The Centre for Human Psychopharmacology has strong links with research institutes and industry sponsors, both nationally and internationally. We’re the largest research group examining the use of natural products for cognition enhancement.

Our research is funded through national competitive grants, industry funds (ranging from SMEs to Global 500 companies), charitable foundations and industry-based advisory activities. Over the past few years, we have attracted more than $15 million in funding to help us continue our research while supporting and developing the next generation of researchers.

We focus on translating academic and clinical excellence into evidence-based treatments for cognitive health through nine key areas of research.

Our research programs

Our research methodologies

We measure and assess neurocognitive function and related biomarkers using a range of innovative research methodologies. 

We conduct paper-based and computerised neurocognitive assessments using the following:

  • Computerised Mental Performance Assessment (COMPASS) battery, developed to capture the effects of nutritional interventions on cognitive performance.
  • CogTrack System, an internet platform of cognitive function tests that over the last 35 years has proven to be the most sensitive and repeatedly used system in worldwide clinical trials.
  • Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB), validated by 30 years of global neuroscience research and published in over 2,200 peer-reviewed papers. It includes highly sensitive, precise and objective measures of cognitive function, correlated to neural networks.
  • Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) battery, used in over 1,000 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 that reverse cognitive ageing.
  • Purple multi-tasking platform designed to measure cognitive performance and mood under mild laboratory workload stress.
  • We develop tailored cognitive instruments for specific research questions.
  • We also work closely with Swinburne Neuroimaging.

We use a range of validated psychological instruments to measure fluctuations in mood, well-being, sleep and general health, as well as how these outcomes change in response to nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and lifestyle interventions.

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

Swinburne Neuroimaging is a major cognitive neuroscience centre that offers a range of equipment to study cognition, development, decision-making and brain dynamics, such as:

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

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

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

Swinburne has clinical trial facilities at our Sarawak campus in Malaysia. This valuable linkage allows us to conduct single and dual-centre clinical trials to examine the effects of nutraceutical and other interventions on neurocognitive performance across different populations and genetic profiles.

Interested in participating in a clinical trial?

We’re always looking for participants for the clinical trials we run for some of the world’s leading nutraceutical and pharmaceutical companies. You can help with our research into interventions for brain health or understanding the effects of drugs and alcohol.

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Interested in studying a postgraduate degree with us?

Our team teaches several units that have a neuroscience or psychophysiology component. We offer supervision to research students at postgraduate (Honours, Master and PhD) levels in the fields of psychology, psychophysiology and health sciences.

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Explore more of our centre

Contact the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology

There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions. Call us on +61 3 9214 4444 or email

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