The Science

I have loved science my whole life.  I passionately believe that science, well conducted, can change the world.  For me, it is a great privilege and delight to have a scientific career.  

I am a research fellow at the University of Queensland.  I am involved in research projects across three key interests:

  • Parenting including parenting intervention, parental adjustment, the transition to parenting, parent-infant sleep and postnatal care
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and infants at risk of neurodevelopmental disability, including due to prematurity
  • Contextual behavioural science and contextual cognitive behavioural therapy including acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness and compassion

Many of the research projects that I’m involved in occur at the crossroads of these research interests.  The nexus of my research program is the application of contextual behavioural science, particularly acceptance and commitment therapy, to parenting and the parent-child relationship, and levering the parent-child relationship in order to optimise child development especially for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.  I love working in interdisciplinary research teams, reimagining complex issues from first principles, and discovering innovative clinical solutions. 

In my role at the University of Queensland, I supervise research higher degree students and I am involved as an investigator in diverse research projects within my areas of interest. This includes developing and trialing an online parenting course grounded in ACT, integrating ACT into rehabilitation programs and postnatal care, developing and testing an innovative approach to parent-infant sleep integrating ACT with psychoeducation on the biology of sleep, and investigating the role of compassion in adaption to motherhood. 

To date, I have over 50 publications in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  This includes four completed randomised controlled trials of parenting intervention with families of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities or at risk of neurodevelopmental disabilities due to prematurity and two completed randomised controlled trials applying acceptance and commitment therapy to parenting.  I am the lead author of the first randomised controlled trial to test the additive benefits of acceptance and commitment therapy above and beyond established parenting intervention. In 2010, I obtained the Early Career Research Award at the International Helping Families Change Conference and in 2014, I received the Award for the best paper for effective intervention for people living with Cerebral Palsy at the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.  You can view my Google Scholar profile here.

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