Higher Degree by Research Candidate
School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
I am undertaking a PhD in biological psychology and cognitive neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Nicholas Burns and Dr Irina Baetu.
The goal of my research is to identify the neural substrate (particularly neurogenetics, physiological structures, and frontal cortico-basal ganglia pathways) of the mechanisms involved in higher-order cognition, intelligence, and motor control. To do this, I test theoretical neural networks that might subserve these functions using traditional individual differences methods, computational and mathematical models, genotyping, EEG, neurostimulation techniques, and behavioural testing. The cognitive processes that I target are those affected by psychiatric dysfunction or pathological degeneration, such as response inhibition and cognitive control.
Additionally, I am interested in identifying where such mechanisms can be separated into discrete psychonomic processes, and how they concatenate to form the target mechanisms. Where existing psychometric tasks are unable to discretise these mechanisms, we develop and program novel ones.
More broadly, my work is concerned with the biological processes and psychometrics of individual differences in intelligence, and investigating potential targets for interventions to enhance cognitive and motor functions in healthy individuals, and to offset the decline in those functions associated with disease states.
As a member of the Cognitive Neural Sciences Lab with Dr Irina Baetu, Prof Nicholas Burns, Lauren Heidenreich, Salvatore Russo, and Brittany Child, I am involved with research in cognition and emotion and their neural underpinnings. We investigate how we learn from our experiences and how this learning guides our choices, as well as how we are able to exert cognitive control. These abilities are critical to our everyday functioning since making optimal decisions based on past experience ensures that we maximise positive outcomes and minimise aversive consequences. We study how these abilities change during ageing and in Parkinson’s disease. We are especially interested in discovering genetic variation that may help us preserve these abilities, as this might help the development of new preventative measures and treatments for cognitive decline. To do this, we are particularly interested in computational modelling and the neurogenetics of the basal ganglia.
Date Position Institution name 2016 Tutor University of Adelaide 2014 Lab Assistant University of Adelaide 2013 - 2015 Research Assistant University of Adelaide
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2013 Scholarship Undergraduate Research Scholarship University of Adelaide Australia —
Date Institution name Country Title 2016 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 2012 - 2015 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons, First Class)
Date Title Institution Country 2018 Investigating neural substrates of perception and cognition with large-scale data Allen Institute for Brain Science United States 2018 Computational Neuroscience Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin Germany
Year Citation 2018 Beu, N., Burns, N., & Baetu, I. (2018). Polymorphisms in dopaminergic genes predict proactive inhibition in a Go/No-Go task. Poster session presented at the meeting of Conference programme: 48th Behavior Genetics Annual Meeting 2018. Cambridge, USA: Behavior Genetics Association. 2018 Beu, N. D., Burns, N. R., & Baetu, I. (2018). Polymorphisms in dopaminergic genes predict proactive inhibition in a Go/No-Go task. Poster session presented at the meeting of Forum for European Neuroscience Societies Forum of Neuroscience. Berlin, Germany. 2017 Beu, N. D., Burns, N. R., & Baetu, I. (2017). Polymorphisms in dopaminergic genes predict proactive inhibition in a Go/No-Go task. Poster session presented at the meeting of Experimental Psychology Conference. Newcastle, Australia. 2016 Beu, N. D., Burns, N. R., & Baetu, I. (2016). tDCS differentially modulates response inhibition processes disturbed by disease. Poster session presented at the meeting of Florey Postgraduate Conference. Adelaide, Australia.
I have been employed as a Teaching Assistant and/or Tutor for the following courses, which involved preparing and delivering tutorials, SGDEs, workshops (on power analysis, and on academic writing style), and seminars (e.g., on mathematical/neurological models of learning and attention); grading assessment pieces, reports, and research proposals; consultation; and, moderating lectures and flipped classrooms (on psychometrics of intelligence):
Individual Differences, Personality, and Assessment (2017 - 2019)
Learning and Behaviour (2016, 2018)
Health and Lifespan Development Psychology (2016)
Doing Research in Psychology (2019)
Foundations of Perception and Cognition (2019)
Psychology 1A (2016 - 2018)
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2017 - ongoing Director Adelaide Postgraduate Student Association University of Adelaide Australia 2017 - ongoing Board Member Health Sciences Postgraduate Association University of Adelaide — 2015 - ongoing Representative School Committee University of Adelaide —
Date Role Membership Country 2018 - ongoing Member Behavior Genetics Association United States 2017 - ongoing Member Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Australia 2017 - ongoing Co-Chair Brain and Cognition Group Australia 2017 - ongoing Member EEG Club Australia
Date Topic Presented at Institution Country 2018 - 2018 Age moderates the genetic effect of why we make simple errors and how we correct them The Laboratory of Neural Computation and Cognition Carney Institute for Brain Science, Brown University United States 2018 - 2018 Limitations and new directions for investigating response inhibition The Laboratory of Neural Computation and Cognition Carney Institute for Brain Science, Brown University United States
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