Exterminating misconceptions about high-prevalence psychopathology and mindfulness since 2017

Dr. Nicholas Van Dam

Lab Director  

Graduate Students

Kiran Sutcliffe

PhD Student in Psychology  

I completed both my Bachelor of Science and Honours degree in Psychology at the University of Melbourne. I’m interested in researching decision making and learning processes, particularly in the context of depression and anxiety. My PhD research will focus on decision-making and learning across anxiety and depression with the DALEC Lab in collaboration with the Decision Neuroscience Lab (A/Prof Stefan Bode). 

Andrea Putica

PhD Student in Psychiatry  

Primary Supervisor: Prof Meaghan O'Donnell 


I am a clinical psychologist and, as such, I am very interested mechanisms of change and treatment resistance in psychological treatments. My PhD is a collaboration with the DALEC Lab and Phoenix Australia – Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health as part of the Intervention to Manage PTSD, Adjustment Disorder and Comorbidity after Trauma (IMPACT) randomised controlled trial. Specifically, my research explores the impact of alexithymia and related emotion deficits on emotional processing in trauma-focused treatments for PTSD. 

Toby Woods

PhD Student in Psychology

Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Olivia Carter


Prior to commencing his psychology studies, Toby completed Bachelors of Commerce and Law (Honours) at The University of Melbourne, and worked in legal practice. He is a PhD student whose work involves examining contemplative practices from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. He is also interested in clinical implications of contemplative practices, and new opportunities that they present. He is working with Nicholas on two projects in this area.

Madeleine Connolly

PhD student in Psychology

Madeleine is a first year PhD student, studying the relationship between mental health and physical exercise in adults (co-supervised by Stephen Bowden). Her research interests lie in statistical modelling, optimising patient-centred care, and dismantling our current diagnostic paradigms.

Nick Bowles

PhD student in Psychology

Nick is a first year PhD student whose research focuses on mindfulness meditation, specifically investigating the dose response relationship associated with different practices and methods of delivery. Prior to commencing his studies in psychology, Nick completed a Master of Business Administration and worked as a general manager and consultant in the golf industry. A deepening interest in mindfulness meditation served as the catalyst for a career change.

Nathaniel Carpenter

PhD student in Computing and Information Systems

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Simon D'Alfonso

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Honours Students, Research Assistants, & Volunteers

Bridget O'Brien

 Honours Student 

in Psychology 

Bridget is an honours student in psychology whose research project is focused on examining how option loss and variation in reinforcement properties influence decision-making in relation to anxious and depressive symptoms. 

Adam Sgro

Honours Student

in Psychology

Adam is an honours student in psychology whose research project is exploring patterns of symptoms among mood and anxiety disorder questionnaires, as well as their presentation in a broad range of individuals. 

Georgina Costello

Research Assistant

Holding a Bachelor in Health Science, Georgina is currently completing her Graduate Diploma in Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her interests include anxiety and depression, neurobiology, and neuroimaging. In her downtime away from spreadsheets, she enjoys playing guitar, and conducting her own research into how much English breakfast tea a person can drink (n = 1).

Graciela Espírito Santo

Volunteer Research Assitant

Grace completed a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Psychology and Health Behavior at the Catholic University of Pelotas in Brazil.  

Alex Burger

Research Assistant

Alex is a former engineer that is now studying the Graduate Diploma of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. His interests include Anxiety, Depression and Mindfulness.

Haisu Sun 

Research Assistant

     Haisu submitted her PhD thesis in November 2019. Her PhD investigated the contextualized nature of trait extraversion and neuroticism. Specifically, she examined whether trait extraversion and neuroticism interact with theoretically relevant situations (i.e., rewarding and threatening situations, respectively), in the perdition of people’s experiences and behaviours in everyday life. 

     Her post-PhD research interests include: 

(a) influence of personality on behaviour 

(b) links between personality and maladaptive affect, behaviour, cognition, and desires. 

(c) personalisation of measures to help clinicians make better-informed treatment plans for patients with depression and anxiety. 

     Haisu is an advocate of the scientific aspects of Buddhism and keen to apply Buddhist practices to facilitate long-term personality changes. 


Juan Pablo Morales Sepulveda

Visiting PhD Student

Juan Pablo is a PhD student in Neuroscience at Pontifica Universidad Catolica in Chile, working with Prof. Eugenio Rodríguez Balboa. He was a visiting scholar in the DALEC Lab during 2017-2018.  

Zoe Stout

PhD Student (Hofstra University)

Zoe completed her BA, at George Washington University, and her MA, at New York University, in Psychology. Her primary research focus has been investigating the interrelated nature of rumination, worry, and repetitive negative thinking with the goal creating a more accurate assessment tool to measure the three constructs concurrently. She plants to expand upon this research when during her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Hofstra University.  

Zarina Bilgrami

Research Assistant at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 

Zarina completed her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Political Science at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is currently working at as a Clinical Research Coordinator with Cheryl Corcoran at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Former Students

M.Psych (Clinical):

Dylan Hammond (2019) 

Bibiana Tan (2019

M.Psych (Neuropsychology):

Brianna Hollis (2019) 


Honours (Psychology):

Jian Hao Koh (2019) 

Stephanie S Padmanabham (2019)

Rachael Di Lallo (2018) 

Sasha Malignaggi (2018) 

Winky Wing Kay Lee (2018) 

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne

© 2019 by Nicholas T Van Dam. Proudly created with Wix.com

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