Psychosocial Research Group

About us

The Psychosocial Research Group (PRG) comprises a research team dedicated to the exploration of the interrelationship between psychology and health.  The PRG’s two major research major strength are in the area of the psychosocial implications of genetics and the psychological impact of cancer (psycho-oncology).    The PRG’s research program in the psychosocial implications of genetics comprises several themes, including: the psychosocial impact of genetic counselling and testing for hereditary disease; psychological adjustment and behavioural impact of hereditary disease; and the design and evaluation of interventions in the cancer genetic counselling setting, in particular decision aids as an innovative means of patient education. 

In relation to its research program in psycho-oncology, the PRG is a leading research centre internationally in the area of the psychological and behavioural implications of cancer genetics.  Other areas of national and international recognition include the psychosocial support and information needs of younger women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, fertility- and menopause related implications of cancer therapy and cultural aspects of cancer.

The PRG includes full- and part-time researchers, students and administrative staff. The PRG has developed an excellent reputation in the supervision of post-graduate students; thus far seven PhD students, two doctoral students, four master’s students and two Independent Learning Project students from a range of backgrounds, including psychology, public health, medicine, genetic counselling and science, have successfully completed their degrees.

The PRG has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles since 2000. To support our research programs we have received grants from the following funding bodies: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Cancer Council of New South Wales, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cure Cancer Foundation, Cancer Institute NSW and the Susan Komen Foundation, United States.

Team

Collaborators

COLLABORATORS

Name

Position

Katherine Tucker, MBBS, FRACP

Head of Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Lesley Andrews, MBBS

Clinical Assistant, Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Craig Lewis, MBBS, FRACP

Head, Department of Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Michael Friedlander, MBBS, FRACP, PhD

Medical Oncologist, Department of Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

David Goldstein, MBBS, FRACP

Medical Oncologist, Department of Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Jessica Duffy, BBiotech, GradDipGenCouns

Genetic Counsellor, Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Jessica Gale, GradDipGenCouns

Associate Genetic Counsellor, Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Rachel Williams, B.Sc.GradDipGenCouns

Genetic Counsellor, Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Barbara Bennett, RN, BSc(Hons), PhD

National Breast Cancer Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow

Helen Conlon,RN, BHealthSc

Clinical Nurse Consultant

Kerry Tiller, BA(Hons), DPsych, MAPS, CClin

Clinical Psychologist , Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney

Nadine Kasparian, BA(Psych, Hons), PhD

NHMRC Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow, Registered Psychologist

Claire Wakefield, BPsych(Hons), MPH, PhD

NHMRC Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow, Registered Psychologist

Mona Saleh, BSc, FHGSA (Genetic Counselling), PhD Scholar

Genetic Counsellor, Research Officer

Susan Rovelli, BNursing, GradDipComHlth, Master of Nrsing

Breast Care Nurse - Clinical Nurse Consultant, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney

Stephanie Burcher

USYD, Masters of Genetic Counselling Student

 

OTHER COLLABORATORS

 

A/Profess Kris Barlow-Stewart, Centre for Genetics Education, Sydney.  Culture-specific beliefs about cancer and genetics and other studies.

 

Professor Phyllis Butow, CEMPMED, University of Sydney.  Collaboration on prospective study internationally to identify the psychosocial predictors of breast cancer development in high-risk women.

 

A/Professor Jane Halliday, Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute, Mebourne.  Collaborations in the area of the psychosocial implications of cancer genetics and prenatal screening. 

 

Dr Nina Hallowell, University of Edinburgh.  Collaborating on qualitative analysis of research on psychosocial adjustment to prophylactic surgery in women at risk for hereditary breast/ovarian cancer.

 

AProfessor Judy Kirk, Familial Cancer Service, Westmead Hospital.  Numerous collaborations on on the psychosocial implicantions of hereditary cancer, including current trial on the best ways to provide women newly diagnosed with breast cancer with education about treatment-focused genetic testing.

 

Dr Gillian Mitchell, Familial Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne.  Collaborations on studies in the area of the psychosocial implications of hereditary cancer, including current trial on the best ways to provide women newly diagnosed with breast cancer with education about treatment-focused genetic testing.

 

Professor Phil Mitchell, School of Psychiatry, UNSW.  Collaborations on several studies on the psychosocial implications of hereditray types of depression.

 

Professor Peter Schofield, Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney.  Collaborations on several studies on the psychosocial implications of hereditray types of depression.

 

A/Professor Lyndal Trevena, School of Public Health, University of Sydney.  Collaborations on two web-based family history-based assessment tool: (i)  in the area of bowel cancer for use by GPs and (ii) a novel resilience strenthening intervention aimed at young people wth a family history of depression.

 

Dr Victoria White, Cancer Council of Victoria.  Collaborating on a multicentre RTC of a novel peer support program for cancer gene mutation carriers.

Grants & Funding

Grants

Over the last three years, PRG has received grants and funding totalling $1,767,420, administered through the Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW.  Collaborative grants not listed. 

Development of an online interactive depression risk assesment and tailored prevntative intervention for healthy young people at high risk of depression or bipolar disorder Wilde A, Mitchell P, Meiser B, Proudfoot J, Trevena L, Lenroot R, Schofield P beyondblue National Priority Driven Research

2012

2013

$130,000

$70,000

Communication Skills training for oncology health care professionals working with culturally and linguistically diverse patients Meiser B, Kissane D, Girgis A, Butow P, Goldstein D, Hale S, Perry A, Aranda S, Sargeant C ARC Linkage Grant LP120200074

2012

2013

2014

2015

 

$28,465

$56,931

$56,931

$28,465

Impact of risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy on sexual function and non-cancer outcomes in young high-risk women: A Prospective Study Hickey M, Mitchell G, Meiser B, Wark J, Judd F, Davey MA, Wrede CD, Lindeman G National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, Project Grant. APP1048023

2013

2014

2015

$165,277

$155,527

$160,402

 

The Inherited Cancer Connect (ICon) Partnership Mitchell G, Ward R, Dawkins H, Meiser B, Macrae F, Hiller J, Kirk J, Scott C, Pachter N, James P, Trainer A, Lindeman G, Suthers G, Campbell I, Saunders C, McGraughan J, Yound MA, Fox S NSW Cancer Council, Strategic Research Partnership Grant (ID SRP 13-02)

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

$391,953

$391,953

$391,953

$391,953

$391,953

Psychosocial implications of genetic counselling and testing

Meiser B.  Career Development Award, Level 2

National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia APP1003921

2011

2012

2013

2014

$106,230

$106,230

$106,230

$106,230

Psychosocial implications of cancer genetic counselling and testing

Meiser B.  Career Development Fellowship

Cancer Institute NSW 

2010

2011

2012

$199,923

$199,341

$199,991

Too much, too soon? The impact of treatment-focused genetic testing in patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Meiser B, Mitchell G, Tucker K, Saunders C, Geelhoed E, Hopper J, Watts K.

Cancer Australia,  Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme   

2010

2011

2012

$199,145

$196,375

$199,020

The development and trial of tailored psycho-educational resources for melanoma patients

Kasparian N, Meiser B, Menzies S, Mann G, Butow P, Barlow-Stewart K.

Cancer Council NSW 

2010

2011

 

$71,250

$71,250

 

Opportunities

  • Research Students

    PRG has research opportunities for PhD, Masters, ILP and Honours students. Please contact A/Prof Bettina Meiser to discuss a potential research project.

Donations

If you are interested in contributing to our work, there are funding opportunities to help us establish scholarhips for postgraduate research students or to support our research projects.

Group contacts