Phillip Tully

Dr Phillip Tully

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Phillip J. Tully is a registered psychologist and researcher in the Discipline of Medicine at The University of Adelaide. He is a NSW Regional Health Partners Knowledge Translation Fellow (with University of New England), and a postdoctoral fellow of Bordeaux University (France) and Freiburg University (Germany).

I lead the 'Vascular and Brain Health' group. Our primary aim is to advance understandings of the interplay between vascular factors and brain health. Taking a broad approach, our group researches cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases and related risk factors such as high blood pressure, examining the bidirectional links with brain outcomes including cerebrovascular diseases, small vessel disease on MRI, depression and anxiety disorders, anhedonia, apathy, cognitive impairment, and dementia. Our research themes incorporate biostatistics, epidemiology and cohort studies, meta-analyses (aggregate and IPD), clinical trials, consumer engagement and qualitative research, and evidence-translation into practice.

The Vascular and Brain Health research group also leads and coordinates a large international consortium examining blood pressure, and its variability, in relation to brain health. Consequently, there is a large and rich dataset from collaborators in the USA, UK, France, The Netherlands, Japan and Australia, with potential to arrange international laboratory visits or post-doctoral exchanges for interested students (see Project 2).

The Vascular and Brain Health research group is affiliated with the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health (FFCMH), which offers a dynamic and multidisciplinary research environment with an established support network for students. Our FFCMH research is focussed on the role of masculinity and help seeking for mental health. 


Research Project 1

Title: Collaborative depression care in coronary heart disease

Project description: Depression is prevalent in 15-20% of persons with coronary heart disease though treatment outcomes remain poor. Collaborative care has emerged as an efficacious model of depression care in this population in the USA and UK, however, this model of care is not widely implemented in Australia. This implementation science project aims to evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of collaborative depression care in coronary heart disease patients in Australian clinical practice. Embedded within this trial are two qualitative research projects aiming to identify barriers and facilitators to uptake of collaborative depression care, from the perspectives of clinicians, stakeholders, and consumers. 

Projects available for: HDR / Masters

Special requirements: A police check and proof of vaccinations will be required for students performing within hospital assessments.


Research Project 2

Title: Blood pressure variability and brain health (The VARIABLE BRAIN consortium)

Project description: The VARIABLE BRAIN consortium is investigating whether blood pressure variability (BPV) is associated with brain health, independent of mean blood pressure. The consortium is harmonizing individual participant data (IPD) from more than 20 studies to evaluate BPV in relation to cerebral small vessel disease, incident dementia and cognitive impairment, depression, brain atrophy, as well as progression of dementia.

Projects available for: HDR / Masters 

Research Project 3

Title: The importance of blood pressure and its variability to brain health: a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring study 

Project description: A recent line of investigation suggests that fluctuation in a person’s blood pressure over consecutive assessments is a strong predictor of cerebrovascular disease and dementia, over and above a person’s mean blood pressure. However, it is currently unknown whether central or brachial blood pressure variability (BPV) measures are more vital to predict sub-clinical manifestations of cerebrovascular disease. This project will explore BPV’s association with cognitive dysfunction and depression symptoms. Approximately 800 persons will be recruited to undergo 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and a standardized cognitive assessment.

Projects available for: Honours / HDR / Masters

Special requirements: A police check and proof of vaccinations will be required for students performing within hospital assessments.


Research Project 4

Title: Cirdadian rhythms of sleep, eating, stress, and gastrointestinal symptoms

Project description: Prolonged work hours and shift work are linked with risk of gastrointestinal disorders including cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, colitis, and change in defecation routines. It remains largely unknown whether disturbances in gastrointestinal functioning are related to changes in circadian rhythm, sleep, dietary patterns, eating behaviours, and stress or occupational factors such as workload. The itspootime project aims to analyse work hours, occupational stress, sleep and diet in relation to gastrointestinal symptoms.

Projects available for: Honours / HDR / Masters

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Université de Bordeaux
    2013 - 2015 Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Freiburg, Freiburg
    2013 - 2013 Clinical Psychologist Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park
    2012 - 2015 Senior Lecturer Flinders University of South Australia
    2012 - 2013 Honorary Appointment - Clinical Psychologist Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park
    2011 - 2013 Visiting Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2011 - 2013 Clinical Psychologist Health SA
    2011 - 2013 Visiting Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2005 - 2013 Research Assistant Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2015 Award Finalist, Eur Assoc. Psychosomatic Medicine / Elsevier Young Investigator Award
    2015 Award Elsevier outstanding reviewer status – top 10% peer reviews for J Psychosom Med
    2012 Award Editor’s pick best paper #6 2012 JECT year in review “Psychological depression and cardiac surgery: a comprehensive review”
    2012 Award Best Scientific Paper 2012
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    French Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
    German Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2006 - 2011 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia PhD, Masters Psychology (Clinical)
    2000 - 2004 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia B. Health Sciences, Honours in Psychology (First Class)
  • Research Interests

Grants Awarded

Dr. Tully has been awarded more than 2 million in competitive research funding in the last 5 years as CIA/B, and more than 10 million in funding as AI. Current grants for the VARIABLE BRAIN consortium include the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, the Rebecca L. Cooper Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation



I perform various sessional teaching roles at Undergradute and Postgradute level for The University of New England (School of Psychology).

  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2013 - ongoing Cochrane Heart Group
    2013 - ongoing European Society of Cardiology
    2012 - 2013 Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association
    2012 - ongoing Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association
    2011 - ongoing Registered general psychologist AHPRA
    2011 - 2012 Member Grade, Clinical College of Psychologists, Australian Psychology Association
    2011 - ongoing Present International Society for Critical Health Psychology
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Association of Gerontology
    2008 - ongoing Member Menzies Memorial Scholars Association
    2006 - ongoing Member Health, Disability and Lifespan Development Unit, University of Adelaide
  • Phone: 83130514
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences, floor 6
  • Room: WS6062.23
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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