Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka

NHMRC Senior Research Fellow

UQ Centre for Clinical Research
Faculty of Medicine

Senior Research Fellow

UQ Centre for Clinical Research
Faculty of Medicine

Affiliate Research Fellow

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
n.dissanayaka@uq.edu.au
+61 7 334 66026

Overview

Dr Nadeeka Dissanayaka is a Senior Research Fellow leading the Neuro Mental Health research program within the Clinical Neurosciences theme at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. She is an adjunct research fellow at School of Psychology, UQ, and Department of Neurology, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital. Dr Dissanayaka is a current recipient of the NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship and Lions Medical Research Fellowship. Her research involves multidisciplinary areas ranging from basic science (eg: pharmacology, physiology, genetics) to clinical science and medicine (eg: epidemiology, psychology, psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging and addiction).

Dementia and Parkinson's disease are key areas of Dr Disssanayaka's research. Her primary research themes include:

1. Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety and Depression in Dementia

2. Neuropsychiatric Manifestations in Parkinson's disease including anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, sleep and impulse control disorders.

Research Interests

  • New diagnostic methods to identify anxiety in dementia and Parkinson's disease
  • Neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI) and psychophysiological markers
  • New psychological treatments using innovative technologies such as telehealth, virtual reality and mobile phones
  • Novel psychosocial interventions in residential aged care facilities
  • Adverse effects of pharmacological treatment including prescription of psychotropic medication in elderly

Research Impacts

Research Output: Dr Dissanayaka is the principal investigator of the Australian Mental Dysfunction in Dementia Network (MDDN) and Improving Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety in Parkinson’s disease (IDATA-PD) study. She is the developer of a new Parkinson’s disease-specific anxiety inventory for psychotherapy and co-author of 5 new psychotherapy manuals (1 international) based on cognitive beahvioural therapy and mindfulness therapy for Parkinson’s disease patients and their carers. Dr Dissanayaka is the first author of the top cited publication for “Anxiety in Parkinson’s disease” for the past 10 years (Scopus), is an author of a book chapter titled “Anxiety in Parkinson’s disease” in “Anxiety in Older People: Clinical and Research Perspectives” (Cambridge Press), and is a lead collaborator of the international working group focused on anxiety in Parkinson’s disease research. Despite part-time (0.6FTE) work, Dr Dissanayaka’s publication record of 30 journal articles over the past 8 years places her in the top 10% of the Senior Lecturers in the relevant field of Psychology according to the Go8 Universities productivity and citations. For the past 5 years, her publications are cited 2.5 times (Field Weighted Citation Impact) more than the average citation rate in the field of Psychology. During this period 40% of her output is in the top 10 percentile journals (SciVal citation report).

Grants and Awards: Dr Dissanayaka has received continuous funding via 3 competitive fellowships (including NHMRC), 15 competitive research grants (10 as lead investigator) including the prestigious NARSAD young investigator international award 2018 from the United States Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation, and 5 travel awards (>$1.75M; 91% CIA). She is also a recipient of 2 Outstanding Young Researcher Awards in 2013 and 2015.

Supervision: Dr Dissanayaka holds an outstanding record of supervision in disciplines of Psychology, Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, and Pharmacy, and has supervised 57 students and 7 Research assistants. For the past 5 years, under her primary supervision, 10 students completed research thesis (4 DPsyc, 2 MPsyc and 4 Honours). Her primary supervision has yielded 3 first class honours (1A) with dean’s commendation for outstanding honours, published 10 peer reviewed publications in leading international journals and 37 conference abstracts. Dr Dissanayaka’s supervision extends to Psychology Advanced Trainee interns who are provisionally registered psychologists with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Psychology Board of Australia). She has supervised 27 Psychology trainee interns, who are the next generation of psychology service providers in Australia and worldwide (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia).

Community Engagement and Professional Involvement: Dr Dissanayaka has presented in 43 Conferences (including 10 international and 6 invited talks), 25 invited seminars, 16 Invited community talks, and 10 media reports. She is an advocate for Lions Medical Research Foundation, Royal Brisbane & Woman's Hospital Foundation, and Parkinson’s Queensland Incorporated, and has presented many public seminars throughout Queensland. Dr Dissanayaka is an active member of the University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine, Low and Negligible Risk Ethics Committee, UQ Centre for Clinical Research Career Development and Innovation Group, NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research, Australian Cognitive Neurosciences Society, Movement Disorders Society of Australia and New Zealand, and International Movement Disorders Society. She is a peer reviewer for 18 international journals and an external reviewer for NHMRC.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.