About Us

Who are we and what do we do?

The research in our lab acknowledges the importance of family and social support in promoting health and well-being in vulnerable children and young people. In particular the focus of our research is on young people with Neurodevelopmental Disorders such as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (also known as velo-cardio-facial syndrome), Williams syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, autism spectrum disorders and their families. We also investigate the Mental Health of Parents and the impact of mental health issues on child development. This research includes biological and foster carers with and without mental health issues.

To find out more about individual research projects that students in our lab are currently undertaking, click on the hyperlinks.

Chief Investigator

Dr. Linda Campbell
Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Newcastle.

I came to Australia in 2003 after my BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the University College London. I was in the process of finishing my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London under the supervision of Professor Kieran Murphy, Professor Robin Murray and Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith. My PhD investigated the behavioural phenotype and structural brain anatomy of children and adolescents with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (Velo-cardio-facial syndrome) and Williams syndrome. I started my NHMRC and HMRI post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Professor Ulrich Schall at the Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research at the University of Newcastle in 2006, continuing my work on 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and also learning new skills such as eyetracking methodologies. I am currently a Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle. Over the last few years I have supervised more than 20 fourth year Honours students and postgraduate students at the University of Newcastle. I have authored (and co-authored) more than 20 publications.

Researchers

Dr. Kathryn McCabe
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Youth Mental Health, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney.

Kathryn was awarded her PhD this year (2013) from the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. Kathryn’s PhD investigated the development of a face processing remediation program for people with schizophrenia using visual scanpath technology under the supervision of Dr Carmel Loughland and A/Prof Mick Hunter. Kathryn completed a visiting fellowship at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, to conduct follow-up research with the children who participated in Linda’s PhD studies. Kathryn previously managed the Vision Laboratory at The Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health Research  (CTNMH), and is experienced with visual scanning, electrophysiology, cognitive and clinical assessment as well as running studies with clinical populations. Kathryn is currently responsible for the quality assurance of the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank. Kathryn’s main research interests include social cognition and visual processing, and exploring the basis of their impairment in different clinical populations.

Research assistants

Ms. Jessica Melville

Jessica completed a Bachelor Psychology at the University of Newcastle in 2012. Jessica works as a research assistant in the FIND lab at the Ourimbah campus and the Calvary Mater campus. In particular, Jessica is working on faciliating research projects on neurodevelopmental disorders such as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and  autism spectrum disorders, as well as research into parenting and mental illness. Jessica has experience in visual scanning/eye tracking.

PhD candidates

Ms. Brooke Sinderberry

Brooke completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle in 2009. She is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Health at the University of Newcastle. Brooke’s research is focused on investigating health care needs of children with the genetic microdeletion syndrome, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

 

Ms. Christy Jones

Christy is a provisionally registered Psychologist and began her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2011 under the supervision of Dr Linda Campbell, Associate Professor Carmel Loughland, and Dr Darren Burke. She is investigating impairments in infant face processing observed in mothers experiencing postnatal depression, and the impact of such impairments on other key aspects of parenting; including parental reflective functioning and parental emotional availability. It is hoped that knowledge gained from the research will inform targeted treatment approaches that help parents respond more effectively to infant affective cues. Such treatment approaches have the potential to improve attachment quality between parents and infants and may therefore contribute to reducing the cumulative risks – particularly to children – associated with poor parent-infant relationships.

Mr. Paul Strutt

Paul is an RHD student under the supervision of Dr Darren Burke and Dr Linda Campbell. Paul completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle in 2011, and began work on his postgraduate research in 2012. Paul’s research is exploring the relationship between emotion processing strategies and the development of general social skills and abilities. The aim of the project is to explore the differences in processing strategies that exist between the general population and those on the autism spectrum.  We hope that knowledge gained from this project will help further the development of social skills interventions in autism spectrum disorder.

Ms Jane Goodwin

Jane began her PhD in 2013 under the supervision of Dr Linda Campbell, Dr Tracy Dudding, and Dr Lynne McCormack. She is studying the experience of parenting a child diagnosed with a developmental disability. This follows on from an investigation of the diagnosis and disclosure experiences of parents who have children affected by developmental disorders, completed as part of her BPsych (Hons) in 2012.

Mr. Ahmed Al-Homidi

Ahmed is a registered psychologist at the King Khalid University Hospital, King Saudi University, Saudi Arabia, where he completed a B.Psychology (Hons) in 1995.  In 2004, he completed a Master of Social sciences in Mental Health and Care from the Naif Arab University For Security Sciences; thesis titled: Effectiveness of a Behavioural Program on Developing Social Skills in Educatable Mentally Retarded Children. Ahmed is currently a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Newcastle, under the supervision of Dr Campbell and Associate Professor Mick Hunter,  and is undertaking a study investigating the cognitive, emotional and behavioural consequences of child maltreatment in Saudi Arabia.

Master of Clinical Psychology

Ms. Nisha Dhani

Nisha is a registered Psychologist. Nisha has just commenced her research investigating how people view sexuality, relationships and parenting for people with neurodevelopmental disorders. This research was initiated by Ms Madeleine Randall in 2011. Nisha is supervised by Dr Campbell and Dr Stefania Paolini.

Ms Alyce McKeough

Alyce McKeough is a registered Psychologist. She is currently undertaking her Masters of Clinical Psychology and working in the foster care sector. She commenced her research with Dr Linda Campbell this year, looking at foster carer stress and organisational support and training.

 

 Honours students

Ms Erin Forbes

Erin is currently in her Honours year of a B.Psychology degree at the University of Newcastle.  Erin is currently working on her Honours research in the FIND lab. Her thesis will be titled “An examination of mother-infant interaction: The influence of maternal self-efficacy, psychological wellbeing, and emotional availability.”

 

Ms Jaime Wroe

Jaime is currently really busy launching her studies into the fathering experiences of new Dads. Jaime is trying to find out more about how new dads think and feel. Overwhelmingly, parenting services in the community exclusively focus on, or are derived from, the feedback and needs of mothers. However, becoming a parent is an important milestone in any person’s life. Some experiences may be similar for both parents; however, certain experiences will be exclusive to dads. Jaime’s Honours research is titled “Understanding ‘Normal’ Negative Thinking Patterns and Themes among New Fathers”. If you are interested in learning more about Jaime’s study, click here.