ACNS Newsletter – November 2022

Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society

Welcome to the November 2022 ACNS newsletter. This month we’re asking you to save the date for the AGM, meet one of our members, Simon Weber, and chat to our Tresurer, Talitha Ford. Plus so many jobs and opportunities!
You can find all previous newsletters in the newsletter archive.

In the coming weeks, there will be a flurry of emails from us as we prepare for this year’s AGM and Executive elections. We’ve been really busy in the background, bringing our Constitution and policies up to date, and in line with our values. This year’s AGM will be an important opportunity to share your feedback on ABPS, and the future of our Society. So keep your eyes peeled for our emails over the coming weeks.

Yesterday, we sent all of our active members an email, for the call out for nominations for positions on the 2023 Executive Committee. If you didn’t receive that email, please check that your membership is up to date (via the website). If your membership is up to date and you still didn’t receive it, contact us on acns@acns.org.au. We will use that list of active members to send important emails in the coming weeks, including your personalised link to vote in the upcoming election, and the special resolution to be held at the AGM. Voting in elections and having your say at the AGM are important benefits of your membership. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.

Save the date!

Save the date for the 2022 Annual General Meeting, to be held online on 30th November 2022 at 12pm (Sydney/Melbourne time). This year’s AGM will be jam packed, with discussion and voting on our new Constitution, presentation of the new Code of Conduct, and other activities. Set aside 90 minutes in your calendar!

Timezone conversions:
Melbourne/Sydney/Hobart 12pm
Adelaide 11.30am
Perth 9am
Auckland/Wellington 2pm
Brisbane 11am
Darwin 10.30am

The draft version of the new Constitution will be sent to all members for comment 21 days prior to the AGM. Please keep an eye on your inbox for the email with the document and your individual link to comment. Constitution v2 aims to align our Society with updated legislation, updated conference practices (online events), and formalising our Subcommittees.


Defying Disciplinary Divides – Interdisciplinary Research Webinar

Join the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s early career researchers as we defy disciplinary divides on 9 November at 1:30pm AEDT!

Register here: http://bit.ly/ACNSECRNov22

Are you keen to work with researchers from other fields? Are you interested in expanding your professional network beyond your discipline?

In this webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from researchers whose work bridges disciplines. They’ll share their expertise, and discuss the challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary collaborations.

Hear from:

  • Dr. Jason Chin, social psychologist and law lecturer. Jason is a meta-researcher, lawyer, psychology researcher, and is the past President of the Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-Research and Open Science.
  • Dr. Cynthia Forlini, neuroethicist. Cynthia is a senior lecturer Health Ethics and Professionalism, an expert in the ethics of cognitive enhancement, and a mixed-methods research specialist.
  • Isabella Bower, environmental psychology researcher. Isabella is a final year PhD candidate and Research Fellow. Her research crosses the disciplines of built environment and cognitive neuroscience.

Don’t forget to bring along any and all questions you might have about taking your first steps as an interdisciplinary researcher!

PhD students, Masters students, Honours students, and early-career researchers from all disciplines are welcome to attend.

Don’t forget to register here for free: http://bit.ly/ACNSECRNov22

Time zone conversion:

  • Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra: 1:30pm, 9 November
  • Brisbane: 12:30pm, 9 November
  • Adelaide/Darwin: 1pm, 9 November
  • Perth: 10:30am, 9 November
  • Tokyo: 11:30am, 9 November
  • Singapore/Beijing: 10:30am, 9 November
  • USA Pacific: 6:30pm, 8 November
  • USA Mountain: 7:30pm, 8 November
  • USA Central: 8:30pm, 8 November
  • USA Eastern: 9:30pm, 8 November

Member Profile – Joseph Chen

Please tell us who you are, your institution and your title

Joseph Chen, PhD candidate, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Tell us a little about yourself, and your research interests

Kia ora from Aotearoa New Zealand! I’m a 4th year PhD student whose research interests lie in trying to better understand the pathophysiology of depression and to find better treatments for depression. My PhD is a mixture of the fields of neuroimaging (EEG) and psychopharmacology. For my main project, I ran a clinical trial administering either scopolamine (an antimuscarinic) or glycopyrronium (an antimuscarinic which doesn’t cross the BBB) to individuals with depression whilst also measuring scopolamine plasma concentrations, EEG, and heart rate variability.

What’s your most recent paper about? Where can we find it published?

My most recent paper reports the main mood findings of the aforementioned clinical trial where we declared a null result of scopolamine, though, we did see large mood improvements in both scopolamine and glycopyrronium cohorts (e.g. 11-12 point mood (MADRS) improvements – from a clinically “moderate” depression to “mild” depression within 3 days!). However, our main conclusion was that it was probably due to placebo effect, rather than the other suggestion that scopolamine and glycopyrronium might both be antidepressants. It was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/depression/iv-scopolamine-vs-active-placebo-in-major-depressive-disorder/

What are your interests outside of neuroscience?

I began learning the violin at the waddling age of four, thinking it was a guitar. By 7, I realised they were two different instruments, but nonetheless continued playing the violin and later picked up the viola. I’ve since continued to play the violin in various chamber groups and orchestras at various gigs and performances.

If people want to contact you, how should they do so? Do you have any social media profiles people can follow?

My Twitter handle is: @josephccchen (https://twitter.com/josephccchen) Otherwise, always happy to receive emails at joseph.chen@auckland.ac.nz


Exec Member Profile – Talitha Ford

Please tell us who you are, your institution, your title and your role in ACNS

Talitha Ford, Research Fellow, Deakin University; Treasurer

Tell us a little about your role in the Society, and any recent updates on activities

I serve on the ACNS Executive Committee as the Treasurer. My term spans 2 years, and I am responsible for taking care of all the monies. Generally, this means paying invoices, approving society related expenditures, and managing ACNS membership and conference registration payments, especially around the ACNS-EPC-OHBM conference.

Have you been working on something really exciting recently? Can you tell us about it?

I’m actually on maternity leave, so working on keeping a very small human alive while wrangling a wild 2-year-old. Research-wise, we’re just about to start a clinical trial looking at the effect of CBD on complex behaviours and neurobiology in autistic kids, particularly in the social communication domain. My excellent PhD student, Nina Parrella, is running the study.

What’s your most recent paper about? Where can we find it published?

I was very excited to publish an ACNS-born collaboration early this year. The project started back at ACNS Newcastle back in 2016, where Laila Hugrass and I were introduced to Brad Jack, and combined our interest in the mismatch negativity, visual processing, and social communication. We published the paper titled The Relationship Between Affective Visual Mismatch Negativity and Interpersonal Difficulties Across Autism and Schizotypal Traits in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Are you interested in setting up some new collaborations? What would you like to collaborate on, and how can people contact you if they’re interested?

Yes please! I’m always keen to collaborate on work probing brain excitation-inhibition, social emotion processing, the autism spectrum, and schizotypy. My email is talitha.ford@deakin.edu.au, or you can find me on Twitter @TalithaCFord

Are you involved in any other groups or organisations that you think our members would be interested in?

I am a member of the Early-Mid Career Researcher Brain Science Network steering committee, you can find out more about them here: https://emcrbrainsciencenetwork.com.au/

If people want to contact you, how should they do so? Do you have any social media profiles people can follow? 

You can find me on Twitter @TalithaCFord.


Cool stuff we found on the interwebs

Research Rabbit – Literature review and citation tool

‘The most powerful discovery app ever built for researchers’, ‘Spotify for Papers: Just like in Spotify, you can add papers to collections. ResearchRabbit learns what you love and improves its recommendations!’ Available here

Obsidian – Note-making tool

‘The human brain is non-linear: we jump from idea to idea, all the time. Your second brain should work the same. In Obsidian, making and following connections is frictionless. Tend to your notes like a gardener; at the end of the day, sit back and marvel at your own knowledge graph.’

Available here

Know of a cool package or online resource that you love? Or maybe you’ve written your own! Send it to acns@acns.org.au, and we can feature it in our next newsletter. Let us know why you like it!


New SOBR Initiative – #sharewithsobr

Working in the lab? Analysing MRI data? Is it a writing day? Post updates from your research life using #sharewithsobr and SOBR retweet with the SOBR community. See here for details.


PhD Opportunity, University of Melbourne

Interested in a PhD in Anorexia Nervose or Eating Disorders in 2023? Contact Andrea Phillipou for more details or see this tweet.

Research Officer, Neural Systems and Behaviour Lab, Monash University

Looking for a proactive Research Officer to help with recruitment on a large-scale brain imaging project. See here for details

Multiple lecturer positions, The Department of Psychology Counselling and Therapy at La Trobe University

Full-time, multiple positions, T&R Level B positions.  Expertise in behavioural neuroscience, research methods, neurodiversity or cultural psychology is desirable but not required. See here for details

PhD and Postdoc positions, Amsterdam

PhD or Postdoc position in cognitive psychology/neuroscience, and would you like to investigate the nature and role of selective attention inside visual working memory? Please apply for the 4-year PhD or 3-year Postdoc position in the Proactive Brain Lab (www.proactivebrainlab.com) headed by Dr. Freek van Ede at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

Research Scientist – Cognitive Neuroscience at Alena

A Research Scientist to help develop gamified tasks to index cognitive processes relevant for mental health. You will join Alena’s science team, and will work on building rigorous and engaging games with the aim of providing insight into cognitive processes that drive specific symptoms of social anxiety. See here for details.


Monash Biomedical Imaging webinar

Prof Monica Fabiani

Wednesday, 23 November at 12:30pm Melbourne time

Taking the pulse of ageing: the role of cerebrovascular risk factors in ageing and dementia

Cerebrovascular support is critical for healthy cognitive ageing. Reduced cerebral blood flow in ageing is caused, among other things, by hypertension, arteriosclerosis (i.e. stiffening of the arteries) and plaque formation. Arterial stiffness is predictive of cognitive decline, is a critical risk factor for cerebrovascular accidents, and has been linked to heightened risks for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

The elasticity of cerebral arteries is influenced by lifestyle factors, including cardiorespiratory fitness. Monica will discuss data obtained in their laboratory with new non-invasive measures of cerebrovascular health (pulse-DOT, a diffuse optical tomographic method for studying cerebral arteriosclerosis), in conjunction with structural and functional brain measures and cognitive assessments. These findings support a model in which localised changes in arteriosclerosis lead to specific profiles of structural, functional, and cognitive declines, paving a way to individualised interventions.

Register here: https://monash.zoom.us/webinar/register/4216389265578/WN_vChMbH1BT62kmpXYD8vVSw

ACCS Brain Imaging Workshop Series: Advanced Imaging Application on the CVL Platform

Wednesday, 9 November 2022
1:00 pm  3:00 pm

The workshop will be delivered in two parts: Webinar (9th/Nov, 13:00 to 15:00 AEDT) in which three experts will present their research work as examples of these three advanced imaging applications. This workshop will be followed by a hands-on session (15th/Nov, 13:00 to 15:00 AEDT) that will focus on how to replicate the methods of these three modalities (presented in the webinar) on CVL@MASSIVE, preparation of the software, pipelines and practice data for all participants. The goal is to teach researchers to access CVL and run these pipelines, which include eigenmode, DTI preprocessing through Mrtrix, fMRI preprocessing (Conn and fMRIprep) and connectome and seed-base analysis (Conn) and Connectome analysis using Network Based Statistic Toolbox (if time allows).

See here for details

Maths in the Brain Workshop 

Caulfield Campus, Monash University
November 28, 2022,
8:30 AM – 6:00 PM AEDT

After a successful launch in 2019, this year Maths in the Brain will expand and bring together researchers across Australia with a shared interest in understanding the brain from a quantitative perspective. Leading experts will meet in person to present their latest work on mathematical modelling of brain structure and function to understand how disease affects the brain and how coordinated brain activity gives rise to perception and cognition. Now accepting abstract submissions for the ECR session! See here for details


Got something to tell your fellow ACNS members? An event, a job, or new opportunity you’d like to share? Email acns@acns.org.au before the end of the month, and we’ll add it to the Newsletter!