. This work is being funded by a generous bequest via the RBWH Research Foundation. For further information on this project, please contact Liz Arnold on (07) 3365 5147.
  • International collaborations using interRAI
    We are engaged in clinical validation of the interRAI instrument for cross-national data collection in older person's mental health services. For further information please contact Gerard Byrne on 07 3365 5148.
  • Clinical Drug Trials for Alzheimer's disease
    We are currently involved in several clinical pharmaceutical trials of new drugs or new formulations of existing drugs for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. For further information on these projects, please contact Liz Arnold on 3365 5147.
  • Measurement of Anxiety in Older People
    This program of collaborative research with Dr Nancy Pachana (School of Psychology) has been underway for about 12 months. The aim of this program is to develop a novel measure of generalised anxiety for use in older people. No such measure currently exists. We plan to use factor analysis and discriminant function analysis to shrink the current draft 60 item scale to 20 or 30 items for everyday use. We will then publish the scale in the public domain. Subsequently, we will use the scale to investigate genetic and other predictors of generalised anxiety in older people. Ultimately, we hope to be able to use the scale as an outcome measure for treatment trials in older people. We anticipate that this research program will continue for 5-10 years.
  • Development of Cogni-Screen: A Diagnostic System for Dementia
    In a collaborative project with Prof Mike Humphreys (Key Centre for Human Factors & Applied Cognitive Psychology), Dr Nancy Pachana (School of Psychology) & Prof Chris Del Mar (Griffith University) we are developing a computerised diagnostic system for dementia. This system involves a web-based real-time system using speech recognition software. The project has been funded by grants from the NHMRC and the Telstra Broadband Development Fund.
  • Depression in Stroke Patients
    Data collection for this three-year project on the value of clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of major depression in stroke patients is almost completed. This Queensland Health funded project involved the development and implementation of clinical guidelines within the RBWH Stroke Service. To measure the clinical utility of these guidelines, two cohorts of 100 stroke patients have been enrolled: one prior to the development of the guidelines and one following their introduction.
  • Personality and Depression following Stroke

Research Impacts

Prof Gerard Byrne and Prof Nancy Pachana have been engaged in a longterm program of research into anxiety in later life. With the assistance of students and colleagues, they have developed a suite of instruments to measure anxiety in older people. These instruments include the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI), the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory - Short Form (GAI-SF), the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory - Research (GAI-R), and the Informant Questionnaire for Anxiety in Dementia (IQAD). The GAI has now been translated into more than 20 languages and is in widespread use throughout the world. It is used in both clinical and research settings. It has also been used by the pharmaceutical industry in international multisite clinical trials. The availability of the GAI and associated measures has increased focus on the anxiety disorders in older people, which had previously been relatively neglected by clinicians and researchers alike.


  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists


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Book Chapter

  • Byrne, Gerard (2020). Anxiety disorders in older people. Oxford Textbook of Old Age Psychiatry. (pp. 655-670) edited by Tom Dening, Alan Thomas, Robert Stewart and John-Paul Taylor. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/med/9780198807292.003.0042

  • Byrne, Gerard J. (2017). Anxiety in late life. Mental health and illness of the elderly. (pp. 1-23) Singapore: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-10-0370-7_13-1

  • Neville, Christine and Byrne, Gerard (2014). Depression and suicide in older people. Older People: Issues and innovations in Care. (pp. 267-284) edited by Rhonda Nay, Sally Garratt and Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh. Chatswood, NSW, Australia: Churchill Livingstone.

  • Miloyan, Beyon, Byrne, Gerard J. and Pachana, Nancy A. (2014). Late-life anxiety. The Oxford handbook of clinical geropsychology. (pp. 470-489) edited by Nancy A. Pachana and Ken Laidlaw. Oxford, United Kingom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199663170.013.049

  • Byrne, Gerard (2013). Anxiety disorders in older people. Oxford Textbook of Old Age Psychiatry. (pp. 589-602) edited by Tom Denning and Alan Thomas. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/med/9780199644957.003.0045

  • Wahlin, Tarja-Brita Robins and Byrne, Gerard J. (2012). Cognition in Huntington's Disease. Huntington's Disease: Core concepts and current advances. (pp. 175-200) edited by Nageham Ersoy Tunali. Croatia: InTech Open Access Publisher. doi: 10.5772/30930

  • Byrne, Gerard J. (2010). Bereavement issues in later life. Casebook of clinical geropsychology: International perspectives on practice. (pp. 211-225) edited by Nancy Pahana, Ken Laidlaw and Bob Knight. Newy York, U.S.A.: Oxford University Press.

  • Neville, Christine C. and Byrne, Gerard J. A. (2009). Depression and suicide in older people. Older people: issues and innovations in care. (pp. 229-243) edited by Rhonda Nay and Sally Garratt. Chatswood, NSW, Australia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

  • Byrne, G. J. A. (2004). Depression in older people. Mood Disorders: Recognition & Treatment. (pp. 410-420) edited by P. R. Joyce and P. B. Mitchell. Sydney, Australia: University of New South Wales.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Professor Gerard Byrne is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision