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The Australian National University

Associate Professor Nicolas Cherbuin

Director, Neuroimaging and Brain Lab
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Mental Health 111714
  • Epidemiology 111706
  • Geriatrics And Gerontology 110308
  • Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology) 170101
  • Neurosciences 1109
  • Developmental Psychology And Ageing 170102

Research interests

Dr Cherbuin's main interests relate to the investigation of genetic, environmental, health, lifestyle, and personality factors which influence brain structure and plasticity throughout the lifespan but particularly in ageing populations and to study how cerebral structure and changes in structure relate to cognition and degenerative diseases. To research these questions he uses manual and semi-automated methods to measure and describe brain structures on MRI scans as well as to visualise 3D models of individual brains. The associations between these and other measures (e.g. memory, clinical diagnoses, age, handedness, etc) is subsequently investigated using typical statistical packages or specialised software. Another research focus is the early screening and identification of individuals at risk of cognitive impairment and dementia as well as the identification of associated risk and protective factors. This research is partly conducted in collaboration with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centres (DCRC) and Alzheimers Australia. Nic also has a keen interest in cerebral lateralisation and handedness.


Dr Cherbuin is an ARC Future Fellow and heads the NeuroIMaging and Brain Lab (NIMBL) at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing. He was awarded a PhD in 2006 at ANU. His doctoral thesis focused on factors affecting hemispheric interactions. From 2006 until 2008 he was the recipient of an Alzheimer's Australia Research and CMHR Fellowship. In 2007, he was awarded a NHMRC Fellowship to investigate associations between pre-frontal function and structure and cognition. Nic's current fellowship is focused on investigating theoretical models of age- and disease-related changes in brain structure and cognition.

Nic is also a member of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre II, a federal initiative focused on dementia early detection and prevention.

Available student projects

A number of potential PhD projects are available to motivated individuals with a background in Psychology, Neuroscience, and other related areas who are interested in investigating associations between cognition, health, laterality and cerebral structure using neuroimaging data

Current student projects

Mark Fraser (PhD candidate) is investigating hippocampal structure in normal ageing using longitudinal data from the PATH project

Hossein Tabatabaei (PhD candidate) researches structural brain changes detectable in the early stages of dementia.

Tianqi Zhang (PhD candidate) is characterising brain differences in type 2 diabetes using shape analysis, and longitudinal methods.

Daniela Oryace (PhD candidate) investigates the associations between the brain behaviour control system (BIS/BAS/FFFS) and their cerebral structural correlates.

Past student projects

Dr Prapti Gautam (PhD 2012). “An investigation into the structural variability of the prefrontal cortex and its relationship to cognition and ageing”


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Updated:  27 May 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers