Dr Hoy’s research is devoted to developing new treatments for the cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a devastating illness which affects approximately 1% of the population and produces symptoms across essentially all of the domains that make us who we are, i.e. thinking, feeling and behaving. While schizophrenia is commonly defined by psychosis (i.e. a loss of contact with reality with symptoms like auditory hallucinations and paranoia), it also frequently entails severe cognitive impairments, which are considered even more functionally disabling than the psychotic symptoms of the disorder. Occurring in over 80% of patients, these cognitive impairments relate to attention/working memory, processing speed, verbal memory, and executive functioning.
In the absence of effective treatments for these cognitive symptoms, Dr Hoy’s research is devoted to closing a persistent gap in medical research and practice. Drawing on neuroscience methods, she is developing ways to directly target the abnormal brain activity which is thought to underlie cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, and to subsequently develop and assess novel non-invasive brain stimulation treatment approaches that will improve patients’ capacity to live independently and enhance their quality of life.
Kate is passionate about communicating science to the public and has published articles in consumer targeted magazines (i.e. Link Disability Magazine) and on www.theconversation.com.au, one of which was editors ‘top pic of the week’ with over 2,600 views and shared 100 times via social media. Kate has given numerous talks promoting research to students, she has participated in consumer driven conferences and helped organise and contributed to numerous mental health research awareness events. In 2012 Kate established a twitter account for her laboratory (@psychneurotech) in order to disseminate research findings, mental health information and up-to-date news regarding science policy to the general public.