Behavioural Science Laboratory
Welcome to the Behavioural Science Laboratory
Message from the Director of Behavioural Science Laboratory
I'm Melissa, the Director of the Behavioural Science Laboratory. My current research involves studying factors and processes that contribute to the aetiology and maintenance of anxiety and substance use problems. Specifically, I am interested in studying social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder, and problems related to cannabis and alcohol use by translating animal models to human experimental paradigms. Avoidance underlies all of these problems. Understanding what emotions and feelings (e.g., cravings, anxiety, fear) contribute to avoidance and how to increase tolerance to these feelings (to minimise avoidance) is at the crux of my research. My interests have been shaped through my various educational experiences. To understand where I am at now, it might be helpful to understand my academic history.
First, I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). At UNL, academics that excelled at teaching and conducting research inspired me. I first became interested in understanding anxiety and the therapeutic process while completing my honours research project under the supervision of Dr Debra Hope.
I furthered these interests by completing a Master’s degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). At UWM, I worked with Dr Vincent Adesso and learned how to use the balanced placebo design to delineate between a drug’s pharmacological properties and a person’s drug expectancies. I also began to investigate the relationship that social anxiety has with alcohol use under the supervision of Dr Adesso. In my later years at UWM, I worked with Dr Douglas Woods. Most of my training under Dr Woods focused on using learning theory to understand and treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and Trichotillomania.
During my formal postgraduate education, I was fortunate to work with Drs Ron Cisler and Alan Zweben on Project COMBINE, a nation-wide study for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Additionally, I also worked as a therapist providing exposure therapy to patients enrolled at the OCD Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital under the supervision of Dr Bradley Riemann. During my final year of the PhD, I completed my full-time clinical internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. During this year-long internship, I was able to refine my skills in providing cognitive-behavioural therapy to persons experiencing obsessive-compulsive behaviour, post-traumatic stress, and substance use problems. After graduating, I moved to Connecticut to complete a clinical internship at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living under the supervision of Dr David Tolin. These final years of my training focused on understanding and treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and hoarding disorder.
I welcome you to look at the BSL’s webpages and our Facebook page. I hope they spark your interest in our lab’s philosophy and program of research.
View my Publications: http://www.psy.mq.edu.au/staffDirectory/norberg_melissa.htm