Research Group


The Neuroscience Research Group in the School of Psychology in recent years has invested heavily in the development of both imaging and other facilities for assessment of human brain function as well as specialised animal behaviour. It is now well positioned to address key research questions in understanding brain function and sensory systems.

Research conducted by the Neuroscience Group falls into four core areas: 

  1. Sensory systems incorporating development, plasticity and their evolution
  2. Cognitive and affective Neuroscience, aimed at understanding the neural bases of high-level cognitive functions such as attention, memory, language processes, planning and decision-making as well as of emotion-related functions
  3. Neuroimmunology, where researchers are looking at how neural by-products can influence peripheral immune suppression and what consequences this has for neural function
  4. Developmental Neuroscience, including basic experimental studies aimed at contributing to the understanding of mechanisms of normal and abnormal neural development

In addition to conducting basic research, there are a number of applied interests such as understanding the underlying causes of sensory abnormalities, exploring the neural circuits that underpin cognitive deficits in various clinical groups and the impact of early life events such as exposure to bacteria, on lifelong susceptibility to disease.


We have received a wide range of grants and funding including:

  • International Sciences Linkage Program 
  • Australian Research Council
  • NHMRC Project, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Enabling Grants
  • Hunter Medical Research Institute 
  • University of Newcastle Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research 
  • National Institutes of Health 
  • VISDEX Corporation 
  • Australian Academy of Science 
  • Scientific Visits to Europe 
  • Schizophrenia Research Institute

Group members

Professor Peter Walla (Director)
Prof Deb Hodgson
Conjoint A/Prof Mick Hunter
Dr Andrea Griffin
Dr Bill Budd
Dr Frini Karayanidis
Dr Juanita Todd
Tony Kemp
Dr Karen Drysdale
Dr Rebbekah Atkinson
Dr Sally McFadden
Dr Stuart Marlin
Dr Tamo Nakamura
Gavin Cooper
Shalisah Sharip
Dr Linda Campbell