Professor John McGrath

Conjoint Professor

Queensland Brain Institute

Academic Title-Professor

School of Clinical Medicine
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).


  • Fellow Royal Australian & NZ College of Psychiatri
  • Doctor of Medicine, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, The University of Queensland


  • Glantz, Meyer D., Bharat, Chrianna, Degenhardt, Louisa, Sampson, Nancy A., Scott, Kate M., Lim, Carmen C.W., Al-Hamzawi, Ali, Alonso, Jordi, Andrade, Laura Helena, Cardoso, Graca, De Girolamo, Giovanni, Gureje, Oye, He, Yanling, Hinkov, Hristo, Karam, Elie G., Karam, Georges, Kovess-Masfety, Viviane, Lasebikan, Victor, Lee, Sing, Levinson, Daphna, McGrath, John, Medina-Mora, Maria-Elena, Mihaescu-Pintia, Constanta, Mneimneh, Zeina, Moskalewicz, Jacek, Navarro-Mateu, Fernando, Posada-Villa, José, Rapsey, Charlene, Stagnaro, Juan Carlos, Tachimori, Hisateru and Have, Margreet Ten (2020). Corrigendum to: The epidemiology of alcohol use disorders cross-nationally: findings from the World Mental Health Surveys [Addict. Behav. 102 (2020) 106128] (Addictive Behaviors (2020) 102, (S0306460319304897), (10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106128)). Addictive Behaviors, 106 106381, 106381. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106381

  • Weye, Nanna, Momen, Natalie C., Christensen, Maria K., Iburg, Kim M., Dalsgaard, Søren, Laursen, Thomas M., Mortensen, Preben B., Santomauro, Damian F., Scott, James G., Whiteford, Harvey A., McGrath, John J. and Plana-Ripoll, Oleguer (2020). Association of specific mental disorders with premature mortality in the Danish population using alternative measurement methods. JAMA Network Open, 3 (6), e206646. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.6646

  • Byrne, Enda M., Kirk, Katherine M., Medland, Sarah E., McGrath, John J., Colodro-Conde, Lucia, Parker, Richard, Cross, Simone, Sullivan, Lenore, Statham, Dixie J., Levinson, Douglas F., Licinio, Julio, Wray, Naomi R, Hickie, Ian B. and Martin, Nicholas G. (2020). Cohort profile: the Australian genetics of depression study. BMJ Open, 10 (5) e032580, e032580. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032580

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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

  • 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 and Dan J. Stein. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316336168.019

  • Eyles, Darryl and McGrath, John (2017). Vitamin D brain development and function. Vitamin D: Fourth Edition. (pp. 563-581) Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier Inc.. 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.

  • 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