Honours Supervisors » Psychology Honours Supervisors

This page is currently under review to be updated, projects may not be current. Please refer to the Potential Research Projects for 2022 (Honours, Masters, PhD)   document for 2022 additonal projects.

Group/Lab Name Name Research Area/ Thesis topics Contact details Status
Behavioural Neuroscience Dr Kelly Clemens

The role of epigenetic modifications in the development and persistence of drug addiction. Drugs of abuse lead to histone and DNA modifications that regulate the expression of genes critical for reward-related behaviour, and the formation and persistence of drug memories. Advanced molecular and sequencing techniques are paired with sophisticated behavioural paradigms to demonstrate the functional consequences of epigenetic modifications on the acquisition, maintenance and relapse to drug-seeking.  

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 909

P: 9385 3523

Current. October 2021
Behavioural Neuroscience Prof Simon Killcross
Research areas: Examination of the role of dopamine in animal models of drug addiction; control of behavioural flexibility by the prefrontal cortex
Techniques: Central and systemic administration of neurochemical agents; psychopharmacology; behavioural assessment; animal models of human mental disorders

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 1609

P: 9385 3034

Behavioural Neuroscience Prof Gavan McNally Neural circuit analyses of fear and reward learning, using optogenetics, chemogenetics, and fibre photometry in normal and transgenic rats using standard and intersectional viral vector approaches.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 504

P: 9385 3044

Behavioural Neuroscience Prof Rick Richardson An examination of whether behavioural expression of conditioned fear in rats is appropriate to their age at training or their age at testing, Extinction of learned fear, Infantile amnesia, Contextual conditioning.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 511

P: 9385 1048

Behavioural Neuroscience Dr Vincent Laurent

My laboratory employs sophisticated behaviour models and modern genetic tools to uncover how the brain implements motivated behaviours and adaptive decision-making. Two projects are currently available. The first examines the neural circuitry mediating fear regulation. The second project explores the cellular, molecular and neural interactions mediating the influence of environmental stimuli on choice between actions. 

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 406

P: 9385 1836

Updated October 2021.
Behavioural Neuroscience Dr Zhi Yi Ong Research Area: Understanding the neural circuits and their interaction with gut signals that control feeding behaviours using a combination of genetic tools, pharmacology, behavioural tasks and histology in rodent models.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 509

P: 9385 5480

Current. October 2021
Behavioural Neuroscience

Scientia Professor Bernard Balleine

Australian Laureate Fellow
NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow

My current research projects examine the psychological and neural bases of learning and motivation particularly relating goal-directed action, reward learning, predictive learning and decision making. We use animal and human subjects, and numerous cutting edge techniques to image and manipulate brain processes. For more information, see my research profile:

School of Psychology 

Decision Neuroscience Lab

Mathews Level 4

Email: Scientia Professor Bernard Balleine


Behavioural Neuroscience

Dr Nathan Holmes

ARC Future Fellow

I use animal models to study the behavioural and neurobiological substrates of attention, learning and memory. I am interested in the factors which regulate these processes in a normal brain, cause disturbances to these processes in a diseased brain, and the implications of these disturbances for disorders like post-traumatic stress (PTSD). In one line of inquiry, I study how basic information is processed in the brain, and how motivational states (like fear) change the way that information is processed. In a second line of inquiry, I study how the brain deals with contrasting information, and the role of context in processing this information. You can find more information about my publications here

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 909

Email: Dr Nathan Holmes

Phone: (02) 9385 3523

Fax: (02) 9385 3641


Current. October 2021
Behavioural Neuroscience

Dr. Justine Fam

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow

My research is in behavioural neuroscience and my projects investigate the brain circuitry that support learning and memory. To do this, I use animal models in a wide range of experimental protocols. Some projects assess the involvement of specific neurotransmitters in processing environmental cues and how that may interact with fear and/or reward learning. Other projects aim to identify how a poor diet can affect learning and motivation. For more information, please see:

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 709

Email: Dr. Justine Fam


Behavioural Neuroscience

A/Prof Justine Gatt


Identifying the psychological, cognitive and neuroscience markers of mental wellbeing and resilience in twins

Neuroscience Research Australia, and School of Psychology, UNSW



Current. Updated October 2021.
Cognitive Neuroscience/ PsychEngineering Professor Joel Pearson The lab studies many different exciting and cutting-edge topics from new methods to map the human brain, to how we make decisions and how imagination works. Current projects include, mental imagery, human intuition and decision making, visual hallucinations and visual memory. We use all human methods (inc. fMRI, TMS, tDCS etc.)

School of Psychology

Mathews level 16 Future Minds Lab. 

P: 9385 3969


Decision Neuroscience Lab

School of Psychology

Dr Jay Bertran-Gonzalez &

Dr Miriam Matamales


1. Characterising learning-related signals in new genetically-encoded activity reporters in mice in vivo Dr Jay Bertran-Gonzalez & Dr Miriam Matamales

2. Neuronal circuits during action learning and automatisation in behaving mice
Dr Miriam Matamales & Dr Jay Bertran-Gonzalez

Our goal is to understand how learning is encoded in brain circuits, and how new behaviours that did not exist before imprint in neuronal circuits when they are generated, matured and adapted upon changes in environmental rules.

We combine behavioural procedures in mice drawn from the associative learning literature with the use of modern microscopy and transgenic technology for the recording, tracing and manipulation of specific circuits in the brain.

School of Psychology



Current. October 2021
Forensic Psychology

Professor Richard Kemp

Professor & Director of Master of Psychology (Forensic) Program

I am interested in topics relating to forensic and legal psychology applied cognitive psychology, applied perception, face identification and identity verification, eyewitness memory and evidence, forensic science evidence, and jury deliberation in complex trials. Richard Kemp and Ben Newell would also be interested in jointly supervising a project on rip spotting – What is the best way to train people to spot rips at the beach? See my Google Scholar profile for a full list of publications (


School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 1005

Email: Professor Richard Kemp

Phone: (02) 9385 1401

Current. October 2021
Molecular Neuroscience Dr Asheeta Prasad

Parkinson’s patients suffer from motor and beyond motor disorders. Using optogenetics technology, this project aims to provide better understanding and treatments for Parkinson’s Disease. 

Drug addiction is a chronically relapsing and complex disorder. This project applies a combination behavioral, pharmacological and molecular biology tools to identify the neural circuitry underlying drug addiction.

School of Psychology
Mathews, Room 508
P: 9385 6552
Motivation, Attention and Perception Lab Dr Steven Most

Cognition, perception, and emotion, with strong links to social psychology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience. The relationships between motivation, emotion, and attentional control, as well as how each of these factors influences basic cognitive processes such as perception and memory. The consequences of these interactions for psychological and physical health.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 705

P: 9385 3827

Nutritional Neuroscience A/Prof Denovan Begg

Our research projects utilise a range of molecular neuroscience techniques, including optogenetics, chemogenetics and fibre photometry to examine the neuronal basis of motivated behaviours such as food and fluid intake.

Potential thesis topics include-

1. Neural circuits that regulate feeding following bariatric surgery

2. The circumventricular organs and hypothalamic projections regulating thirst

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 708

P: 9385 2441

Current. October 2021

NeuroRecovery Research Hub

Dr Yann Quidé 

A/Prof Sylvia Gustin

The Neuroimaging, Neurobiology and Mental Health program aims to identify biomarkers for pain, and associated mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. In particular, the program aims to determine what is the relationship existing between chronic pain mental health problems on brain morphology and/or function.

Techniques: structural, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), MR spectroscopy

Keywords: pain; imaging; mental health; connectivity

School of Psychology

Biomedical Sciences (Biolink) Building, Level 1


P: 02 9065 1883

Current March 2022

Psychopathology/ Cognitive Neuroscience

A/Prof Jessica Grisham Cognitive and affective consequences of emotion regulation strategies, Thought suppression, memory, and formation of obsessions and compulsions, Cognitive bias modification in obsessive compulsive disorder.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 801

P: 9385 3031

Psychophysiology Dr Jacqueline Rushby

Physiological responses accompanying different emotional reactions, Which autonomic indices index emotion specific arousal, The neural correlates underlying arousal, When and where emotion specific indices of arousal occur in the brain? The projects will utilise both central measures of brain function (e.g., EEG and ERPs), and peripheral measures of autonomic function (e.g., SCR, HR).

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 711

P: 9385 3591

Social and Affective Neuroscience Prof Eddie Harmon-Jones The lab uses electroencephalography, event-related potentials, and transcranial direct current stimulation, along with behavioural methods, to study humans emotions.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 1105

P: 9385 3520

Current. October 2021

Dr Erin Goddard

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow

Project: Neural mechanisms of visual perception

Poster link

My research aims to understand the workings of human visual system and its interaction with related brain systems (e.g., the influences of task, attention, memory on visual processes). I use behavioural methods (psychophysics) as well as neuroimaging (fMRI and MEG). You can find further information on my work here:

School of Psychology

Mathews Building, Room 1015


Current. October 2021


Prof Branka Spehar

The primary research focus of my laboratory is vision: how is visual processing different in autism and schizophrenia; why we perceive some visual patterns as beautiful; and how fragmented local information is perceptually integrated into a more global percept,. I am interested in the neural mechanisms underlying these processes (fMRI, EEG) as well as how they develop in infants and children.

School of Psychology

Mathews, Room 715

P: 9385 1463