Professor John McGrath

Conjoint Professor

Queensland Brain Institute

ATH - Professor

Medical School (Greater Brisbane Clinical School)
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 334 66372
+61 7 3271 8694



John McGrath is a psychiatrist interested in discovering the causes of serious mental disorders. He is the Director of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and conjoint Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute His research aims to generate and evaluate nongenetic risk factors for schizophrenia. He has forged productive cross-disciplinary collaborations linking risk factor epidemiology with developmental neurobiology. For example, John and his colleagues have made discoveries linking prenatal vitamin D and later risk of mental illness in the offspring. In addition, John has supervised major systematic reviews of the epidemiology of schizophrenia. He was awarded a John Cade Fellowship by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. In 2016 he was also awarded a Neils Bohr Professorship by the Danish National Research Foundation.

Research Interests

  • The association between vitamin D status and brain outcomes
    In collaboration with Darryl Eyles, we are measuring early life vitamin D status and exploring if this changes the risk of later developing serious mental illness. These studies are in collaboration with colleagues in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
  • The demographic and clinical correlates of psychotic-like experiences
    Using two large surveys conducted in Australia in 1997 and 2007, our group have undertaken a suite of studies designed to understand the clinical relevance of isolated psychotic-like experiences. Over recent years we have published many papers on this topic, and have made important contributions with respect to how psychotic-like experiences are associated with (a) an increased risk of later psychotic disorders (based on the MUSP study), (b) depression, anxiety and substance use disorders, (c) a family history of mental illness, (d) exposure to trauma, (e) an increased risk of suicidal ideation and behaviour, (f) general physical health, and (g) help-seeking.
  • The Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP)
    Our group was one of seven sites involved in the design and administration of the second Australian Survey of psychotic disorders. In collaboration with a large national team, we continue to explore key issues related to the needs of people with psychosis in Australia.

Research Impacts

The Epidemiology team are interested in the frequency measures related to serious mental disorders (e.g. incidence, prevalence, mortality, recovery/remission). We are also interested in the clinical and demographic correlates of adverse mental health outcomes – some of these may be modifiable risk factors and thus important from a public health perspective. We use large, community-based surveys, and birth cohorts. Our focus has been on psychotic disorders and psychotic-like experiences in the general population. In addition, we are examining the links between early life vitamin D status and risk of later mental illness, by directly measuring vitamin D (in collaboration with Darryl Eyles and many international collaborators).


  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and Medical Science, The University of Queensland


  • Meijsen, Joeri, Hu, Kejia, Krebs, Morten D., Athanasiadis, Georgios, Washbrook, Sarah, Zetterberg, Richard, Avelar e Silva, Raquel Nogueira, Shorter, John R., Gådin, Jesper R., Bergstedt, Jacob, Howard, David M., Ye, Weimin, Lu, Yi, Valdimarsdóttir, Unnur A., Ingason, Andrés, Helenius, Dorte, Plana-Ripoll, Oleguer, McGrath, John J., Micali, Nadia, Andreassen, Ole A., Werge, Thomas M., Fang, Fang and Buil, Alfonso (2024). Quantifying the relative importance of genetics and environment on the comorbidity between mental and cardiometabolic disorders using 17 million Scandinavians. Nature Communications, 15 (1) 5064. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-49507-3

  • Ciobanu, Liliana G., Baryshnikova, Nadezhda V., Jawahar, Magdalene Catharine, Toben, Catherine G., Sokolenko, Elysia, Arnet, Victoria Kiriaki, Addo, Isaac Yeboah, Adegboye, Oyelola A., Ahinkorah, Bright Opoku, Alam, Khurshid, Alif, Sheikh Mohammad, Ameyaw, Edward Kwabena, Anderlini, Deanna, Angell, Blake, Ansar, Adnan, Anyasodor, Anayochukwu Edward, Astell-Burt, Thomas, Atorkey, Prince, Ayala Quintanilla, Beatriz Paulina, Ayano, Getinet, Babu, Abraham Samuel, Bagheri, Nasser, Baune, Bernhard T., Bhandari, Dinesh, Bhaskar, Sonu, Boufous, Soufiane, Briggs, Andrew M., Bulamu, Norma B., Burns, Richard A. ... Clark, Scott Richard (2024). Pre-COVID life expectancy, mortality, and burden of diseases for adults 70 years and older in Australia: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease 2019 Study. The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, 47 101092, 101092. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2024.101092

  • GBD 2021 Forecasting Collaborators, Kanmiki, Edmund Wedam, Anderlini, Deanna, Chung, Eric, Maravilla, Joemer C., Lalloo, Ratilal, McGrath, John J., Moni, Mohammad Ali and Sartorius, Benn (2024). Burden of disease scenarios for 204 countries and territories, 2022-2050: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021. The Lancet, 403 (10440), 2204-2256. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00685-8

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  • Morgan, Vera A., Waterreus, Anna, Jablensky, Assen, Mackinnon, Andrew, McGrath, John J., Carr, Vaughan, Bush, Robert, Castle, David, Cohen, Martin, Harvey, Carol, Galletly, Cherrie, Stain, Helen J., Neil, Amanda, McGorry, Patrick, Hocking, Barbara, Shah, Sonal and Saw, Suzy (2011). People living with psychotic illness 2010. Report on the second Australian national survey. Canberra, Australia: Department of Health and Ageing.

Book Chapter

  • Mayne, Phoebe, Bradford, Dana, Groves, Natalie J., McGrath, John J. and Burne, Thomas H.J. (2024). Adult vitamin D deficiency and adverse brain outcomes. Feldman and Pike' s vitamin D: volume one: biochemistry, physiology and diagnostics. (pp. 975-996) edited by Martin Hewison, Roger Bouillon, Edward Giovannucci, David Goltzman, Mark Meyer and JoEllen Welsh. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-323-91386-7.00035-0

  • Eyles, Darryl, Cui, Xiaoying and McGrath, John J. (2024). Vitamin D, brain development and function. Feldman and Pike' s vitamin D: volume one: biochemistry, physiology and diagnostics. (pp. 537-562) edited by Martin Hewison, Roger Bouillon, Edward Giovannucci, David Goltzman, Mark Meyer and JoEllen Welsh. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-323-91386-7.00040-4

  • Miettunen, Jouko, Immonen, Johanna, McGrath, John J., Isohanni, Matti and Jääskeläinen, Erika (2019). The age of onset of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Age of Onset of Mental Disorders: Etiopathogenetic and Treatment Implications. (pp. 55-73) edited by Giovanni de Girolamo, Patrick D. McGorry and Norman Sartorius. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-72619-9_4

  • Groves, Natalie J., McGrath, John J. and Burne, Thomas (2018). Adult vitamin D deficiency and adverse brain outcomes. Vitamin D: volume 2: health, disease and therapeutics. (pp. 1147-1158) edited by David Feldman, J. Wesley Pike, Roger Bouillon, Edward Giovannucci, David Goltzman and Martin Hewison. London, United Kingdom: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809963-6.00115-2

  • McGrath, John J., Saha, Sukanta, Lim, Carmen C. W., Gureje, Oye and Florescu, Silvia (2018). Psychotic experiences. Mental disorders around the world: facts and figures from the WHO World Mental Health surveys. (pp. 286-296) edited by Kate M. Scott, Peter de Jonge, Dan J. Stein and Ronald C. Kessler. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316336168.019

  • Kessler, Ronald C., de Jonge, Peter, Huang, Yueqin, McGrath, John J., Karam, Elie G. and Scott, Kate (2018). The associations of posttraumatic stress disorder with secondary mental and physical health disorders. Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder: global perspectives from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. (pp. 110-127) edited by Evelyn J. Bromet, Elie G. Karam, Karestan C. Koenen and Dan J. Stein. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781107445130.007

  • Eyles, Darryl and McGrath, John (2018). Vitamin D brain development and function. Vitamin D: Volume One: Biochemistry, Physiology and Diagnostics. (pp. 563-581) edited by David Feldman. Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier . doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809965-0.00033-1

  • McGrath, John (2015). Environmental factors and gene-environment interactions. The genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders. (pp. 111-127) edited by Kevin J. Mitchell. Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118524947.ch6

  • Cui, Xiaoying, Eyles, Darryl W., Burne, Thomas H. J. and McGrath, John J. (2012). Developmental vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for schizophrenia. The origins of schizophrenia. (pp. 282-299) edited by Alan S. Brown and Paul H. Patterson. New York, United States: Columbia University Press.

  • McGrath, John J. and Murray, Robin M. (2011). Environmental risk factors for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia. (pp. 226-244) edited by Daniel R. Weinberger and Paul J. Harrison. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1002/9781444327298.ch11

  • Eyles, Darryl, Burne, Thomas H.J., Alexander, Suzy, Cui, Xiaoying and McGrath, John J. (2011). The developmental vitamin D (DVD) model of schizophrenia. Animal Models of Schizophrenia and Related Disorders. (pp. 113-125) edited by Patricio O’Donnell and Wolfgang Walz. New York , NY, U.S.A.: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-157-4_5

  • Eyles, Darryl, Burne, Thomas and McGrath, John (2011). Vitamin D: A neurosteroid affecting brain development and function; implications for neurological and psychiatric disorders. Vitamin D. (pp. 565-582) edited by David Feldman, J. Wesley Pike and John S. Adams. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-381978-9.10032-0

  • Morgan, V. A., McGrath, J., Hultman, C. M., Zubrick, S., Bower, C., Croft, M., Valuri, G. and Jablensky, A. V. (2009). The offspring of women with severe mental disorder. Early Life Origins of Human Health and Disease. (pp. 193-204) edited by John P. Newnham and Michael G. Ross. Basel, Switzerland: S. Karger. doi: 10.1159/000221165

  • Feron, F., McCurdy, R., McGrath, J. J. and Mackay-Sim, A. (2006). Olfactory neurogenesis: a window on brain development. Olfaction And The Brain. (pp. 83-102) edited by W. J. Brewer, D. Castle and C. Pantelis. UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511543623.007

  • Burne, T. H. J., McGrath, J. J., MacKay-Sim, A. and Eyles, D. W. (2006). Prenatal Vitamin D Deficiency and Brain Development. Vitamin D: New Research. (pp. 153-172) edited by Veronica D. Stolzt. USA: Nova Science Publishers Inc.

  • Mackay-Sim, Alan, Feron, Francois, Eyles, Darryl, Burne, Thomas and McGrath, John (2004). Schizophrenia, vitamin D, and brain development. Disorders of Synaptic Plasticity And Schizophrenia. (pp. 351-380) edited by John Smythies. USA: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7742(04)59014-1

  • McClean, Duncan, Scott, James and McGrath, John (2003). Families where a parent has schizophrenia: Opportunities for prevention. Preventive strategies for schizophrenic disorders: Basic principles, opportunities and limits. (pp. 210-224) Rome, Italy: Giovanni Fiorti Editore.

  • McGrath, John (2003). Prevention of schizophrenia - not an impossible dream. The Epidemiology of Schizophrenia. (pp. 427-439) edited by Robin Murray, Peter B. Jones, Ezra Susser, Jim van Os and Mary Cannon. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

  • McGorry, P. and McGrath, J. J. (2001). Schizophrenia and related disorders. Foundations of Clinical Psychiatry. (pp. 310-331) edited by S. Bloch and B. Singh. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

  • McGrath, J. J., Castle, D. and Kulkarni, J. (2000). Introduction and overview. Women and Schizophrenia. (pp. 1-5) edited by David J. Castle, John McGrath and Jayashri Kulkarni. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Hearle, J. and McGrath, J. J. (2000). Motherhood and schizophrenia. Women and schizophrenia. (pp. 79-94) edited by David J. Castle, John McGrath and Jayashri Kulkarni. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Barkla, J. and McGrath, J. J. (2000). Reproductive, preconceptual and antenatal needs of women with schizophenia. Women and schizophrenia. (pp. 67-68) edited by D. J. Castle, J. McGrath and J. Kulkarni. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision