Meet the Cognitive Neuroscience of Ageing Team

13 April 2016

L-R: Sharna Jamadar, Francesco Sforazzini, Alexandra Papadopoulos, and Nicholas Parsons.

Team: Cognitive Neuroscience of Ageing Team

Members: Sharna Jamadar, Nicholas Parsons, Jayamini Jayawardene, Alexandra Papadopoulos, Francesco Sforazzini

Faculty/Division: Monash Institute of Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience (MICCN); Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI)

Campus: Clayton

What does the team do at Monash?

We are interested in how the brain's executive functions are maintained in healthy ageing from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Our interdisciplinary team includes cognitive neuroscientists, psychologists and medical physicists. We use a number of techniques (MRI, electroencephalography and oculomotor measures) to study cognition and compensation in healthy ageing.

What projects are you currently working on, or what opportunities are you embracing?

Our major focus now is on recruiting for a new fMRI study of cognitive compensation in healthy ageing. We aim to develop a quantitative model of cognitive compensation changes during executive function using fMRI. This study lays the groundwork for Dr Jamadar's ARC DECRA Fellowship and will inform our subsequent studies on cognitive compensation.

Monash Biomedical Imaging recently installed Australia's only research dedicated MR-PET scanner and we will use this scanner to study how cognitive compensation emerges in response to functional, structural and metabolic changes in the brain during ageing for the first time.

Our other current focus is on examining the relationship between fMRI measures and cognition in the large ASPREE NEURO project.

If you are interested in taking part in any of our studies please contact Sharna Jamadar. We welcome people of all ages!

What is a recent highlight for the team?

In January, Dr Jamadar was an Australian Research Council delegate at the Global Young Scientists Summit in Singapore, where she met a number of Nobel laureates, Fields Medallists and Turing Medallists.

Dr Jamadar will also attend the inaugural Dattner-Grant Homeward Bound Projects leadership program, to be held in Antarctica in December 2016. The program is aimed at female scientists and features high-profile female leaders including primatologist Dr Jane Goodall.

Recently, Alex Papadopoulos submitted her thesis at La Trobe University for a Master of Clinical Neuropsychology, Nick Parsons completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, and Jay Jayawardene was accepted into the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology.

What do you enjoy about working with each other?

We are a young interdisciplinary team who are constantly learning new skills from each other and our close collaborators in MICCN and MBI.

Tell us something about the team that the rest of Monash may not know?

Although early career researchers ourselves, we are passionate about mentoring junior researchers and sharing our love of science. We regularly interact with secondary school students interested in neuroscience, and are developing a work experience program for school students visiting neuroimaging facilities that will be rolled out across Australia.

If your team was a band, what would you be called, and what sort of music would you play?

If we were a band we would be called the Cognitive Compensators and we would play disco-themed country music.

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