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The Australian National University

Dr Erin Walsh

Bsc (science: psychology) w/hons I | Bsc (science) | PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Psychological Methodology, Design And Analysis 170110

Research interests

  • Research methodology
  • Healthy ageing
  • Neurobiology-personality-environment interactions as determinants of wellbeing
  • Temporal thought content
  • Data visualization techniques

 

Biography

Erin Walsh is a post doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing?. Her PhD focused on the strengths and weaknesses of text messaging (SMS) as a tool for self-report psychological research. Alongside research, she works as a scientific illustrator, offering assistance withstimuli preparation, data visualization, and figure preparation for scholarly publication or engaging the general public with science.

Available student projects


Application of latent class analysis to longitudinal ageing data to identify individuals at risk of brain atrophy. Although there is inevitably some degree of age-associated changes in brain volume, abnormal brain atrophy is associated with adverse outcomes ranging from mild cognitive impairment through to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This research project will involve examination of some of the demographic, health, and lifestyle factors which may impact on brain atrophy. A focus will be placed on change over time, which will be explored using latent class analysis techniques. A strong statistical background, and experience (or willingness to learn) coding and use of the statistical program R is recommended.

Investigation of the shape of brain structures associated with schizophrenia. The corpus callosum is the main pathway for neurons connecting the left and right brain hemispheres. The shape of the corpus callosum reflects the number and health of connections between the hemispheres, so it can be used to investigate lateralized processes and disfunctions within the brain. Structural abnormalities have been noted in the corpus callosum of individuals with schizophrenia. In this project, students will design their own project around the application of cutting-edge shape analysis techniques to magnetic resonance images of human brains available from http://schizconnect.org/ . No background in neuroimaging is required.

Past student projects

Investigation of the impact of the caloric content of alcohol intake on brain ageing. Promoting healthy brain ageing is imperative to address the impact of cognitive decline on Australian families, community, and economy. A growing body of research has shown that alcohol consumption has both risk and protective effects on brain health. Alcohol has a high caloric density (7 calories/gram). High caloric intake across the whole diet is known to be deleterious to brain health. Yet, little is known about the specific contribution of calories obtained from alcohol on the brain.  This research project will investigated how alcohol can impact on brain health.

Publications

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Updated:  17 December 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers