Katya is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), within the Discipline of Psychiatry & Mental Health. Her work focuses on modifiable lifestyle factors associated with increased risk of dementia and identifying behavioural phenotypes of very early dementia. She focuses on how older adults' perceptions of their own cognitive and functional abilities relate to their risk of dementia....view more
Katya is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), within the Discipline of Psychiatry & Mental Health. Her work focuses on modifiable lifestyle factors associated with increased risk of dementia and identifying behavioural phenotypes of very early dementia. She focuses on how older adults' perceptions of their own cognitive and functional abilities relate to their risk of dementia. Additionally, Katya examines the connection between individuals' attitudes towards ageing and their cognitive health, as well as how depression and anxiety may influence these relationships.
Click here to read Dr Katya Numbers' ‘Meet Our Researcher’ interview
Katya is Chief Investigator on nine successful grants totalling $6,917,922 including two successful NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants and an NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies (CTCS) grant.
Bachelor of Science, Psychology (Montana State University); Masters of Science, Psychology (Montanan State University); PhD, Cognitive Science (Macquarie University).
- Arc PGC Research Supervisor of the Year Award | Faculty of Medicine & Health | 2022
- “Hero’s Award” as member of the Elevate Team | Faculty of Medicine and Health | 2022
- Centre for Health Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Publication of the Year Award - Early Career Researcher - 2021
My Research Activities
1. Dementia prevention is the primary focus of my research and a national health care priority in Australia. Although dementia is the second leading cause of death in older Australians, it is estimated that 40% of all dementia cases are preventable through the modification of lifestyle risk factors such as social isolation, diet, and exercise. This is where my research comes in. Specifically, I investigate the mediating role of depression and anxiety on risk factors associated with dementia. Previously it was assumed that the presence of increased neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with dementia was a result of the disease (e.g., increasing loss of autonomy), but is now accepted psychiatric symptoms can play a causative role in the development of pathology.
2 I am interested in the intersection between older adults’ subjective experiences of cognitive decline and functional ability and their risk of future cognitive decline. My more recent research in this area models longitudinal trends in subjective cognitive complaints (SCCs) for both participants and informants and examines the relationship between change in SCC and incident dementia using latent growth curve analyses. Additionally, I have been exploring the heritability of SCCs in large twin datasets. Furthermore, I am investigating if combining reports of memory concerns with signs of neuropsychiatric symptoms offers better predictions of dementia risk.
3. Finally, I am very actively involved in research and groups that aim to challenge negative stereotypes about ageing and dementia. A compelling body of data has emerged showing negative attitudes towards ageing pose a significant risk to physical health and psychological well-being in later life. Not only do negative ageing attitudes predict worse health outcomes in older adults, but ageism promotes other forms of discrimination including social exclusion from important roles and relationships, which further fosters feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is important because increased isolation and loneliness are related to depression and anxiety, which in turn can result in cortisol related brain pathology
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Subjective Cognitive Decline (older adults)
Activities of Daily Living (older adults)
Perceptions of Ageing (older and younger adults)
Stereotype Threat (older adults)
Impact of COVID-19 and Isolation (older adults)
ILP and Honours students & PhD students
I am a current supervisor to 3 Honours students and have previously supervised 10 Honours students (9=HD; 1=D). The majority of my students have, or will, submit first author publications in high-impact journals.
In 2022, I was awarded the Supervisor of the Year Award for the Faculty of Medicine & Health at UNSW.
I am also an invited Lecturer and Tutor for Beginnings, Growth and Development B and Personality for the Faculty.
I tutored throughout my PhD at Macquarie University in the Department of Cognitive Science.
Before moving to Australia, I was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at Montana State University for four semesters where I developed and taught Social Psychology, History and Systems of Psychology, and Judgment and Decision Making in Psychology; I also taught an Introduction to General Studies course for these four semesters.