|Professor Jennie Ponsford|
Professor Jennie Ponsford, BA (Hons), MA (Clin Neuropsych), PhD, MAPS, is Director of the Centre. She is also Professor of Neuropsychology in the School of Psychological Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. This appointment, made in 2005 is a joint appointment with Epworth Hospital. She devotes 2.5 days of her working week to the Centre’s activities and clinical work, with 1 day devoted to administrative work in the School and 1.5 days to teaching. She is the Director of Clinical Programs in the School of Psychological Sciences and the founding Director of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology programme. She is a Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Centre of Excellence in Traumatic Brain Injury Psychosocial Rehabilitation and has also been a Chief investigator on the Centre of Excellence in TBI Research administered by the National Trauma Research Institute at the Alfred Hospital and funded by TAC. She is a Visiting Professor at the Sunaas Rehabilitation Hospital in Oslo, Norway. As the former manager of the Psychology Department at Bethesda Rehabilitation Hospital (now Epworth Hospital), between 1982 and 1999, Professor Ponsford has had broad clinical experience in the field of traumatic brain injury and has conducted extensive research investigating outcomes and the impact of rehabilitation following mild, moderate and severe TBI. She has been the recipient of numerous large grants as chief investigator, has published over 200 journal articles, book chapters and two books on the subject, and is regularly invited to speak at international conferences, having made over 150 conference presentations. In 2013, she was awarded the Robert L. Moody Prize, an international prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury and Rehabilitation, by the Robert Moody Foundation and University of Texas Medical Branch in the USA. In 2013, she was the first Australian President of the International Neuropsychological Society. In 2014, she was the Monash Postrgraduate Association’s Supervisor of the Year, nominated by 14 of her current doctoral students. In 2015, she was awarded the International Neuropsychological Society’s Paul Satz Career Mentoring Award, presented in recognition of mentoring and teaching activities with a profound impact on careers of students in the field of Neuropsychology. She has supervised 25 doctoral students to completion since 2005. She serves on the Editorial Boards of seven international journals and has served on NHMRC project grant review panels in four of the last six years. Professor Ponsford is currently a member of the Executive of the International Brain Injury Association, is a committee member and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment, of which she has also been President, is a member of the Governing Board of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation, and is the Past-President of the International Neuropsychological Society. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Victorian State Trauma Registry (VSTORM). Professor Ponsford oversees all the activities of the Centre, including grant applications, project management, staff supervision and preparation of reports and publications.
|Meagan Carty, BSc (Hons), is employed 0.6 FTE to manage the Longitudinal Head injury Outcome Project and oversee recruitment for other studies. Her position is funded by ISCRR. She manages and co-ordinates staff working on this and other projects.|
|Dr. Marina Downing, BBSc(Hons), PhD, is employed 0.6EFT as a Research Fellow, funded by ISCRR. Joining the team in 2012, she plays a key administrative role overseeing financial and grant reporting and managing IT and data entry issues. She has worked on several studies run by the centre. Her contributions include data analyses, write-up and submission of publications, specifically, a series of papers looking at sexuality post-TBI, and outputs from the NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial (RCT) of Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety and depression following TBI. She is currently producing a further set of papers on the influence of cultural background on rehabilitation following TBI.|
|Dr. Gershon Spitz, BA (Hons), PhD, is employed 1.0EFT as a Research Fellow, funded through the Brain Foundation and ISCRR. He has published 21 peer-reviewed publications in leading rehabilitation and neurotrauma journals, with 89% of articles being published in the top 25%
of journals in their fields. Dr. Spitz has displayed accelerated research output as an early-career researcher, publishing one article in 2012, five in 2013, six in 2014, and nine in 2015. He is a lead researcher in the Longitudinal Head Injury Outcomes study coordinating data analysis and the production
of research outputs in collaboration with the TAC/ISCRR steering committee. He also coordinates a theme of research that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine changes in cognition and behaviour following traumatic brain injury. Dr. Spitz was awarded a research grant from the Brain Foundation
in 2014 as CI-A to identify the brain regions and networks implicated in impaired memory in patients with TBI. He has recently been awarded an Early-Career Researcher NHMRC Fellowship, to begin in 2016, to examine novel approaches to remediate impaired cognition following acquired brain injury. Dr. Spitz
will undertake his NHMRC Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), University of Oxford, where he will further develop into an internationally-recognised neurorehabilitation researcher. He co-supervises various honours and doctoral projects, and provides mentoring to students
in regards to statistical analysis and research design. Dr. Spitz has delivered platform presentations at important international conferences in his field, such as the World Congress for NeuroRehabilitation, which had 1600 delegates. The International Neuropsychological Society (INS) has awarded Dr.
Spitz with the Phillip M. Rennick award for best postgraduate research paper and the Nelson Butters award for best postdoctoral research presentations at recent INS conferences.|
|Amelia Hicks, BA (Hons), MPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology), is employed full time as a Research Assistant, funded by ISCRR, working with Dr. Kate Gould to co-ordinate the ISCRR-funded project on understanding behaviours of concern following traumatic brain injury and currently conducting a systematic review of interventions for behaviours of concern. She also co-ordinates a US collaborative study with researchers from Houston investigating outcome patterns following TBI, funded by the US Department of Education.|
Dr. Kate Gould, BBNSc (Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology), is employed 0.5 EFT as a Research Fellow, funded by ISCRR. Dr. Gould completed her DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) at MERRC in 2010, with her doctoral research in post-TBI psychiatric disorders producing six peer-reviewed publications, which have been cited more than 140 times. Kate has continued to work in the centre, and was the joint inaugural recipient of the CETBIR Fellowship in 2012-2013. Through this CETBIR Fellowship, Dr. Gould piloted a group therapy for anger management for individuals with severe TBI, as part of a planned multi-centre clinical trial. This underpinned an application for NMHRC funding for a full RCT.Kate also has continuing involvement with the longitudinal study of psychiatric disorders after TBI, co-supervising Yvette Alway and Celia Pais on this study. Since late 2013, she has worked on an ISCRR funded study to understand challenging behaviours after TBI. This study is now in its second phase, and currently, Dr. Gould, together with Amelia Hicks, are delivering and evaluating a 3-year intervention for behaviours of concern post-TBI, again funded by ISCRR. Dr. Gould also works part-time in clinical practice as a Clinical Neuropsychologist, and delivers lectures to honours and doctoral students. Dr. Gould has presented at seven international conferences, showcasing the centre’s psychiatric and neurobehavioural research to world leading Brain Injury experts.
|Dr. Lisa Johnston, PhD, is employed 0.4 EFT as a Research Fellow, who assists with grant submissions and manages the prospective study of Psychiatric Disorders being conducted within the Longitudinal Head Injury Outcomes Study. The psychiatric study team is preparing to collect data for a 10-year follow-up. Dr Johnston’s position is therefore also funded by ISCRR.|
|Mary Ryan, R.N. a trained nurse Outcomes Study, funded by ISCRR, locating contact details and organising appointments for patients and collecting saliva samples and questionnaires., is employed 0.3 EFT as a Research Assistant working on the Longitudinal Head Injury|
|Dr. Catherine Willmott|
BSci (Hons), M Sc, PhD, is employed as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University and is the Co-Director of the Monash Psychology Centre. Findings from the largest ever successful trial of drug therapy to reduce attentional problems, conducted in collaboration with Professor Jennie Ponsford, are underpinning ground-breaking imaging studies to examine the brain pathways that mediate effective treatments, in collaboration with the Monash Biomedical Imaging Platform. She is also investigating genetic biomarkers for recovery and response to pharmacological treatments. This research has been funded by Monash University, the VNI and the ERI, and Dr. Willmott is supervising doctoral students on these projects. She is also a co-investigator on several developmental neuropsychology imaging studies in collaboration with the Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute, namely a study of executive dysfunction in low birth-weight children and its neuroanatomical correlates with A/Prof Peter Anderson, and a study of neuroimaging correlates of language processing in children with language impairment with A/Prof Angela Morgan and Professor Alan Connelly from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health. Following her earlier research interest in mild TBI, she has recently commenced work on a Monash Strategic Grant project evaluating the use of accelerometers to assess biomechanical underpinnings of sports concussion in children and adolescents in collaboration with the NTRI, led by Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld. This pilot data will be utilised to approach industry partners such as national sporting codes in 2016 to further develop effective monitoring and management of sports concussion.
Dr. Adam McKay
BSc (Hons), MPsych(Clinical Neuropsychology), PhD, holds both academic and clinical positions in clinical neuropsychology. He is a Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University where he is involved in teaching, research, supervision, and placement coordination for the DPsych in Clinical Neuropsychology. He is also a Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist at Epworth Healthcare where he works in the Brain Injury Program providing rehabilitation to clients with TBI and other neurological conditions. His joint roles across Monash and Epworth have been vital in the development of research collaborations across the two organizations while his clinical expertise ensures research projects are clinically meaningful and research findings can be translated back into practice using his clinical connections. Dr. McKay is also a member of the Course Advisory Committee for the College of Clinical Neuropsychologists (CCN) in the Australian Psychological Society (APS).
Dr. McKay’s research is focused on functional and psychosocial outcomes after brain injury and rehabilitation. Dr. McKay has published over 20 peer-reviewed papers, presents his work at national and international conferences, and has been a primary investigator for grants totaling over $500,000. His research efforts are supported by a number of Monash Doctor of Psychology (DPsych) and Psychology Honours students as well as grants from the NHMRC, ISCRR, William Buckland Foundation, Monash University, and ERI. Adam is a strong supporter of multi-disciplinary research and its benefits in understanding the impact and treatment of brain injury and has led collaborations with a range of disciplines including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and nurses. These projects have focused on a range of issues in TBI clients, including the relationship of physical function to psychological function, return to driving, and burden of care for nursing staff. Dr. McKay is currently focused on two programs of research within MERRC:
Dr. Rene Stolwyk, BSc (Hons), DPsych (Clin Neuro), Grad Cert (Health Prof Ed), is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University and Deputy Convenor of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology Program. Dr. Stolwyk is a research and clinical neuropsychologist, having previously worked at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square, London. Dr. Stolwyk has published 25 research articles in the field of brain injury rehabilitation (21 within the last 5 years), including first-author publications in Stroke (IF 6.0, 10/191 Clinical Neurology) and The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation (IF. 4.4, 1/62 Rehabilitation). He has successfully attracted over $1,000,000 of competitive international and national grant funding (Victorian Neurotrauma Initiative, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Beyond Blue). He has presented his research at numerous national and international conferences including International Neuropsychological Society Conferences. Dr. Stolwyk leads a translational research program developing effective neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation techniques for TBI and stroke survivors. In particular, he is leading the Centre’s work in stroke rehabilitation research with a dynamic and growing research team compromising 3 research officers, 2 research interns and 9 doctoral students.
With regard to service, Dr. Stolwyk is a member of the Research and Evaluation Working Group, Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program and has served as a reviewer for the following bodies: NHMRC Project Grant, UK National Stroke Foundation Non-Clinical Lectureship, International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design scientific panel. He also serves as a regular reviewer for the following international peer-reviewed journals: The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Brain Impairment, Movement Disorders.
Dr. Dana Wong, BSc(Hons), MPsych(Clin.Neuro.), PhD is employed as a lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences at Monash, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Monash Psychology Centre (MPC), and an emerging leader in brain injury rehabilitation. She founded the Neurorehabilitation Clinic at the Monash Psychology Clinic (MPC), the cornerstone of which is the Monash Memory Skills Group, which is the platform for several clinical and pedagogical research projects. She supervises clinical neuropsychology and clinical psychology students on placement in the Neurorehabilitation Clinic and Neuropsychology Clinic at the MPC, and supervises numerous doctoral students’ research projects. She is currently leading a study evaluating the use of telemedicine delivery of memory rehabilitation for stroke survivors. She is also one of the lead investigators on an RCT evaluating approaches to memory rehabilitation following stroke, funded by Monash. She provides therapy in various clinical intervention studies including the MI/CBT for anxiety and depression, CBT for sleep disturbance and fatigue, and memory rehabilitation following stroke studies. With funding from the NHMRC CRE in Psychosocial Rehabilitation, she is a lead investigator on translational research to implement training in use of a manualised intervention for treating anxiety and depression following TBI. She also has recently completed a series of studies on the use of smartphones to support cognitive impairment in people with TBI and stroke. Dr. Wong has several well cited publications in high impact journals and has presented her research at numerous international and national conferences. Her expertise in brain injury rehabilitation is recognised by frequent invitations to present her work, act as Chair and abstract reviewer at conferences, and referee for relevant journals. She was recently invited to convene the 2017 conference of the Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment (ASSBI). She is also a committee member of the ASSBI National Executive.
Adjunct Associate Professor Dean McKenzie, BA(Hons),PhD, is a Biostatistician at Epworth HealthCare. He is also an adjunct Associate Professor with the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Deakin University, and an adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Monash University, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, at the Alfred Hospital. Dean has a strong background in medical/psychiatric research, having worked at several Melbourne hospitals in more than 25 years with Monash. He graduated with honours in cognitive psychology from Deakin University, and more recently obtained a PhD in Epidemiology from Monash in 2009, looking at screening for depression in hospital patients, and other groups, using classification and regression trees. This research, as well as ongoing journal publications, beginning in 1992, applies methods developed in cognitive psychology / artificial intelligence as well as in applied statistics / data mining. Dr McKenzie received a Doctoral Scholarship, and a 4 year Postdoctoral Fellowship, from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), as well as a grant from Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to identify key symptoms for screening for depression in Gulf War veterans using data science / machine learning and statistical methods. Dean has widely published in international epidemiological, medical and psychological journals, with over 100 authored and co-authored papers.
Associate Professor Gavin Williams PhD, FACP, is a leading physiotherapist who has worked in neurological rehabilitation for over 20 years. He currently combines clinical work at the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne and clinical research at the University of Melbourne. Since he began working at the Epworth Hospital 19 years ago, he has developed a program to teach advanced gait and running skills to people with neurological injuries. This program led to his doctoral studies titled ‘The development of a high-level mobility assessment tool (HiMAT) for people with traumatic brain injury’. Since that time he has been a Post-doctoral Research Fellow focusing on the assessment, classification and treatment of mobility limitations following traumatic brain injury. Gavin was awarded a Fellowship by the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2011. He has over 50 peer-reviewed journal publications and over 70 international and national conference presentations. He was also involved in the development of a new classification system for Paralympic athletics, which was implemented at the London Paralympics. Gavin currently holds a NHMRC post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Melbourne and has recently been awarded an NHMRC TRIPP Fellowship from 2016 as well as an NHMRC project grant focused on effective strength training for walking in neurological rehabilitation. Gavin is an associate investigator, overseeing the physical exercise assessment, intervention and monitoring process in the CBT for sleep disturbance study. He is also collaborating with MERRC on two further studies – an examination of activity levels following TBI and factors influencing these, in collaboration with physiotherapist Megan Hamilton, Dr. Adam McKay and honours student Penelope Analytis, and a second project in collaboration with physiotherapist Laura Di Nicolantonio, Dr. Gershon Spitz and honours student, Alissa Lever, examining the role of psychological factors in recovery following orthopaedic trauma.
Ms Pamela Ross, B AppSci, MA, PhD candidate, is a Senior Occupational Therapist at Epworth and Manager of the Driver Rehabilitation and Vocational Rehabilitation programs, with specific expertise in traumatic brain injury. She has completed post-graduate qualifications in driver assessment and rehabilitation and career counselling. In 2009, Pam received an RACV Sir Edmund Herring Memorial Scholarship which enabled her to commence research on return to driving at Monash University under the supervision of Prof Jennie Ponsford and Dr Judith Charlton. In 2011, she enrolled in a PhD on a part time basis, investigating ‘Return to Driving after Traumatic Brain Injury’, supervised by Prof Jennie Ponsford, Dr Marilyn Di Stefano and Dr Judith Charlton. She has completed several publications and will submit her thesis in early 2016. She has played a key role as an investigator on studies investigating the processes of assessment of driving capacity in individuals with TBI. She was a Chief Investigator on an international collaborative grant from the VNI that has focused on this subject. This prospective study is continuing. In 2015, Pam was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel to France, The Netherlands, Canada and USA to investigate the clinical use of driving simulators with older and disabled drivers. She will travel in March 2016. She has presented at many conferences and is also a presenter for the Community Mobility Program for Older Drivers, funded by TAC.
|Professor John Olver MBBS, FACRM, FAFRM (RACP), MD, who is Director of Rehabilitation at Epworth Healthcare, and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at Monash University, has been involved with the Centre since its inception. He has directed the head injury rehabilitation program at Epworth for 25 years. He conducts follow-up interviews with traumatically brain injured patients 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years after injury as part of the Longitudinal Head Injury Outcome Project and is a regular presenter of findings from the outcome studies at national and international conferences. He has a diverse range of research interests, overseeing projects on treatment of spasticity, brachial plexus injuries and mobility following TBI, monitoring of sleep patterns in the acute stages of recovery from TBI and sense of smell following TBI, stroke rehabilitation and joint replacements for which he has received grants from the Epworth Research Institute. Prof Olver is the immediate past President of the Asia Oceanian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (AOSPRM), Treasurer of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM) and Past President of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. He serves on the Editorial Board of the journals Neurorehabilitation and Brain Impairment. He is also Medical Director of the Australian Rehabilitation Outcome Centre (AROC).|
|Dr. Michael Ponsford, MBBS, FACRM, FAFRM (RACP), Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine is also actively involved with research conducted at the centre, having been involved in the care of head injury patients at Epworth/Bethesda for many years. He also conducts follow up interviews with traumatically brain injured patients, 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years after injury as part of the Longitudinal Head Injury Outcome Project and is involved in other specific projects.|
Dr. Rose Acher, MBBS, FACRM, FAFRM (RACP), Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine is also actively involved with research conducted at the centre, having been involved in the care of head injury patients at Epworth/Bethesda for a number of years. She also conducts follow up interviews with traumatically brain injured patients 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years after injury as part of the Longitudinal Head Injury Outcome Project. She has recently joined a multidisciplinary clinic for the management of spasticity, and is involved in the ULIS study through this clinic looking at the management of spasticity in upper limbs using botulinum toxin.
Staff / Student
Yvette Alway, BPysch (Hons) DPsych (Clinical Psychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 EFT as a Research Assistant.
Alicia Dymowski, BBNSc(Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.4 EFT as a Research Assistant.
Coco Bernard, BSc (Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 FTE as a Research Assistant.
Clare Kempnich, BPsychSc (Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 FTE as a Research Assistant.
Sylvia Nguyen, BHealth Sci (Hons) and MPsych(Clin), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 FTE as a Research Assistant.
Jacqueline Owens, BPsych (Hons), DPSych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 EFT as a Research Assistant.
James Gooden, BBNSc (Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 EFT as a Research Assistant.
Jessica Trevena-Peters, BOccTh/BPsychSci(Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology) candidate, is employed 0.2 EFT as a Research Assistant.
Tijana Mihalcic, BBNSc (Hons), DPsych (Clinical Neuropsychology), is employed 0.4 EFT as a Research Assistant.
Pamela Ross. Return to driving following traumatic brain injury. PhD Commenced 2011.
Matthew Staois. Developing reliable and valid neuropsychological assessment techniques for Greek-Australians. PhD commenced 2015.
Lingani Mbakile. The experience of traumatic brain injury in Botswana. DPsych commenced 2009.
Natalie Grima. Efficacy of melatonin for sleep disturbance following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced, 2011.
Alicia Dymowski. Alleviating attentional disturbances following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2011.
James Gooden. Awareness and driving following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2011.
Yvette Alway. Impact of relatives’ expressed emotion on anxiety and depression following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2011.
Kate Cameron. Awareness and psychological adjustment following stroke. DPsych Commenced 2011.
Sylvia Nguyen. Cognitive-behaviour therapy for fatigue and sleep disturbance following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2012.
Coco Bernard. Assessment of postconcussional symptoms in children following mild TBI. DPsych Commenced 2012.
Jacqueline Owens. Imaging correlates of attention and response to methylphenidate following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2012.
Jessica Trevena-Peters. Efficacy of early therapy for patients in post-traumatic amnesia. DPsych Commenced 2013.
Lauren Pigdon. The neurobiological basis of language impairment in children with specific language impairment. DPsych commenced 2013.
Celia Pais. Positive growth following traumatic brain injury. DPsych Commenced 2013.
Shayden Bryce. Efficacy of Cognitive retraining in individuals with Schizophrenia. DPsych. Thesis. Commenced 2014.
Caroline Roberts. Recovery from post-traumatic amnesia. DPsych. Thesis. Commenced 2014.
Toni Witheil. Rehabilitation of cognitive impairments following stroke. DPsych. Thesis. Commenced 2014.
Kristina Haebich. Executive dysfunction and brain development in very preterm 13 year olds – a longitudinal follow-up study. DPsych commenced 2014.
Bleydy Dimech-Betancourt Assessment and Rehabilitation of Driving Capacity after Traumatic Brain Injury. DPsych thesis Commenced 2015.
Leah Zelencich The influence of therapeutic process on response to cognitive behaviour therapy following traumatic brain injury. DPsych thesis Commenced 2015.
David Lawson. Using telemedicine to deliver neuropsychological interventions to stroke survivors. DPsych commenced 2015.
Jodi Chapman. Using telemedicine to conduct neuropsychological assessments for stroke survivors. DPsych commenced 2015.