Psychology and Neuroscience

Malaysian Psychological Association

Malaysian Psychological Association

The Malaysian Psychological Association was established in 1988 to promote the field of psychology in the country. In this exclusive interview, we speak with Associate Professor Dr Rozainee Khairudin, President of the Malaysian Psychological Association, to hear about their critical work in developing psychology, which during the global COVID-19 pandemic, is more important than ever.

Professor Carl Borrebaeck | Dr Ulrika Axelsson – Finding the Molecular Fingerprint of Psychological Resilience in Breast Cancer Patients

Professor Carl Borrebaeck | Dr Ulrika Axelsson – Finding the Molecular Fingerprint of Psychological Resilience in Breast Cancer Patients

Professor Carl Borrebaeck and Dr Ulrika Axelsson are Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the CREATE Health Translational Cancer Centre, Lund University, Sweden; a venue with an outstanding record of world-class cancer research. They are leading research into the fascinating topic of whether cancer patients’ psychological resilience after their cancer diagnosis may be linked to biomolecular processes, suggesting a mind-body link between the ability to cope psychologically and its impact on cancer prognosis.

Dr Colleen Carney – The DOZE App: A Unique Approach to Overcoming Sleep Problems in Young Adults

Dr Colleen Carney – The DOZE App: A Unique Approach to Overcoming Sleep Problems in Young Adults

Poor sleep is a common difficulty issue for teenagers and young adults worldwide. Unfortunately, the impact of poor sleep is substantial with clear links to mental health difficulties. Dr Colleen Carney, an Associate Professor and the Director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University, Canada, is committed to helping people sleep better. Dr Carney has recently turned her expertise to the development of an innovative app to alleviate sleep problems in teenagers and young adults.

Dr Shikha Nangia – The Blood-Brain Barrier: More than Just a Barrier

Dr Shikha Nangia – The Blood-Brain Barrier: More than Just a Barrier

Neurodegenerative disorders present a major cause of death and disability worldwide. Treatments are typically expensive, non-efficient, and invasive. Although scientists are committed to finding better treatment strategies, the challenge of penetrating the blood-brain barrier remains. This highly selective envelope protects our brain from harmful substances but also prevents drugs from reaching the brain when needed. Dr Shikha Nangia at Syracuse University, USA, focuses on understanding the molecular structure of this complex interface to ultimately facilitate the transport of drugs across the blood-brain barrier.

Dr Jun Hua – Innovations in Functional Brain Imaging to Improve Neurosurgery

Dr Jun Hua – Innovations in Functional Brain Imaging to Improve Neurosurgery

Dr Jun Hua, Associate Professor at the F. M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University, USA, leads a team focused on developing novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies for imaging the structure and function of the brain. Recently, they have been pioneering the development of new MRI techniques that can be used to improve pre-surgical planning for neurological patients and optimise patient outcomes.

Dr Jarrad Scarlett – Targeting the Brain in Type 2 Diabetes: Therapeutics to Induce Remission

Dr Jarrad Scarlett – Targeting the Brain in Type 2 Diabetes: Therapeutics to Induce Remission

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is among the most impactful and costly biomedical challenges confronting society. Current treatment regimens for T2D rely upon daily drug dosing and frequent glucose monitoring to normalise blood glucose levels. However, these medications can only delay disease progression and frequently have undesired side effects including hypoglycaemia and weight gain. Growing evidence supports a key role for the brain in glucose homeostasis and diabetes pathogenesis. Dr Jarrad Scarlett and his research team at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital are working on the development of novel pharmaceuticals to target the brain to induce sustained remission of T2D.

Dr Susan Voglmaier – Driving Forward Training and Research in Psychiatry

Dr Susan Voglmaier – Driving Forward Training and Research in Psychiatry

In recent years, dramatic advances have been made in brain science and molecular genetics. However, there is currently a shortage of psychiatrists with the scientific training necessary to take this knowledge and apply it in the clinic. Psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher, Dr Susan Voglmaier of the University of California, San Francisco, runs a research training program that supports the next generation of research scientists in the field of psychiatry. Dr Voglmaier believes that by training doctors in scientific techniques and methods, we may come to better understand mental illness and provide more effective treatments for psychiatric diseases in the future.

Professor Matthias Weigelt – The Psychology and Ethics of Maximising Performance in Competitive Sports

Professor Matthias Weigelt – The Psychology and Ethics of Maximising Performance in Competitive Sports

In sporting performance, developing a competitive edge over opponents is essential. Professor Matthias Weigelt at the University of Paderborn, Germany, specialises in the application of psychological theory and methods to the understanding and enhancement of athletic performance. Read on to discover how by taking a cognitive neuroscientific approach to understanding deceptive actions in sports, Professor Weigelt is unravelling the processes underlying expertise in responding to head fakes in basketball with critical ethical implications.

Professor Gerhard Rammes – Investigating the Links between General Anaesthesia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Professor Gerhard Rammes – Investigating the Links between General Anaesthesia and Alzheimer’s Disease

General anaesthesia may increase the build-up of amyloid beta, a protein implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Gerhard Rammes and his team at the Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany, along with Dr Martina Bürge at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, UK, are researching the potential benefits of one specific anaesthetic, xenon, which in addition to having lower neurotoxicity than many other anaesthetics may also offer neuroprotective effects. These findings may have critical implications for personalised medicine in patients with dementia.

Dr Samuel Clark – Kappa Opioid Receptors: A New Treatment Target for Schizophrenia

Dr Samuel Clark – Kappa Opioid Receptors: A New Treatment Target for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder that affects around 1% of the global population, producing debilitating symptoms that significantly impact upon the quality of life of sufferers. Even with treatment, prognosis is often poor with a high risk of relapse. Dr Samuel Clark of Terran Biosciences Inc and colleagues at Stony Brook University, New York, are investigating the potential of blocking one type of opioid receptor in the brain – the kappa receptor – to reduce the symptoms of the disease.

Professor Christine Larson – Understanding Brain Function, Cognition, and Emotion in Psychopathology

Professor Christine Larson – Understanding Brain Function, Cognition, and Emotion in Psychopathology

Mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders significantly impact on the quality of life of sufferers, their physical health and psycho-social functioning. Given the high prevalence and extent of impairment inflicted on affected individuals, the economic cost to public health is substantial. Professor Christine Larson at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA, seeks to identify new and more effective targets for intervention by better understanding the relationship between brain function, cognitive processing, and emotion.

Dr Korbinian Moeller – The Brain, the Body and Mathematics

Dr Korbinian Moeller – The Brain, the Body and Mathematics

Dr Korbinian Moeller and a team of researchers at the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien are endeavouring to identify the cognitive and neuronal processes underpinning an individual’s mathematical ability, by exploring the concept of embodied numerical training.

Professor Etienne Sibille | Professor James Cook – Lifting Brain Fog

Professor Etienne Sibille | Professor James Cook – Lifting Brain Fog

Effective treatments for cognitive dysfunction, such as declines in memory and other mental faculties often associated with depression or old age, may be within reach, according to Professor Etienne Sibille at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto, Canada. Professor Sibille has shown for the first time that newly synthesised compounds targeting GABA receptors improve specific types of memory in mice, opening the door to the development of effective new pharmacological options.

Dr Elizabeth Nance – The Role of Nanoparticles in Neuroscience

Dr Elizabeth Nance – The Role of Nanoparticles in Neuroscience

Dr Elizabeth Nance has an impressive track record. Now a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, USA, Dr Nance’s work centres around the use of nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic agents to the brain, a seemingly simple operation which is confounded by a highly regulated blood brain barrier which prevents access to the brain and a complex brain environment which prevents access to diseased cells. Her current work also investigates the potential use of nanoparticles to probe tissue environments to map tissue structure, and how tissue structure changes in the presence of a disease.

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Everyday Miracles: Unravelling the Mysteries of Working Memory

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Everyday Miracles: Unravelling the Mysteries of Working Memory

To accomplish even a simple goal, our brain must coordinate thousands of pieces of information, remember which parts are relevant, and ignore anything that is extraneous. Dr Mark D’Esposito of the University of California, Berkeley, studies how different parts of the brain work together to create working memory, the cognitive system that temporarily and actively holds information in mind allowing us to complete complex tasks.

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Leveraging New Technologies to Treat Brain Injury

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Leveraging New Technologies to Treat Brain Injury

The brain is the most mysterious organ in the human body – despite decades of research, we have just begun to scratch the surface in understanding how the brain works and how we can help it to heal following an injury. Professor Mark D’Esposito of the University of California, Berkeley, uses advanced imaging technology to illuminate how the connections in our brain function in order to find new ways to aid brain healing after injury.

Dr Mary Logan | Dr Sean Speese – Protecting the Brain

Dr Mary Logan | Dr Sean Speese – Protecting the Brain

Our nervous system has such an important function in our body that neurons have their own bodyguards. Known as glial cells, they protect brain cells against injury and prevent damage. Dr Mary Logan and Dr Sean Speese, both based at the Jungers Center for Neuroscience...

Outcomes of Gender Summit 11, Co-hosted by NSERC

Outcomes of Gender Summit 11, Co-hosted by NSERC

From November 6 to 8, 2017, more than 675 advocates of gender equity from across many different fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) took part in Gender Summit 11, in Montreal, Quebec. Co-hosted by the Natural Sciences and Engineering...

MQ: Transforming Mental Health

MQ: Transforming Mental Health

Our mental health is important at every stage of our lives, from childhood to adolescence and throughout adulthood. MQ: Transforming Mental Health is an international charity dedicated to researching the causes of mental health conditions and the development of...

COBRE – Raising the Bar in Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation

COBRE – Raising the Bar in Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation

Despite the high number of stroke survivors worldwide, research to help those with chronic disabilities after stroke has long been underemphasised. The Medical University of South Carolina’s Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Stroke Recovery aims to...

Professor Sylvain Baillet – Brain Training

Professor Sylvain Baillet – Brain Training

Gaining insight into the brain and its inner workings improves our understanding of behaviour and our knowledge of the diseases and treatments of our most complex organ. Professor Sylvain Baillet and his research team at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the...