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Professor Luke Downey

Head: Drugs & Driving Research Unit

Biography

Professor Luke Downey  leads the Drugs and Driving Research Unit at Swinburne, managing a team of research assistants, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.

Alongside his research in human psychopharmacology, Dr Downey also examines how individual differences in emotional intelligence contribute to human behaviour. This program of research initially focused on developing reliable and valid measures to assess emotional intelligence in adults and adolescents. These measures can now be used to examine the role of emotional intelligence in predicting outcomes such as scholastic achievement, bullying, stress coping strategies, and recruitment consultant revenue.

In 2015, Dr Downey held a visiting scholar position at Harvard Medical School. He has also completed two years of postdoctoral work at Swansea University with Professor Andy Parrott. Luke held two consecutive fellowships from the NHMRC, an Early Career Fellowship (2013-2016) and a Career Development Fellowship (2017-2020).

Research interests

Neuroscience; Psychopharmacology; Epidemiology; Neuroscience; Psychopharmacology

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

The effect of combining alcohol with wake promoting stimulants upon driving and ocular monitoring systems: Use of Ritalin, Modafinil and Dexedrine has been linked to impulsive behaviour, disorientation and lack of co-ordination; and these effects are considerably amplified when combined with alcohol. The goal of this project is to explore the individual and combined effects of these stimulants, at therapeutic doses, with alcohol on driving performance.

Honours

Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

A Randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of high CBD/Low THC versus placebo on driving performance, sedation and mood.: To assess whether a high CBD/low THC medicinal cannabis oil product causes drivingimpairment using a high fidelity driving simulator. In particular the study will assesswhether this medicinal cannabis product causes changes in the standard deviation ofthe lateral position (SDLP) variable obtained from the driving simulator compared toplacebo.

Randomised controlled trial to determine the effects of shortterm oral cannabidiol (CBD) ingestion on inflammation, muscle damage and functional recovery following downhill running.: To investigate the effects of short-term oral supplementation of CDBprior to and following downhill running on serum markers of inflammation andmuscle damage, functional recovery and perceived muscle soreness inuntrained individuals.

The effect of combining alcohol with wake promoting stimulants upon driving and ocular monitoring systems: Use of Ritalin, Modafinil and Dexedrine has been linked to impulsive behaviour, disorientation and lack of co-ordination; and these effects are considerably amplified when combined with alcohol. The goal of this project is to explore the individual and combined effects of these stimulants, at therapeutic doses, with alcohol on driving performance

Trait and behavioural aggression in stimulant users: This project will examine how trait aggression moderates the impct of stimulant consumption upon tasks assessing behavioural aggression. 

Fields of Research

  • Psychology Not Elsewhere Classified - 170199
  • Biological Psychology (neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology) - 170101
  • Developmental Psychology And Ageing - 170102

Further information

Publications

Also published as: Downey, Luke; Downey, L.; Downey, L. A.; Downey, Luke A.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2020: Building an Integrated Approach to Employee Safety and Wellness *; WorkSafe Victoria
  • 2020: Cannabidiol (CBD) treatment for insomnia: a three-week randomised controlled pilot trial with a placebo run-in period (CBD-INS) *; Cannvalate Pty Ltd
  • 2020: Modelling and full-scale pilot study of absolute zero energy houses in Melbourne *; Black T Smallfootprint
  • 2020: Randomised controlled trial to determine the effects of short-term oral cannabidiol (CBD) ingestion on inflammation, muscle damage and functional recovery following downhill running *; Cannvalate Pty Ltd
  • 2020: Stage 3 of the Swinburne Microbiome Project: the isolation, growth and production of 4 probiotics for memory, anxiety, positive mood and BMI *; Equity Trustees Phyllis Connor Memorial Innovation Program
  • 2019: Cannabidiol (CBD) treatment for insomnia: a three-week randomised controlled pilot trial with a placebo run-in period (CBD-INS) *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2019: Medicinal cannabis clinical trials *; Cannvalate Pty Ltd
  • 2018: Examine the effect of acute and chronic supplementation of Blackmores Micronutrient Formulation versus placebo on memory and mood *; Blackmores
  • 2018: Investigating the safety and efficacy of chronic administration of Cera-Q on memory and cognitive function in healthy adults *; Bio and Gene Fund Scheme
  • 2017: Driving under the influence of psychoactive prescription benzodiazepines and alcohol *; NHMRC Career Development Fellowship
  • 2016: NHMRC 2016 Standard Equipment Grant: Optalert Drowsiness Measurement System (ODMS) *; NHMRC Standard Equipment Grant
  • 2016: To examine the effect upon stress, mood, anxiety and cognitive performance of consuming a daily dose of Ionix Supreme *; Isagenix Worldwide LLC
  • 2015: The effect of two concentrations of hempseed oil on oral drug detection systems and driving performance *; Department of Human Services - Contracts
  • 2014: Biological and psychological health indices of Ecstasy/polydrug users: testing the Bioenergetic Stress Model. *; Emerging Research Priorities Scheme
  • 2014: The relationship between accident culpability and drug presence in blood samples taken from person injured in motor vehicle collisions *; NHMRC Project Grants
  • 2014: Visiting Researcher Scheme 2014 - Prof Andy Parrott *; Visiting Researcher Scheme
  • 2013: Biological and psychological health indices of Ecstasy/polydrug users: testing the Bioenergetic Stress Model *; NHMRC Early Career Fellowship
  • 2013: Investigating Emotional Intelligence at Anglican Church Grammar School *; Anglican Church Grammar School
  • 2011: Amphetamines and Violence in Police Custody Project *; Victoria Police (for Grants)

* Chief Investigator


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