Exterminating misconceptions about high-prevalence psychopathology and mindfulness since 2017

Dr. Van Dam is the director of the DALEC lab. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He holds a PhD and MA in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, SUNY and a B.S. in Neurobiology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He relocated to Melbourne, Australia with his partner and son in mid-2017. He is originally from Brookfield, Wisconsin, US. 

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). 

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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. 

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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.


Winky Lee

PhD student in Education

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Cheree Murrihy

Winky is a Master/PhD (combined) student in Educational Psychology, whose research
interest lies in the application of mindfulness in education. She is currently focusing on
examining university students’ appreciation and engagement in mindfulness practice, with particular relation to app-guided practice. Winky completed her BA (degree with honours, also supervised by Nicholas!) at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Psychology and Economics.


Rachel Furey

PhD student in Psychology

Primary Supervisor: Prof Stephen Bowden

Rachel started her PhD in 2020. She is researching ways to improve meta-scientific practices in clinical neuropsychology, with a particular focus on the construct validity of memory tests. More broadly, her research interests centre around the prediction and management of memory and language disorders. 


Jesse Tse

PhD student in Psychology

Primary Supervisor: Prof Nick Haslam

Prior to commencing her PhD, Jesse completed the Bachelor of Science and Honours degrees, major in psychology, at the University of Melbourne. She has started her PhD in 2020, investigating the concept of mental disorder. In particular, her research focuses on the breadth of laypeople’s concept of mental disorder, which is the range of phenomena that people view as disordered and how that influences and are influenced by other mental health variables. 

Honours Students, Research Assistants, & Volunteers



 Honours Student 

in Psychology 

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Honours Student

in Psychology

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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.



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.  

Former Students


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.


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

Nate is an experienced Department Lead in Data Science - focused in health, data analytics, and visualization. His current interest are in applying his experience in the mental health space. The aim here is to identiy and treat mental health conditions, with a focus in maintaining lifestyles condusive to being mentally well.

He has a Master of Information Technology focused in Spatial (Geographic) IT and Ai from the University of Melbourne. Domain knowledge includes education, behavorial change, behavior change using digital technologies, health & wellness, psychology, nutrition, AI in health care, and research and development (Ai and Product related development). 

M.Psych (Clinical):

Dylan Hammond (2019) 

Bibiana Tan (2019

M.Psych (Neuropsychology):

Brianna Hollis (2019) 


Honours (Psychology):

Bridget O'Brien (2020) 

Adam Sgro (2020) 

Jian Hao Koh (2019) 

Stephanie S Padmanabham (2019)

Rachael Di Lallo (2018) 

Sasha Malignaggi (2018) 

Winky Wing Kay Lee (2018)