Coffs Harbour researcher wins national grant

Published 21 November 2008

Southern Cross University psychology researcher Dr Anna Brooks has won a national scientific grant for the second-year running to undertake a research project in Switzerland.

The funding, which is highly competitive, supports leading Australian scientists from the public and private sectors, to collaborate with international partners on leading edge science and technology.

Around 100 of Australia’s leading scientists have received grants, which are provided through the Australian Academy of Science by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Dr Brooks, who is based at the Coffs Harbour campus, will spend one month at the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland. Her project, in the field of cognitive neuroscience, will investigate the neural processes underlying human ability to discriminate gender.

Dr Brooks said she was delighted to receive the grant for the second year in a row.

“The funding is not usually given to the same researcher twice so I’m really pleased to have the opportunity again. It allows me to work in one of the best cognitive neuroscience laboratories in the world. Ultimately the goal is to establish an ongoing ‘sister-laboratory’ relationship, making Coffs Harbour part of a leading international scientific group,” Dr Brooks said.

“As a result, this project will also open up exciting opportunities for our students in the Department of Psychology in Coffs Harbour to have access to world-class techniques and to undertake international student exchange.”

Dr Brooks will be working closely with Professor Olaf Blanke, who heads the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Brian Mind Institute.

Research at the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience is carried out by a multidisciplinary team of biologists, psychologists, medical doctors, physicists, engineers and computer scientists.

Professor Blanke’s work focuses on the functional and neural mechanisms of body perception, corporeal awareness and self consciousness.

“This is one of the best neuroscience labs in the world and will enable me to bring back cutting edge skills in this field of research,” she said.

Photo: Dr Anna Brooks will be heading to Switzerland next year to continue her research.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.