Fields of Research (FoR)Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology), Epidemiology, Mental Health, Geriatrics and Gerontology, Psychiatry
Simone is a UNSW Scientia Associate Professor within the Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Her area of research is cognitive disorders with a focus on mental health and ageing. Simone has a PhD in Psychology (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich) and worked previously in the field of depression and cognitive function at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich until 2008 before she moved to Australia. From 2008-2014 she worked...view more
Simone is a UNSW Scientia Associate Professor within the Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health. Her area of research is cognitive disorders with a focus on mental health and ageing. Simone has a PhD in Psychology (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich) and worked previously in the field of depression and cognitive function at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich until 2008 before she moved to Australia. From 2008-2014 she worked as a research fellow at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, where she managed a large longitudinal study (Sydney Memory and Ageing Study) combining neuropsychological, medical, environmental and genetic components to identify risk factors for cognitive decline.
Her current research focuses mainly on late-life depression, cognitive impairment including dementia, everyday activities in old age and mental health in people with intellectual disability. Through her research, Simone aims to improve health and mental health outcomes for people with cognitive and mental disorders. She uses a range of methods, including interrogation of large linked datasets, development of diagnostic tools and analysis of factors associated with depression in late-life and cognitive decline. Simone has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications with a total of >6500 citations.
My Research Activities
Current research projects include:
- A Dementia Australia funded project on self-harm in people with dementia. Dementia and deliberate self-harm represent substantial public health burdens in the older population. However, the health outcomes, referral pathways and predictors of death are not well understood. This project uses linked population data to characterise the health profiles, health service use and predictors of death including from suicide in individuals with dementia who self-harmed to unveil pathways into suicide and to inform targeted treatments and intervention strategies to improve health care. An advocate advisory group will be involved in all steps of the project to inform data analysis, interpretation of findings and development of targeted resources.
- The development of a performance-based tool to measure complex activities of daily living. Maintaining intact functional ability is an indicator of successful ageing. Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are complex everyday functional skills necessary for independent living, like managing medications, shopping, or handling finances. The distinction between dementia and mild cognitive impairment relies upon the evaluation of independence in IADL. Given the increasing ageing population, it is essential to have time- and resource-efficient tools to assess IADL in clinical practice and in research studies. Self- and informant reports are prone to bias and clinician-based performance tests are limited by long administration times, restricted access, or inadequate validation. We have recently developed and validated a performance-based measure of IADL, the Sydney Test of Activities of Daily Living in Memory Disorders (STAM) and are now in the process of extending the validation to international samples.
- An NHMRC funded project to examine the determinants of health, use of health resources and costs, and the development of specific strategies to allow disability and health services to meet the health needs of people with intellectual disability (ID). The health of people with ID is one of the poorest of any group in Australia, yet they experience poor access to responsive health services and premature death. Our project develops the first comprehensive profile of health, health service and medicines use and costs for people with ID, and will examine the impact of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on these metrics. This is a population-based matched cohort study using data linkage of large administrative datasets. We will identify all people with ID in NSW and a matched random sample of NSW residents without ID and examine health resource use and costs over a 20-year period.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Geriatric depression and the relationship to cognitive decline and dementia
Activities of daily living in older people with mild cognitive impairment and/or depression
Health service use and health characteristics of older people with depression using linked data
Health service use and health profiles of people with mental illnesses using linked data
Self-harm and suicide in older people
PhD students, Honours/ILP students