The Research Staff at MAPrc are a diverse group of dedicated and dynamic people, with a focus on ground-breaking and innovative outcomes for participant-oriented care. We acknowledge the participant as the hub of all our research activities, and make every effort to ensure continuity of optimum health and wellbeing, in an holistic manner. Our values encompass caring and responding appropriately to our patients/participants; encouraging and achieving excellence through continual learning and improvement; working in partnership and co-operation with all allied health services; being responsible and accountable for the services we provide; and treating all people with integrity, in a friendly, trusting and respectful manner and environment.
MAPrc nurtures a friendly and supportive environment, where team work and individual effort are not only encouraged but applauded. Our work incorporates all areas of mental health, as discussed under ‘Our Research’. We strive to provide educational updates and opportunities to all staff, and encourage the dissemination of knowledge in all areas of the health sector.
Research activities include project advertisement, ethics processing, project recruitment, participant interaction, project co-ordination and data analysis; development of clinical networks; conference attendance and project presentations; publication of study progress and results within a variety of reputable journals and departmental representation at a diverse range of mental health forums, both nationally and internationally.
David Elliot is a Research Nurse at MAPrc, a position he started in November 2009. David is currently part of the Psychopharmacology team working on medication trials.
David obtained his BNSc from The University of Melbourne in December 2008 following which he spent a year working on the acute inpatient psychiatric unit, first floor, at The Alfred Hospital. From 1999 – 2007 David ran his own business designing, manufacturing and wholesaling ceramic homewares. David completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1991. After a postdoctoral fellowship spent in Switzerland studying photovoltaic cells he found himself employed at the CSIRO in Clayton, Victoria in 1992. During his employment at the CSIRO (1992 -1999) David studied the fabrication and optical properties of ultrasmall semiconductor particles in thin films.
RN Division 1, RGON, SRN /Research Nurse
Heather Gilbert is an RN Division 1/Research Nurse at MAPrc. Heather has extensive clinical experience in Operating Theatre and PACU (Post Anaesthetic Care Unit) Nursing, Aged Care, Rehabilitation, IVF and District Nursing. Heather trained and worked as a Registered Nurse in Auckland, New Zealand, followed by several years of clinical practice in England, before moving to Melbourne, Australia in 2003.
Heather joined MAPrc in 2005, as a Research Nurse with the Psychopharmacology Team. In January 2006, Heather was invited to join the Women’s Mental Health Team, where she currently co-ordinates The National Register of Antipsychotic Medication in Pregnancy (NRAMP). This is an observational study which follows the pathway of women who are taking/have taken antipsychotic medication during pregnancy. We aim to establish evidence-based guidelines for the best use and effect of antipsychotic medication during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal phase, thereby assisting clinicians to make informed decisions in the management of women in their care. This stimulating and expansive role allows for further recruitment and networking opportunities across Australia. International involvement is also planned, and already includes colleagues in New Zealand.
Heather is involved in all aspects of department life, including support and mentoring of junior staff, assistance with team activities as required, venepuncture and ECG supervision, various committee memberships, article writing and conference presentations.
Kate Filia BAppSci PGDip (Psychology)
Kate Filia has been employed at MAPrc following the completion of her undergraduate degree. Kate has extensive experience in the coordination of trials, having worked at the centre since 2000.
In 2008 Kate completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology at MAPrc where she investigated common barriers and facilitators to employment for people with bipolar disorder. She is currently undertaking further postgraduate studies.
Kate continues in her role as Research Assistant, currently employed in the Healthy Lifestyles Team. She also coordinates and conducts training in the use of psychopathology measures with staff members of MAPrc, as well as providing such training to external organisations.
Penny Weeks BSc Psychophysiology (Hons)
Penny has worked in community mental health for the past 4 years whilst studying psychology and psychophysiology at Swinburne University. She has worked with both children and teenagers in an early intervention and prevention program for children showing signs of depression, anxiety and behavioural disturbance. She then went on to work with adults diagnosed with a mental illness in a case management and psychosocial role. Penny started working with the psychopharmacology team in May 2011 on a schizophrenia clinical trial, which is one of her particular interests
Sara Arnold BA (Psych Hons)
Sara Arnold joined MAPrc as a Research Assistant on the Brain Stimulation and Neurosciences team in February 2011. She is currently working on several projects investigating the potential uses of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques for treating symptoms of depression, autism and schizophrenia.
Sara completed her Honours in Psychology in 2010 at the University of Melbourne, during which time she undertook a research project looking at sensory integration deficits in patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Whilst studying, Sara also worked for several years as a therapist and Disability Support Worker for young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Daniel is a local boy from Melbourne. He is an enrolled nurse (Division 2) with medications endorsement and have also completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology and Innovation at the Box Hill institute.
Daniel started at MAPrc in February 2013 as a study co-ordinator in the Psychopharmacology team.
Previously he worked at Nucleus Network, an early phase clinical trial unit for over 6 years working on a variety of pharmaceutical studies following ICH-GCP.
Dr Jasmin Grigg
Jasmin is a member of the Women’s Mental Health Team at MAPrc, a position she commenced in April 2013. She supports research that is examining the potential use of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) for the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia in men.
Jasmin completed her BPsych(Hons) after which she was awarded her PhD from James Cook University, Cairns, in 2011 for her thesis on ageing and cognitive decline. She moved to Melbourne in 2011 to undertake the Re-Contact Phase of the Women’s Healthy Ageing Project (WHAP) with the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria (MHRI), the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI), and the University of Melbourne: A longitudinal, epidemiological study measuring biomarker, physical, hormone, psychosocial, cognitive and lifestyle factors which may affect later life health and cognition.
Jasmin has a keen interest in the impact of hormones on cognitive functioning, and hopes to contribute to research that provides further understanding of the role of hormones on mental health, and their role in enhancing recovery from mental illness.
Melanie Emonson BBNSc (Psych Hons)
Melanie Emonson has been a member of the Brain Stimulation and Neurosciences team since January 2012. She is currently working as a Research Assistant in the studies exploring Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in the treatment of depression, as well as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in the treatment of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
Melanie completed her Honours Degree of the Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience at Monash University in 2011, undertaking her project under the supervision of Dr Kate Hoy at MAPrc. Her research project involved the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in the enhancement of working memory.
Dr Mirjana Stojkovic BA (Sci) PGD (Pharmacy), MSc, PhD
Mirjana Stojkovic is a research assistant/ study coordinator in MAPrc's Psychopharmacology Team. Her work involves coordination of clinical trials in depression and schizophrenia.
Mirjana completed a doctorate in biological sciences at the University of Auckland in 2001. After accomplished her doctorial study, Mirjana has worked on a range of different projects at the Auckland University until she moved to Melbourne in 2012 to start work at MAPrc. Her current work at MAPrc involves dynamic interaction with mental health patients including data collection.
Neil Bailey completed his PhD in neuroscience in August 2012. His thesis used brain imaging techniques to examine changes in brain activity during cognitive processing in major depressive disorder following a traumatic brain injury. Prior to his PhD, he had experience using applied behaviour analysis to provide therapy for children with autism.
His current work is focused on using novel brain imaging techniques to assess responses to brain stimulation, and testing new potiential brain stimulation methods.
Susan McQueen RN, RPN, MN (Mental Health), Grad Dip (Community Ed), Dip Applied Science
Susan is a registered general and psychiatric nurse. She recently completed a Master of Nursing (Mental Health) at Monash. Susan has worked extensively in acute and community psychiatric facilities. She currently works on the Brain Stimulation and Neuroimaging Stream at MAPrc and is involved in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) studies.
Trung Ngo PhD (Qld)
Trung Ngo’s interest in brain-behaviour relationships grew from enthralling lectures on classic lesion and brain stimulation studies given by Rod Ashton at the University of Queensland. Trung went on to complete a PhD in Neuroscience under Jack Pettigrew, who was working with Steven Miller on a novel neural mechanism of binocular rivalry (and bipolar disorder), and extended their work by demonstrating evidence for an interhemispheric switch model of perceptual rivalry.
Trung was awarded an NHMRC postdoctoral clinical research fellowship and is currently a Research Fellow at the School of Psychology & Psychiatry (Monash University), Caulfield Pain Management & Research Centre (CPMRC, Caulfield Hospital) and MAPrc. At MAPrc, he is continuing investigations into mechanisms of perceptual rivalry using TMS and EEG, including examination of a novel meta-rivalry model (see below). Other work Trung is conducting at MAPrc with Paul Fitzgerald and Steve Miller includes characterising binocular rivalry in bipolar disorder, and examining caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS) – a simple brain stimulation technique – as a potential therapeutic intervention in mania and depression. At CPMRC, Trung and Steven are also assessing CVS as a potential therapeutic intervention in neuropathic (persistent) pain conditions.
Ngo TT, Miller SM, Liu GB, Pettigrew JD (2000). Binocular rivalry and perceptual coherence. Curr Biol 10(4): R134–R136.
Been G, Ngo TT, Miller SM, Fitzgerald PB (2007). The use of tDCS and CVS as methods of non-invasive brain stimulation. Brain Res Rev 56(2): 346–361.
Ngo TT, Liu GB, Tilley AJ, Pettigrew JD, Miller SM (2007). Caloric vestibular stimulation reveals discrete neural mechanisms for coherence rivalry and eye rivalry: A meta-rivalry model. Vision Res 47(21): 2685–2699.
Ngo TT, Liu GB, Tilley AJ, Pettigrew JD, Miller SM (2008). The changing face of perceptual rivalry. Brain Res Bull 75(5): 610–618.