2015 Research Excellence award winners

5 November 2015

Five Faculty of Human Sciences staff were recognised for their outstanding performance and research excellence at the Macquarie University Research Excellence Awards 2015 on 4 November.

Professor Amanda Barnier – The Jim Piper Award for Excellence in Research Leadership

Amanda Barnier Professor Amanda Barnier is an ARC Future Fellow from the Department of Cognitive Science. She has earned an international reputation for innovative, interdisciplinary research in cognitive science and psychology that addresses important real-world problems. Professor Barnier has put hypnosis to work investigating puzzling psychological phenomena and pioneered the use of hypnosis to develop compelling laboratory versions of a large catalogue of clinical delusions. This research has allowed the testing of ideas about the birth and maintenance of delusional beliefs and how to challenge them.

Associate Professor Kay Bussey – Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision

Associate Professor Kay BusseyAssociate Professor Kay Bussey is an Associate Professor from the Department of Psychology. She is on the editorial board of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology and serves as an editorial consultant for numerous psychology journals and scientific organizations. Her research has been funded by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council. She provides enabling research mentoring in a way that flows through the entire research ecosystem. From recently appointed postdoctoral researchers, to higher degree research candidates, final year undergraduate students, to staff members who are supervising a PhD student to completion for the first time, she has created concentrations of research excellence through her research mentoring activities.

Professor Jennifer Hudson Excellence in Research – Healthy People Research Priority

Professor Jennie HudsonProfessor Jennie Hudson is an Australian Research Council, Future Fellow and Director of the Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology.  The “Genes for Treatment” study, an international multi-site collaboration involving 15 institutions, is a world first in the field of child mental health having led to the largest sample of children with anxiety disorders (n=1,519). The Centre is the primary treatment site for the study with the majority of data being collected through the Centre’s clinic. Led by Macquarie’s Professor Jennie Hudson, the research has been able to identify individual characteristics that predict poorer outcomes following psychological therapy. The study suggests that children with social fears, additional non-anxiety’ disorders (such as depression) and children of parents with mental health problems have poorer outcomes following treatment.

Dr Miriam Forbes – Excellence in Research Award

Dr Miriam ForbesDr Miriam Forbes completed her PhD at Macquarie University and joined the Centre for Emotional Health in 2014. Dr Forbes’s research aimed to understand how and why depression, anxiety and sexual dysfunction were related to each other. Rather than causing one another, they were found to have shared vulnerabilities, and to be in the same ‘family’ of disorders. This finding is important in order to diagnose and treat them effectively. Dr Forbes’ research also led her to argue that the two most widely used measures of sexual dysfunction have limitations such that researchers and clinicians should avoid their use altogether. This argument has had significant impact and clarified the path to deeper understanding and more accurate measurement of sexual dysfunctions.

Dr Alexandra Woolgar – Macquarie University Early Career Researcher of the Year

Dr Alexandra WoolgarDr Alexandra Woolgar, from the Department of Cognitive Science, focuses her research on understanding human behaviour from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Her work was the first to demonstrate that many human brain regions are adaptive. Once thought of as a fixed input/output system, the brain turns out to be far more dynamic, interactive and flexible than previously imagined. Dr Woolgar has been instrumental in developing new methods for neuroimaging that allow probing of brain activation in new ways. These methods go much further than simply asking which regions of the brain are active but also what information is represented by those active regions. This research has changed the way that human brain function is understood and leads into deeper questions regarding what information is coded into difference brain regions.

Macquarie is one of the country’s leading research universities, bringing the best minds together and enabling them to conduct cutting-edge research across disciplines.  Its international reputation is built upon the excellence of the research undertaken by its highly committed and talented researchers across a broad spectrum of research activity.


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