Centre for Human Psychopharmacology

Research methodologies

The Centre for Human Psychopharmacology measures and assesses neurocognitive function and related biomarkers using a range of innovative research methodologies.

Neurocognitive testing

We conduct paper-based and computerised neurocognitive assessments using:

  • Computerised Mental Performance Assessment (COMPASS) battery, developed to capture the effects of nutritional interventions on cognitive performance
  • Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) battery used in over 1000 clinical trials, including those assessing effects of food ingredients and supplements
  • Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) battery used in over 1000 clinical trials, including those assessing effects of food ingredients and supplements
  • Swinburne University Computerised Cognitive Assessment Battery (SUCCAB), designed to be sensitive to the cognitive effects of ageing and interventions which reverse cognitive ageing.

Psychiatric, Stress and mood assessments

We monitor a range of mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, anxiety and mood disorders and their response to specific nutraceutical and pharmaceutical interventions.

We also examine the imact of stress and mood on cognition using standardised self-report measures, laboratory stressors and biomarkers such as Autonomic Nervous System activity and cortisol.

Neuroimaging

Swinburne's neuroimaging facility is a major cognitive neuroscience centre encompassing a range of equipment to study cognition, development, decision-making and brain dynamics using:

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS).

Cognition-relevant biomarkers

We study the biomarkers and their relationship to cognitive performance such as:

  • cardiovascular function
  • doppler ultrasound
  • flow-mediated dilatation (FMD)
  • arterial compliance
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress.

Clinical trials at Sarawak, Malaysia

The centre also collaborates in research with colleagues at Swinburne's Sarawak campus in Malaysia.

This valuable linkage allows us to conduct single and dual-centre clinical trials. These studies allow us to examine the effects of nutraceutical and other interventions on neurocognitive performance across different populations and genetic profiles.