Team Biographies.

Dr. Joyce Siette

Dr Joyce Siette is an expert in psychology and is a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation. Her research focuses on dementia prevention, quality of life in dementia, and successful ageing in cognitive adversity.

Dr. Siette completed a Bachelor of Psychology and PhD in Psychology at the University of New South Wales and is interested in combining neuropsychology and informatics to improve quality and care for older adults.

Her current work involves identifying social factors that can delay dementia development, sensor-based technology in residential aged care, and promoting dementia awareness and lifestyle change in the community through Brain Bootcamp.

Ms Laura Dodds

Ms Laura Dodds specialises in public health promotion and is a Research Assistant at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation. She is working on several projects involving the assessment and improvement of cognition, social engagement, and quality of life in older adults across multiple settings.

She has attained undergraduate degrees in psychology and health and completed a Master of Public Health specialising in cross-disciplinary studies.

Previously, she has worked on the frontline of aged care facilitating older adult engagement in the Healthy Older People Partnership Program (HOPP) and the Stepping On program as well as delivering a variety of services which focus on exercise and mobility, pain management and wellbeing.

Professor Greg Savage

Greg Savage is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University, and Neuropsychology Clinical Discipline Head at MQ Health.

His research interests are broad in scope, but many projects have a unifying theme in terms of developing theoretically-informed tests of memory. Another theme focuses on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (mainly through his role as Co-Leader of the Clinical and Cognitive Stream in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers & Lifestyle [AIBL] Study of Ageing).

Recently he has focused on understanding the impact of hearing loss on cognition, and particularly, how hearing loss relates to risk of developing dementia.

Professor Deborah Richards

Deborah Richards is a Professor in the Department of Computing at Macquarie University. Following 20 years in the ICT industry during which she completed a BBus (Comp and MIS) and MAppSc (InfoStudies), she completed a PhD in artificial intelligence on the reuse of knowledge at the University of New South Wales and joined academia in 1999.

While she continues to work on solutions to assist decision-making and knowledge acquisition, for the past decade, her focus has been on intelligent systems, agent technologies and virtual worlds to support human learning and well-being.

Dr. Paul Strutt

Dr Paul Strutt is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Neuropsychology Registrar in the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University.

As a clinician, he provides clinical assessment, diagnosis, and rehabilitation management for cognitive disorders across the lifespan. His research interests are in the investigation of modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.

Currently, this work is focussed on the role of hearing loss and the potential benefits of hearing and communication interventions for protecting cognition as people age.

Dr. Kiran Ijaz

Kiran is a Human-Computer Interaction Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University.

She has taught the computer science curriculum for seven years and been part of many culturally diverse research teams. She has a background in Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Her specific research interests are to design, develop, and evaluate novel health technologies. Currently, she investigates immersive VR, serious games and Human-AI interaction to support both physical and mental wellbeing. Her work has acclaimed both teaching and research awards.

Associate Professor Piers Dawes

Piers Dawes studied speech and hearing science at Curtin University in Western Australia and holds a doctorate in experimental psychology from Oxford University.

He has had many academic posts but is currently an Associate Professor in Audiology at the Australian Hearing Hub in Sydney. Dr Dawes’s research interests concern the causes, impacts, prevention and treatment of hearing impairment, particularly in the context of multimorbidity in older age, as well as hearing service development and evaluation.

Dr Dawes has been a recipient of many awards including the US-UK Fulbright award and the British Society of Audiology’ TS Littler prize for services to audiology. As the founding chair of the British Society of Audiology’s special interest group for cognition in hearing, he promotes research and raises awareness of new developments on cognitive issues in hearing science, assessment and intervention.

Dr Dawes was a lead investigator for the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing and heads a consortium of international researchers in analyzing hearing and tinnitus data in 500, 000 UK adults, and is now joint PI for “Ears, Eyes and Mind: The “SENSE-Cog Project” to improve mental well-being for elderly Europeans with sensory impairment”, a €6.2 million EU Horizon 2020 project.

Professor Vivian Wuthrich

Professor Viviana Wuthrich is the Director of the Centre for Ageing, Cognition and Wellbeing , and a Medical Research Future Fund Emerging Leader 2 Fellow (2021-2025), She is a Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychology and Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, and National Convenor of the Australian Psychological Society Psychology and Ageing Interest Group.

Her research interests relate to understanding and treating anxiety and depression across the lifespan, with particular interests in older adults. Her research includes the development and evaluation in clinical trials of psychological interventions to reduce anxiety, depression and reduce risk for dementia, and translation of these programs into public and private mental health settings.

She is currently evaluating a dementia risk reduction intervention in primary care, as well as leading two large clinical trials to evaluate cognitive behavioural therapy based interventions in older adults. This includes a $1.02 million National Health and Medical Research Council multisite trial evaluating a model of stepped care in older adult mental health services, and a clinical trial focused on improving treatment outcomes using CBT enhanced with interventions to improve social participation.

Dr. Carly Johnco

Dr Carly Johnco is a Macquarie University Senior Research Fellow and a registered Clinical Psychologist.

She completed her PhD and Masters of Clinical Psychology at Macquarie University in 2014, followed by two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of South Florida and at Macquarie University before beginning her Macquarie University Research Fellowship.

Her research is focused on understanding the cognitive and environmental mechanisms that underpin anxiety (and related disorders) in childhood and older age, and whether these factors impact on the efficacy of existing treatments. These interests include how fear learning, cognition, attention and memory impact the development, maintenance and treatment of anxiety problems.

Professor Chris Armitage

Professor Christopher J. Armitage is a Health Psychologist registered with the UK Health and Care Professions Council, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Director of Research at the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester.

He uses psychological theory and evidence to develop effective behaviour change interventions in multiple behaviours and among diverse populations. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles on these topics and has received funding to support this research from numerous sources, including the European Union and several of the UK’s Research and Innovation Councils.

Assistant Professor Kay Deckers

Kay works as an Assistant Professor at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience and the Alzheimer Center Limburg at Maastricht University.

He was initially trained as a neuropsychologist before coming an epidemiologist. In his research, he investigates the effects of lifestyle factors on cognitive disorders, with most studies focusing on dementia. Additionally, he is very concerned with preventive strategies for a brain-healthy society (e.g. awareness campaign, development of a brain-health tool, implementation of dementia risk reduction in general practices).

Ms Irene Heger

I am a PhD student at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience and the Alzheimer Center Limburg, at Maastricht University (the Netherlands).

I am a trained psychologist with a background in medical psychology. My PhD project is focused on raising public awareness of modifiable risk and protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia. The main focus of my project is the development and evaluation of a public health campaign, aimed at increasing awareness of dementia risk reduction in the general population.

Part of the campaign was the MijnBreincoach online platform, which gives people insight into their personal dementia risk profile and identifies room for lifestyle improvement.

Associate Professor Sebastian Kohler

Seb is an Associate Professor at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience and senior researcher at the Alzheimer Center Limburg at Maastricht University.

He was trained in neuropsychology and epidemiology and leads the research line Neuroepidemiology, which specializes in risk and protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia in the general as well as clinical populations. Seb’s group developed the LIBRA modifiable dementia risk score and the MijnBreincoach app, which is used in public health campaigns on dementia prevention in the Netherlands.

He is a member of the Management Board of The Maastricht Study, a deep-phenotyping cohort of 9,000 individuals, and is co-PI of the 25-year follow-up Maastricht Ageing Study into determinants of normal and pathological cognitive ageing. He co-leads the FINGER-NL trial, a 2-year multidomain lifestyle intervention program to promote brain health in older adults.

Ready to start your journey to a healthier brain?

*Currently only available to NSW residents