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Meet neuroscientist
Dr Hayley North

Dr North founded Understand Your Brain because she is passionate about communicating neuroscience research for everyday application to improve lives.

Her contagious enthusiasm and ability to explain complex topics to non-scientists has engaged audiences around the world to implement positive and lasting change.

Hayley North


Dr Hayley North has dedicated her life to a scientific understanding of the brain and sharing that understanding with the wider community to improve wellbeing. A scientific approach to mental health has never been more relevant than in the current era of misinformation on the internet and as we face a mental health crisis in the wake of the pandemic and cost of living crisis. 

Dr North’s laboratory research and publications have uncovered how genes, molecules and cells in the brain impact mental health, which contributes to developing new treatments. Some of her ground-breaking discoveries demonstrate how inflammation impacts neurogenesis (the birth of new brain cells) and how this process can go astray in psychiatric disease.


Hayley takes a holistic approach to mental wellbeing and is passionate about synthesising the latest research from various scientific fields (e.g. neuroscience, psychology, medicine, exercise and nutrition science) and emerging research on ancient traditions (e.g. yoga and meditation). 

In addition to her scientific endeavours, Dr North draws upon a broad range of experience and knowledge from her Bachelor of Commerce, working in the advertising industry, travelling the world, and being a competitive sailor. 



PhD in Neuroscience

UNSW, School of Medicine/
Neuroscience Research Australia

Hayley's PhD and post-doctoral research discovered links between inflammation, neurogenesis, brain structure and brain function in psychiatric disorders. Her publications in top level scientific journals and presentations at domestic and international conferences are highly regarded in the scientific community and have received numerous awards and scholarships. 

Bachelor of Science- Neuroscience major
Bachelor of Commerce- Marketing major
Honours- Neurogenomics Research

UNSW, School of Medical Science
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Having graduated with distinction in both her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce from one of Australia's top universities, Hayley's broad knowledge transcends multiple disciplines and industries. 

Her honours research contributed to an understanding of the neuroscience of Parkinson's disease. 


North, H. F., Weissleder, C., Fullerton, J. M., Webster, M. J., & Weickert, C. S. (2022). "Increased immune cell and altered microglia and neurogenesis transcripts in an Australian schizophrenia subgroup with elevated inflammation." Schizophrenia Research

North*, H. F., C. Weissleder*, M. Bitar, J. M. Fullerton, R. Sager, G. Barry, M. Piper, G. M. Halliday, M. J. Webster and C. S. Weickert (2021).

"Reduced adult neurogenesis is associated with increased macrophages in the subependymal zone in schizophrenia." Molecular Psychiatry.

North*, H. F., C. Weissleder*, J. M. Fullerton, R. Sager, M. J. Webster and C. Shannon Weickert (2021). 

“A schizophrenia subgroup with elevated inflammation displays reduced microglia, increased peripheral immune cell and altered neurogenesis marker gene expression in the subependymal zone.” Translational Psychiatry.

North, H. F., J. Bruggemann, V. Cropley, V. Swaminathan, S. Sundram, R. Lenroot, A. M. Pereira, A. Zalesky, C. Bousman, C. Pantelis, T. W. Weickert and C. Shannon Weickert (2021).

"Increased peripheral inflammation in schizophrenia is associated with worse cognitive performance and related cortical thickness reductions." European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.

Weissleder, C., H. F. North and C. Shannon Weickert (2019).

"Important unanswered questions about adult neurogenesis in schizophrenia." Current Opinions in Psychiatry 32(3): 170-178.

Bitar, M., C. Weissleder, H.F North, L. Harris, O. Zalucki, G.M. Halliday, M.J. Webster, M. Piper, C. Shannon Weickert, and G. Barry. (2021)

“Identifying gene expression profiles associated with neurogenesis and inflammation in the human subependymal zone from development through aging.” Scientific Reports

Di Biase, M. A., A. Zalesky, S. Cetin-Karayumak, Y. Rathi, J. Lv, D. Boerrigter,

H.F North, P. Tooney, C. Pantelis, O. Pasternak, C. Shannon Weickert and V. L. Cropley (2021).

"Large-Scale Evidence for an Association Between Peripheral Inflammation and White Matter Free Water in Schizophrenia and Healthy Individuals." Schizophrenia Bulletin 47(2): 542-551.

*Authors contributed equally.




Neuroscience Research Australia- institute wide seminar 2022

Sydney, Australia

Neuroscience Research Australia Seminar Series 2021

Sydney, Australia

Schizophrenia International Research Society Congress 2020

Florence, Italy/Virtual

European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress 2019

Copenhagen, Denmark

UNSW Post-Graduate Seminar 2019

Sydney, Australia

Australasian Neuroscience Society Conference 2019

Adelaide, Australia

Australian Psychosis Conference 2018

Sydney, Australia

Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2017 

Washington D.C, United States of America

Biological Psychiatry Australia Conference 2017

Wollongong, Australia


UNSW Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses 2022


The Don and Warwick McDonald Award for Schizophrenia Research 2021


The Chris Hunter Scholarship for Schizophrenia Research 2020


The Chris Hunter Scholarship for Schizophrenia Research 2019

The Neil McConaghy Prize For Best Seminar 2019

Australasian Neuroscience Society Travel Award 2019

Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Conference Scholarship 2018


Don McDonald Award for Schizophrenia Research 2018

Neuroscience Research Australia Scholarship 2017

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