About Us

Our Lab is based in the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The School is was ranked in the top 4 of Australian psychology departments in terms of research (Excellence in Research Australia, 2012) and deemed to be well-above world standard in quality.  The University is ranked 1st among Australia’s universities under 50 years old (Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2013-2014; QS 2014 Top 50 Under 50 rankings).

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 Investigators

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

I came to Australia in 2003 after completing a 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, a registered Psychologist (PSY0001637472) and a registrar in Clinical Psychology. 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 25 publications.

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

Kathryn was awarded her PhD in 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’s main research interests include social cognition and visual processing, and exploring the basis of their impairment in different clinical populations.


Dr Carmel Loughland

Carmel is Associate Professor of Translational Mental Health with the Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle, and Hunter New England Mental Health Service. Carmel is a registered psychologist with several years clinical experience working with individuals and families.

Carmel’s research focuses is on social cognition, particularly face and emotion processing, and how this is impacted by mental illness and psychological disorder. This research has recently focused on mother-infant relationships in women with borderline personality disorder and post-natal depression to examine visuo-cognitive disturbances in parenting impacting attachment, emotional availability and child mental health and wellbeing. Carmel is a contributor to an NHMRC working group on parenting and child mental health and welbeing with the aim of improving health policy. In 2002, she established an eye tracking laboratory purpose built for visual scanpath research at the Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, Newcastle, and has collaborated with the FINDLAB team on a number of projects, including post-natal research supported by  donations from the Tour Des Femmes Women Cyclists. Read more about Carmel’s research by clicking here.

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.

Ms. Jaime Wroe

Jaime is currently really busy launching her PhD studies into the fathering experiences of new Dads. Jaime is trying to find out more about how the needs of new Fathers. 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. You can read more about Jaime’s Honours research on “Understanding ‘Normal’ Negative Thinking Patterns and Themes among New Fathers” by clicking the link

Master of Clinical Psychology

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 in 2014 looking at foster carer stress and organisational support and training. You can read more about her research here.


Mr. Michael Sparks

Ms. Holly Rice

Ms. Helen Armstrong

I grew up in Newcastle, but after finishing high school, moved to India and then Tasmania. I then studied a Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Sydney, completing my honours in 2014 in the area of cognitive psychology under the supervision of professor Sally Andrews. However, having always wanted to become a clinical psychologist, I began my Masters of Clinical Psychology at the University of Newcastle in 2015. My current masters thesis project involves investigating development in infants of mothers who were treated with a novel asthma intervention during pregnancy versus those who received treatment as usual. This project falls under the larger “Breathing for Life: Infant Development” study and is supervised by Dr Linda Campbell and Associate Professor Frini Karayanidis.

Ms. Eliza Davis


 Fourth year Psychology Honours students

Ms. Kristy Rudd

Kristy is currently completing the fourth year of her B.Psych(Hons) degree under the supervision of Dr Linda Campbell. As part of her Honours research, she is looking at fathers in their role of parenting a child with a genetic neurodevelopmental disability. The study will be looking at the role of coping, and in particular the need for and access to, social support, and the effects coping and support have on the fathers well-being and stress. It is hoped this study will provide clarity into the relationship between coping and well-being. In particular, emphasis will be placed on social support in the hope services and support can be better developed to meet the needs of these fathers

Ms. Carly Mallise

Carly is currently completing her fourth year of study towards a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). As part of the research component, she is looking at parenting stress and infant temperament under the supervision of Dr Linda Campbell. The research aims to discover whether asthma treatment during pregnancy is related to maternal parenting stress and infant temperament. Additionally, it aims to look at the relationship between parenting stress and infant temperament. There is currently a paucity of research on how maternal asthma is related to parenting stress and infant temperament. It is hoped that this research will shed light onto what is possibly another detrimental outcome of asthma during pregnancy: The findings could then be used in prevention and intervention.

Ms. Michele Coggins

Ms. Linda Swaab

Linda Swaab is currently completing the forth year of her Psychology degree. As part of her BPsych (Hons) year she is conducting a study investigating the parental experience of having a child (aged 16 – 25) with autism spectrum disorder who is also perceived to be aggressive. Although it is understood that this is a challenging phenomenon, this research is interested in both the positive and negative effects of raising a child with these challenges. It is hoped that this research will lead to a better understanding of the lived experience of these parents and will inform relevant stakeholders in their endeavors to improve targeted support services.

Volunteer Research Assistants

Shally Alam

Shally is currently completing the fourth year of her B.Psych (Hons) degree.  She has joined our research team as a volunteer research assistant.  Shally is interested in learning more about how the siblings (both adult and children) of individuals with neurodevelopmental (in particular 22q11.2 deletion syndrome) disorders feel and what their experiences are.  Specifically, she is interested in studying psychological outcomes (both positive and negative) and coping mechanisms of such siblings.