Principal Researcher and Clinician

Professor Adam Guastella

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Professor Adam Guastella is Clinical Psychologist and Principal Research Fellow at the Brain & Mind Centre. His primary interest is in developing novel treatments to improve social functioning in young patient with mental health problems. 

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Research Staff

Dr. Christine Yun Ju Song

 

Dr. Christine Yun Ju Song is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre. Her primary interest is in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric cognitive functioning.

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Tiffany Russel Sia

 

 

Tiffany has a background in basic and clinical neuroscience. Her current focus is the PT-141 clinical trial, which investigates the effect of a single-dose of PT-141 on the social communication and emotion recognition skills in people with and without autism spectrum disorders. She also works with the Radiochemistry team in ANSTO, developing a series of radiolabelled oxytocin ligands for autism radiopharmacy and PET imaging.

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Dr. Rothanthe Georgiou

Rothanthe is the clinical trial coordinator for the child oxytocin trial, investigating the effects of intranasally administered oxytocin in the social interaction skills of children with and without autism, aged 3-12 years.


Izabella Pokorski

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Izabella is the clinical trial coordinator of the adult alcohol oxytocin trial, investigating the effects of intranasally administered oxytocin in the alcohol intake and dependency of healthy adults. 


Dr. Alice Norton

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Dr Alice Norton is a practicing clinical psychologist and researcher at the Brain and Mind Centre. Alice specialises in social anxiety disorder, trauma, and imagery, and her Ph.D. investigated imagery rescripting as an intervention for social anxiety. Alice is currently involved in research for social dysfunction disorders at the Brain and Mind Centre, and runs group therapy programs for both social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Alice has been involved in teaching at the University of Sydney for several of years, has presented at national and international psychology conferences, and has published broadly in peer-reviewed academic journals in the area of anxiety disorders. She currently supervises clinical research students, and is involved in the training and supervision of clinical interns. Alice also works privately in inner Sydney.

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Research Interns

Min Kyung Chong

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Min Kyung Chong is an undergraduate intern who is currently studying a BSc(Advanced) in chemistry and neuroscience at the University of Sydney. She is involved in administrating experimental tasks in various research projects, such as PT-141 Trial and the Child Oxytocin Trial.

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PhD Candidates

Zahava Ambarchi

Zahava Ambarchi is a clinical research professional with significant experience across both commercial and investigator-initiated trials in neuroscience and mental health, psych-oncology and other medical fields. Her PhD will involve investigating the relationship between eye-gaze, social cognition and social interaction in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who are participating in trials involving both medical and social learning therapies.

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Shrujna Patel

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Shrujna completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science, with Honours in Neuroscience, from the University of New South Wales in 2016. She has a strong background in laboratory science, with expertise in the cellular and molecular processes of the nervous system. Her PhD project focusses on the role of the immune system and neuroinflammation in the pathophysiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is currently involved in collecting and analyzing blood samples from children in the oxytocin clinical trial, investigating biomarkers of neuroinflammation and ASD.

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Karen Pepper 

Karen Pepper holds  BA Hons (Sydney) and MA Hons (Wollongong) degrees in psychology, and has completed a Master of Brain and Mind Sciences degree at the University of Sydney. She has previously been involved in a range of research projects on the psychology of visual perception, learning disabilities and health psychology, and has taught psychology subjects to health sciences students. Her current research interests include the interactions between social anxiety, social cognition, attentional biases and eye gaze in people with autism spectrum disorders, psychosis, and social anxiety disorders. 


Marilena DeMayo

 

Marilena DeMayo is a PhD candidate under Adam Guastella. Her research is on the neuroscience of social dysfunction disorder, with a focus on children. Marilena’s research has two domains. Firstly, investigating neurological differences between children with ASD and those typically developing. Furthermore, she is investigating MRI before and after oxytocin treatment, looking for any predictors of oxytocin treatment response.

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Shin Ho Park

 

 

Shin Ho Park is a PhD candidate investigating the predictors in treatment response to cognitive-behavioural therapies and establishing a predictive treatment model using various clinical, psychological and biological measures. He graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Bioinformatics (Honours) and Master of Biomedical Engineering in 2014. His end goal is to improve individualised psychiatric treatment in clinics using a predictive biostatistical model. 

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Eleni Demetriou

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Eleni completed the Honours degree, Bachelor of Science in Psychology and the Master of Clinical Psychology both from the University of NSW.  In 2012 she graduated with the degree of Master of Brain and Mind Sciences from the University of Sydney.  Eleni’s research interests include the identification of neurobiological and psychological markers of developmental disorders.

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Master Candidates

Dr. Rinku Thapa

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Dr Rinku Thapa is a medical assessor for child oxytocin trial at Brain and Mind centre.  Rinku has a broad range of experience and skill in medical field.

She also holds masters degree in Public Health from University of Sydney. Her primary interest is in link between cardiac response (HR) and synchrony behavioural mechanism in children with autism spectrum disorder under Ian Hickie and Adam Guastella. Her research interest also focused on heart rate variability between adult autism and mental disorder patients.

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