Tanya Duckworth

Miss Tanya Duckworth

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

PhD Candidate (Medicine); Casual Academic

School of Psychology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology & Adelaide Medical School.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity and the effects on cognitive outcomes including the potentially protective effects against cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

Research interests:

In addition to the neural mechanisms of creativity and trauma, I also have a strong interest in endometriosis research, particularly in extra-pelvic endometriosis of the nerves and brain, overall disease aetiology and treatment efficacy. I am an "Endo Champion" (an endometriosis advocate) for Endometriosis Australia. I am a collaborator on multiple endometriosis research projects at Macquarie University, roles as an Associate Investigator on the BEKind Study (Body Image and Psychological Wellbeing in Women with Endometriosis), endometriosis NHMRC grant applications, and a Chief Investigator on the Endometriosis Australia grant funded project ENDOTEXT (now EndoSMS) led by Professor Kerry Sherman. I am also a peer reviewer of endometriosis research at several journals.

2020 Endometriosis Australia Research Grant, ENDOTEXT - Chief Investigator

2012 NHMRC/ARC Strategic Award Grant, The Older Australian Twins Study - Named as Researcher 

2020 Casual Academic at the University of Adelaide

2019 Casual Academic at the University of Sydney


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