Profile image for Simon Knowles

Simon Knowles

Senior Lecturer


Dr Knowles' clinical and research interests relate to the biological and psychological interactions of gastrointestinal conditions and the Brain-Gut-Axis. His work (around 70 articles/book chapters and 2 edited books) has been published in numerous international journals (e.g., Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, The Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Biological Psychology, Clinical Biochemistry). Due to his extensive experience, Dr Knowles has been an invited speaker at numerous international gastrointestinal-based conferences including Gastro 2015 (Joint conference of the World Gastroenterology Organisation Gastroenterological Society of Australia) and the 15th Asian Pacific Federation of Coloproctology Congress 2015. Dr Knowles is associated research projects that have received over 2.1 million in funding from both international and national competitive funding.

Dr Knowles is also involved in multiple national and international research projects relating to psychological processes associated with chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Dr Knowles is member of the Program Scientific Committee (allocated $1.2 million to evaluate a psychosocial intervention across multiple physical health conditions including diabetes, stroke, and chronic kidney disease) in a collaborative research project involving St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne), and Australian Catholic University. Dr Knowles is a chief investigator for an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Grant (awarded $270,445), with colleagues from St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne); project title: Mindfulness and coping in chronic illness: insights from a study of joint replacement surgery.

Dr Knowles has extensive expertise in developing and evaluating eHealth research and interventions. He is the chief investigator and developer of three internationally renowned free online psychological assessment and treatment services for psychological distress associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD; and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS; and Gastroparesis ( These websites provide up-to-date medical information about the condition, while also providing free evidenced-based tailored psychological treatment/support services. Dr Knowles is currently developing a website to help individuals who experience toilet anxiety -

As an academic, Dr Knowles has an excellent teaching profile. After completing his PhD in 2003, Dr Knowles has been an active lecturer at a number of universities in Australia. He has taught in a range of areas including Psychology, Medicine, and Biotechnology. Dr Knowles has been recognised both within the university (Swinburne University VC award for early career teaching) and externally (UniJobs has identified Dr Knowles as one of the top 3 lecturers at Swinburne University across multiple years). Dr Knowles has taught and convened from the 1st year Introduction to Psychology unit to the final year clinical postgraduate unit, Foundations of Health Psychology. Dr Knowles also supervises students at postgraduate levels (4th year to PhD) for both research and also clinical practice.

Dr Knowles has also held several senior administrative positions at Swinburne University, including mentoring junior and senior staff, Deputy Head of the Psychology Discipline, Facility Research Committee member, Facility Academic Committee member, Psychology Selection Coordinator, Psychology Major Coordinator, Coordinator of B.Soc.Sci, B.Arts, and B.Sci degree programs, Graduate Diploma of Psychology Coordinator, and Swinburne Psychology Clinic Board Member.

Dr Knowles is regularly asked to present at various medical conferences and forums on his clinical and research activities relating to the gastrointestinal tract. Due to his expertise, Dr Knowles has multiple honorary clinical and research positions with St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne), Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Alfred Hospital, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Department of Gastroenterology, Central Clinical School Monash University, and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Melbourne.

He is a member of numerous professional organisations including: Australian Psychological Society (APS), APS Clinical College for psychologists, Functional Brain-Gut Research Group, Gastroenterological Society of Australia, and a Life-member of the Australian Association for Clinical Hypnosis. Dr Knowles also has an active private clinical-health practice that specialises in working with individuals with chronic illnesses of the gastrointestinal system, see

Research interests

Clinical Psychology; health psychology; chronic illness; gastroenterology

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Efficacy of a hypnosis or mindfulness intervention for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): NOTE: Need to be enrolled in either part-time Honours OR Masters.

Psychological aspects of GI conditions :


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Abdominal pain - Clinical and psychological implications:

Efficacy of a hypnosis or mindfulness intervention for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): (NOTE: Need to be enrolled in either part-time Honours OR Masters.)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Adolecents: Its psychosocial impact:  

Living with a Stoma: Psychosocial impact and its mediators:  

Living with Gastroparesis: Its impact on quality of life:  

Mental health help seeking behaviour: Predictors and clinical implications:   

Orthorexia: Exploration of a new disordered eating pattern: Clinical implications:  

Psychological impact of GI conditions (e.g., Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and their mediators:  

Psychosocial impact of Coeliac Disease: (Project involving the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) 

Sex, sexual health, happiness and gastrointestinal wellness:  

Fields of Research

  • Gastroenterology And Hepatology - 110307
  • Health, Clinical And Counselling Psychology - 170106


Also published as: Knowles, Simon; Knowles, S.; Knowles, S. R. ; Knowles, Simon R.; Knowles, Simon Robert
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2015: Online psychoeducation and support service for Adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease transitioning to adult services. *; Telematics Trust Grants
  • 2012: A validation of an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) online support program involving two studies *; Melbourne Health
  • 2012: Mindfulness and coping in chronic illness: insights from a study of joint replacement surgery *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2011: IBDeTherapy: Development and validation of the world's first evidence-based, automated online program for the assesment and treatment of IBD-associated anxiety and depression. *; Broad Medical Research Program Inflammatory Bowel Disease Grants
  • 2010: Assessing the anxiolytic effects of a proprietary magnolia and phosphatidylserine extract: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Canopus BioPharma) *; Canopus BioPharma

* Chief Investigator

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