Professor Harris’ research covers: (a) psychophysiology and neuroimaging of first-episode psychosis, schizophrenia and major depression (b) clinical treatment of these conditions, and (c) communicating treatment best practice. He was the senior author in the Farrow et al study, which first described structural MRI evidence of differences between first-episode bipolar disorder and first-episode schizophrenia and in follow-up studies that described longitudinal changes in regional grey matter and white matter volume and EEG power, in early schizophrenia. He has conducted studies exploring changes in underlying anatomical and functional networks in the brain in psychosis. He is working toward combining neuroimaging and electrophysiology to better delineate clinical groups in severe mental illness.
His clinical treatment research has focused predominantly on cognitive remediation therapy to address neurocognitive and social cognitive deficits in adolescents and adults with psychotic disorders. He has tested face-to-face and web-based treatment strategies, also combining these strategies with supported employment programs in the community. In collaboration with researchers at Macquarie University, he has developed a novel social cognitive remediation package. He has worked on a range of other clinical studies including developing predictors of response in major depression, the optimal use of ECT in patients with severe depression, the development of cognitive behavioural treatments of substance use in young people with a psychotic illness and the usefulness of community treatment orders.
Professor Harris is interested in psychiatric education. He has lead a group of experts in the development of a series of educational programs for healthcare professionals on anxiety and mood disorders. This work is now focussing on developing internet and text-based resources for schizophrenia.