Dr Bernadette Fitzgibbon

Head, Pain and Affective Neuroscience Unit

Dr Fitzgibbon is a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University where she holds a National Health and Medical Research Early Career Fellowship. She is the head of the “Pain and Affective Neuroscience Unit” within the Therapeutic Brain Stimulation division of Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), a department of Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.   

Bernadette’s research program aims to better understand the mechanisms underpinning how pain can become chronic as well as novel therapeutics to treat persistent pain. Her work is driven by the integration of psychosocial and biological processes linked to the development and maintenance of pain which are in turn incorporated into her application of brain stimulation approaches.

Bernadette’s research uses a range of methods, including Theta-Burst Stimulation (TBS), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), electroencephalogram (EEG), concurrent TMS-EEG, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Electrocardiography (ECG) and Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR), as well as the use of novel at-home brain stimulation adjunctive with psychological therapies. 

She has received several awards for her research including the national 2014 Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation Young Investigator of the Year award, a 2014 Young Tall Poppy Science Award through the Australian Institute of Policy and Science and in 2018 was selected for the Veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside program. She is also dedicated to the advancement of brain sciences within Australia, as reflected in role as chair of the Australian Brain Alliance EMCR Network and an Executive Member of the Australian Brain Alliance, an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science to bring together strategic brain research across Australia.


Research Interests 

·         Pain 

·         Cognition

·         Social Processes

·         Trauma

·         Neurotechnology

·         Brain Stimulation

Bernadette is available to supervise Honours and PhD students

If you would like to find out more about Bernadette’s research, please contact her on


Key papers: 


1.      Che. X, Cash, R., Chung-Wook, S., Fitzgerald, P.B., FITZGIBBON, B.M.  Investigating the influence of social support on experimental pain and related physiological arousal: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (accepted 9/07/2018).


2.      Roebuck, G.S., Urquhart, D.M., Knox, L., Fitzgerald, P.B., Cicuttini, F.M., Lee, S. and FITZGIBBON, B.M., Psychological factors associated with ultra-marathon runners’ supra-normal pain tolerance: a pilot study. The Journal of Pain. (accepted 22/06/2018).

3.      FITZGIBBON, B.M, Hoy, KE., Knox, LA., Guymer, EK., Littlejohn, G., Elliot, D., Wambeek, LE , McQueen, S., Elford, KA., Lee, SJ., Enticott, PG. , Fitzgerald, PB. (2018). Evidence for the improvement of fatigue in fibromyalgia: a 4-week left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation randomised-controlled trial. European Journal of Pain. 22(7), 1255-1267.

4.      Che, X., Cash, R., Fitzgerald, P., FITZGIBBON, B.M. (2018). The social regulation of pain: autonomic and neurophysiological changes associated with perceived threat. Journal of Pain, 19(5), 496-505.

5.      FITZGIBBON, B.M., Kirkovski, M., Bailey, N., Thomson, R., Eisenberger, N., Enticott, P. Fitzgerald, P.B. (2017). Low-Frequency brain stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex increases the negative impact of social exclusion among those high in personal distress. Social Neuroscience. 12(3), 237-241.

6.      FITZGIBBON, B.M. Hoy, K.E., Guymer, E.K., Littlejohn, G.O., Fitzgerald, P.B. (2016) Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for pain (rTMS): is it too early to standardise rTMS protocols? Pain. 157(5):1174-5.

7.      FITZGIBBON, B.M., Giummarra, M.J., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Enticott, P.G., Bradshaw, J.L. (2010) Shared pain: From empathy to synaesthesia. Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, 34, 500-512.

For a full list of articles, please see:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernadette_Fitzgibbon

 MAPrc Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Level 4, 607 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004

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