Trauma Anxiety and Stress (TAS) Lab

Research Overview

Our research examines the mechanisms underlying the development and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Anxiety Disorders, predictors of response to exposure therapy for anxiety disorders, and the impact of stress and trauma on brain and emotional functioning. Specific research questions include examining the impact of stress and sex hormones, sleep and cognitive processes on emotional memory consolidation (intrusive memories), fear extinction, and treatment response in individuals with anxiety disorders and PTSD.  The aim of this research is to lead to the development of more targeted and effective treatments for PTSD and anxiety disorders.

Current Projects:

  1. The Impact of Exercise on Fear Extinction Learning and memory consolidation
  2. The Effect of Stress and Sex Hormones on Fear Conditioning, Extinction and Reinstatement
  3. The Effect of Stress and Sex Hormones on Emotional Memory Consolidation
  4. Predictors and Mediators of Exposure Therapy Response for Anxiety Disorders
  5. Memory contextualization, intrusive memories and PTSD
  6. The Impact of Acute Stress on Attentional Bias towards Threat
  7. Neurobiology of Trauma and PTSD
  8. TDCS and fear extinction
  9. Type and timing of trauma and Event Related potentials
  10. Adjustment and mental health in refugees
  11. Hair cortisol as a predictor of psychopathology following trauma

Staff

Professor Kim Felmingham (Director, Chair of Clinical Psychology Program)

Sevil Ince, Lab manager/Researcher

Katherine Chisholm, Trial Manager

Winnie Lau, Trial Manager

Trevor Steward, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kim Murray, Trial Clinician

Andrea Putica, Trial Clinician

Roos Dekker, Research Assistant

Luke Ney, Research Assistant

Claudia Payne, Research Assistant

Hannah Tissot-Jones, Research Assistant

Sarina Cook, Research Assistant

PhD Candidates:

Chris Winkler - Topic: The Role of Expectancy Violation in Fear Extinction and Exposure Therapy for Social Anxiety

Emma NicholsonTopic: The Impact of BDNF Genotype on Memory Function in PTSD

Ken Chia Ming Hsu (Visiting Student) - Topic: The Impact of Stress Hormones and Sex Hormones on Emotional Memory Consolidation in PTSD

Lisa N. Miller - Topic: Timing of Trauma Exposure versus Trauma Load: Impact on Event Related Potentials 

Sarina Cook - Topic: Bivalent Fear of Evaluation in Social Anxiety Disorder

Isabel Zwaan - Topic:  Sex Differences, Hormones and Brain Activation During Fear Extinction Recall in Adolescents

Maya Schencker - Topic: The effect of Suvorexant on REM sleep and fear extinction

Andrea Putica - Topic: The Effect of Alexthymia on Treatment Response for PTSD

Masters Students:

Nadine Rudkin - Topic: Examining Staff Perceptions on Assessing for Family Violence in a Hospital Setting

Sweeney O’Heare - Topic: Impact of REM and Non-REM sleep on Fear Extinction

Tim Reynolds - Topic: Impact of REM and Non-REM sleep on Emotional Memory

Stephanie CochraneTopic: Exploring dynamics between female clinicians and male perpetrators of interpersonal violence

Sarah-Jane DempseyTopic:  Hallucinations, inner speech and early psychosis

Honours Students:

Mark DonatoTopic: Hair Cortisol as a predictor of pathology post-trauma

Jin-Won SonTopic: Sex Differences in Cognition in Bipolar Disorder

Collaborators

Phoenix Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, University of Adelaide

Funding

NHMRC Project Grant (2019-2022).  Felmingham, K., Forbes, D., Rosenbaum, S., Rothbaum, B.O., Casey, B.J. Improving outcomes from exposure therapy for PTSD with acute exercise:  Augmenting Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor as a mechanism of change.  $822, 284, APP1165096, $822,284 (2019-2023).

NHMRC Program Grant (2015-2020).  Translating Science into Better Posttraumatic Mental Health. (Bryant R, Silove D, McFarlane AC, Malhi G., Felmingham K., Creamer, M.).

Research Publications

    1. Nickerson, A., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Edwards, B., O’Donnell, M., Creamer, M., Felmingham, K.L., Forbes, D., McFarlane, A.C., Silove, D., Steele, Z., Van Hoof, M., Bryant, R.A. (2019).  Identifying distinctive psychological symptom profiles amongst a nationally representative sample of refugees resettled in Australia.  Aust New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, in press.
    2. Laird, S., Ney, L.J., Felmingham, K.L., Gogos, A. (2019).  Hormonal contraception and the brain:  Examining cognition and psychiatric disorders.  Current Psychiatry Reviews, in press.
    3. Ney, L., Matthews, A, Bruno, R., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Cannabanoid interventions for PTSD:  Where to next?  Prog Neuropsychopharm Biol Psychiatry, in press.
    4. Vicario, C.M., Craparo, G., Felmingham, K.L., Caruso, V. (2019).  Time is overestimated in obesity:  A cohort study.  Journal of Health Psychology, in press.
    5. Ney, L.J., Matthews, A., Bruno, R., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Commentary on “Sex differences in the effect of cannabinoid type 1 receptor deletion on locus-coerulus norepinephrine neurons and corticotropin releasing factor-mediated responses.” European Journal of Neuroscience, in press.
    6. Liddell, B.J., Nickerson, A., Felmingham, K.L., Malhi, G.S., Cheung, J., Den, M., Askovic, M., Aroche, J., Bryant, R.A. (2019).  Complex post-traumatic stress disorder in traumatized refugees.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, in press.
    7. Gogos, A., Ney, L.J., Seymour, N., Van Rheenen, T., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Sex differences in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder:  Are gonadal hormones the link?  Br J Pharmacol., in press.
    8. Vicario, C.M., Felmingham, K.L., Martino, G., Salehine, A., Nitschke, M. (2019).  A systematic review on the therapeutic effectiveness of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Neuroscience Biobehav. Review, 96,219-231.
    9. Liddell, B.J.., Cheung, J., Outhred, T., Das, P., Malhi, G., Felmingham, K.L., Nickerson, A., Den, M., Askovic, A., Coello, M., Aroche, J., Bryant, R.A. (2019). Neural Correlates of PTSD Symptoms, Trauma Exposure and Ongoing Post-Migration Stress in Response to Fear Faces in Resettled Refugees. Clinical Psychological Science, accepted 19 Nov 2018.
    10. Hsu, K., Kleim, B., Nicholson, E., Zuj, D.V., Cushing, P., Gray, K., Clarke, L., Felmingham, K.L. (2018) Sex differences in intrusive memories following trauma. Plos One, 13(12), e0708575.
    11. Ney, L.J., Wade, M., Reynolds, A., Zuj, D.V., Dymond, S., Matthews, A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Critical evaluation of current data analysis strategies for psychophysiological measures of fear conditioning and extinction in humans.  International Journal of Psychophysiology, 134,95-107.
    12. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Greater sleep disturbances and longer onset sleep latency increase fear reinstatement in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 110, 1-9.
    13. Nickerson, A., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Edwards, B., O’Donnell, M., Creamer, M., Felmingham, K.L., Forbes, D., McFarlane, A.C., Silove, D., Steele, Z., Van Hoof, M., Bryant, R.A. (2019).  Identifying distinctive psychological symptom profiles amongst a nationally representative sample of refugees resettled in Australia.  Aust New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, in press.
    14. Laird, S., Ney, L.J., Felmingham, K.L., Gogos, A. (2019).  Hormonal contraception and the brain:  Examining cognition and psychiatric disorders.  Current Psychiatry Reviews, in press.
    15. Ney, L., Matthews, A, Bruno, R., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Cannabanoid interventions for PTSD:  Where to next?  Prog Neuropsychopharm Biol Psychiatry, in press.
    16. Vicario, C.M., Craparo, G., Felmingham, K.L., Caruso, V. (2019).  Time is overestimated in obesity:  A cohort study.  Journal of Health Psychology, in press.
    17. Ney, L.J., Matthews, A., Bruno, R., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Commentary on “Sex differences in the effect of cannabinoid type 1 receptor deletion on locus-coerulus norepinephrine neurons and corticotropin releasing factor-mediated responses.” European Journal of Neuroscience, in press.
    18. Liddell, B.J., Nickerson, A., Felmingham, K.L., Malhi, G.S., Cheung, J., Den, M., Askovic, M., Aroche, J., Bryant, R.A. (2019).  Complex post-traumatic stress disorder in traumatized refugees.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, in press.
    19. Gogos, A., Ney, L.J., Seymour, N., Van Rheenen, T., Felmingham, K.L. (2019).  Sex differences in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder:  Are gonadal hormones the link?  Br J Pharmacol., in press.
    20. Vicario, C.M., Felmingham, K.L., Martino, G., Salehine, A., Nitschke, M. (2019).  A systematic review on the therapeutic effectiveness of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Neuroscience Biobehav. Review, 96,219-231.
    21. Liddell, B.J.., Cheung, J., Outhred, T., Das, P., Malhi, G., Felmingham, K.L., Nickerson, A., Den, M., Askovic, A., Coello, M., Aroche, J., Bryant, R.A. (2019). Neural Correlates of PTSD Symptoms, Trauma Exposure and Ongoing Post-Migration Stress in Response to Fear Faces in Resettled Refugees. Clinical Psychological Science, accepted 19 Nov 2018.
    22. Hsu, K., Kleim, B., Nicholson, E., Zuj, D.V., Cushing, P., Gray, K., Clarke, L., Felmingham, K.L. (2018) Sex differences in intrusive memories following trauma. Plos One, 13(12), e0708575.
    23. Ney, L.J., Wade, M., Reynolds, A., Zuj, D.V., Dymond, S., Matthews, A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Critical evaluation of current data analysis strategies for psychophysiological measures of fear conditioning and extinction in humans.  International Journal of Psychophysiology, 134,95-107.
    24. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Greater sleep disturbances and longer onset sleep latency increase fear reinstatement in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 110, 1-9.
    25. Nickerson A., Liddell, B.J., Keegan, D., Edwards, B., Felmingham, K.L., Forbes, D., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., McFarlane, A.C., O’Donnell, M., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Van Hoof, M., Bryant, R.A. (2018). Longitudinal association between trust, psychological symptoms and community engagement in resettled refugees.Psychological Medicine, in press.
    26. Lau, W., Silove, D., Edwards, B., Forbes, D., Bryant, R.A., Hazdi-Pavlovic, D., Steel, Z., Nickerson, A., Van Hoof, M., Felmingham, K.L., Cowlishaw, S., Alkhemade, N., Kartal, D., O’Donnell, M. (2018). Adjustment of refugee children and adolescents in Australia:  Outcomes from wave three of the Building a New Life in Australia study. BMC Medicine, in press.
    27. Ney, L., Matthews, A., Bruno, R., Felmingham, K.L. (2018). Modulation of the endocannabinoid system by sex hormones:  Implications for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Neuroscience Biobehav Rev, in press..
    28. Forbes, D., Nickerson, A., Bryant, R.A., Creamer, M., Silove, D., McFarlane, A.C., Van Hooff, M., Phelps, A., Felmingham, K.L., Malhi, G.S., Steel, Z., Fredrickson, J., Alkhemade, N., O’Donnell, M. (2018). The impact of post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology on quality of life: The sentinel experience of anger, hypervigilance and restricted affect.  Aust New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, in press.
    29. Vicario, C.M., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  The perception of time is underestimated in adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa.  Frontiers in Psychiatry, in press.
    30. Wootton, B., Hunn, A., Moody, A., Lusk, B.R., Ranson, V., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Accelerated outpatient individual cognitive-behavioural therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder:  A pilot study demonstrating a novel approach to treatment. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, in press.
    31. Bryant, R.A., Edwards, B., Creamer, M., O’Donnell, M.L., Forbes, D., Felmingham, K.L., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Nickerson, A., Macfarlane, A.C., Van Hoof, M., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D. (2018).  A population-based study of the impact of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder on refugee’s parenting and their children’s mental health. JAMA Public Health, in press.
    32. Felmingham, K.L., Zuj, D.V., Hsu, C.M.K., Nicholson, E., Palmer, M.A., Stuart, K., Vickers, J.,C., Malhi, G.S., Bryant, R.A. (2018). BDNF Val66Met genotype moderates the relationship between PTSD symptom severity and fear extinction learning.  Psychoneuroendocrinology, 91, 142-148.
    33. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018) Endogenous salivary alpha amylase does not moderate the relationship between PTSD symptom severity and fear extinction learning.  Psychiatry Research, 262,316-322.
    34. Vicario, C.M., Felmingham K.L. (2018). Time estimation is slower in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Scientific Reports, 8(1), 392.
    35. Battaglini, E., Liddell, B.J., Das, P., Malhi, G., Felmingham, K.L., Bryant, R.A. (2018).  An investigation of potential neural correlates of intrusive retrieval of distressing memories. J Behav Ther and Exp Psychiatry, 58,60-67.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects



Faculty Research Themes

School Research Themes

Cognitive Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Director Professor Kim Felmingham

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

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