Trauma Anxiety and Stress (TAS) Lab

Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Professor Kim Felmingham 03 8344 1523 View page

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


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

PhD Candidates:

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

Julia CaruanaTopic: The Role of Anger in Military 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 

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

Masters Students:

Anthony CouroupisTopic: Attentional ERPs in First Episode Psychosis

James SearlesTopic: Hair Cortisol as a predictor of Risk for Psychopathology After Trauma Exposure

Jesse Jasper - Topic: Memory Contextualization and Intrusive Memories in PTSD

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

Honours Students:

Andy Symons - Topic: Cortisol level and Memory Contextualization

Stephanie Laird - Topic: The Impact of Oral Contraceptives on Cognition

Research Assistants:

Julia Caruana

Luke Ney


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


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. 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, in press.
  2. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Endogenous salivary alpha-amylase does not interact with skin conductance response during fear extinction in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Psychiatry Research, in press.
  3. Vicario, C.M., Felmingham, K.L. (2018).  Slower time-estimation in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Scientific Reports, 8(1), 392.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. (2017). 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.
  6. O’Donnell, M., Schaefer, I., Varker, T., Kartal, D., Forbes, D., Bryant, R.A., Silove, D., Creamer, M., McFarlane, A.C., Malhi, G., Felmingham, K.L., Van Hoof, M., Hadzi-Pavolovic, D., Nickerson, A., Steele, Z. (2017). A systematic review of person-centred approaches to investigating patterns of trauma exposure.  Clin Psych Rev, 57,208-225.
  7. Liddell, B.J., Felmingham, K.L., Das, P., Whitford, T.J., Malhi, G., Battaglini, E., Bryant, R.A. (2017).  Self-construal differences in neural responses to negative social cues.  Biological Psychology, 129, 62-72.
  8. Zuj, D.V., Felmingham, K.L., Palmer, M.A., Lawrence_Wood, E., Van Hoof, M., Lawrence, A., Bryant, R.A., McFarlane, A.C. (2017).  Neural activity and emotional processing following military deployment:  Effect of mild traumatic brain injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Brain and Cognition, 118, 19-26.
  9. Bryant, R.A., Creamer, M., O’Donnell, M., Forbes, D., Felmingham, K.L., Silove, D., Malhi, G., Van Hoof, M., McFarlane, A., Nickerson, A. (2017).  Separation from parents during childhood trauma predicts adult attachment security and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-8.
  10. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Gray, K.E., Hsu, C.M.K., Nicholson, E.L., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  Negative appraisals of fear extinction are independently related to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.  J Affective Disorders, 217, 246-51.
  11. Imlach, A.R., Ward, D.D., Summers, M.J., Vickers, J., Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  Serotonin transporter genotype interacts with gender to influence visual memory function in ageing.  Translational Psychiatry, 71(6), e1144.
  12. Silove, D., Baker, J., Mohsin, M., Teeson, M., Creamer, M., Forbes, D., Carragher, N., Slade, T., Felmingham, K.L., Bryant, R.A., McFarlane, A.C., Steel, Z., Rees, S. (2017).  The contribution of gender-based violence and network trauma to gender differences in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Plos One, 12(2), e0171879.
  13. Vicario, C., Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  Forgetting fear associations through TES:  Which memory process might be  critical?  Translational Psychiatry, in press.
  14. Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  The neurobiology of trauma:  recent advances and clinical implications.  Australian Clinical Psychologist, 3,1.
  15. Lusk, B.L., Carr, A.R., Ranson, V., Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  Women in the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle have difficulty suppressing the processing of negative emotional stimuli:  An event-related potential study.  Cog Affect Behav Neurosci, in press.
  16. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Malhi, G., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L. (2017).  Cortisol reactivity shapes the role of fear extinction to safety signals in Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms.  Psychoneuroendocrinology, 78,14-21.
  17. Nickerson, A., Creamer, M., Forbes, D., McFarlane, A.C., O’Donnell, M.L., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Felmingham, K.L., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Bryant, R.A. (2017).  The longitudinal relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and perceived social support.  Psychological Medicine, 47(11), 115-126.
  18. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Hsu, K.C.M., Nicholson, E.L., Cushing, P., Gray, K.E., & Felmingham, K.L., (2016). Impaired fear extinction associated with PTSD increases with hours-since-waking. Depression & Anxiety, 33(3), 203-210.  
  19. O’Donnell, M., Alkemade, N., Creamer, M., McFarlane, A.C., Silove, D., Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L., Steel, Z., Forbes, D. (2016).  A longitudinal study of adjustment disorder after trauma exposure.  Am J Psychiatry, in press.
  20. Zuj, D.V., Palmer, M.A., Lommen, M., Felmingham, K.L. (2016).  The centrality of fear extinction memory in linking Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to markers of risk:  A narrative review.  Neuroscience Biobehav Reviews, 69, 15-35.
  21. Bryant, R.A., Felmingham, K.L., Liddell B.L., Das, P., Malhi, G. (2016).  Impact of FKBP5 on functional connectivity in resting state networks. Translational Psychiatry, 6(10), e925.

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 Professor Kim Felmingham

Department / Centre

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Unit / Centre

Trauma Anxiety and Stress (TAS) Lab