1980 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Jennie Ponsford is the Director of the Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre which was created in 2000. Its aim is to conduct research in trauma rehabilitation, with a view to reducing long-term disability. Over 20 psychologists and researchers are associated with the centre and form a dynamic research team. Affiliated Monash staff include Dr Rene Stolwyk, Dr Catherine Willmott, Dr Adam McKay, Dr Dana Wong, Prof John Olver, Dr Michael Ponsford, Dr Rose Acher, Dr Pamela Ross, Dr Marina Downing,  Dr Kate Gould, Ms Meagan Carty, Ms Amelia Hicks, Dr Sylvia Nguyen, Dr Jessica Trevena-Peters, Dr Kathryn Biernacki, Dr Jacqueline Owens, Dr Coco Bernard, Ms Toni Withiel, Mr David Lawson, Ms Courtney Baxter and A/Prof Gavin Williams.

The TAC is the largest financial supporter of the Centre, providing substantial funding for the longitudinal head injury outcome study and associated projects via the Institute for Safety Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR). The NHMRC, Australian Research Council, Epworth Research Institute, Monash University, the Jack Brockhoff Foundation, William Buckland Foundation, and the Department of Human Services have also supported specific projects. The Research Centre has strong links with the Monash institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, School of Psychological Sciences at Monash University, where Professor Ponsford is Director of Clinical Programs, convening a doctoral trianing program in clinical neuropsychology. Numerous doctoral students conduct research within the Centre.

The research being conducted by the MERRC is recognised internationally, as is evident from the significant number of invited international conference presentations made by Professor Ponsford and her associates, her election as the first Australian President of the Internaitonal Neuropsychological Society, her inclusion on panels constituted by the US Department of Defense and the World Health Organisation, her invitation to submit reviews to high profile journals such as the British Medical Journal, Current Opinion in Neurology and Nature Clinical Practice Neurology, and the calibre of its numerous journal publications.   The information booklets produced in the mild TBI outcomes studies have been requested by over 100 different clinical and research bodies worldwide and translated into several languages and used in a recent cluster randomised trial to improve Emergency Department management of mild TBI. This work is thus having a significant impact on the field. Outcome after moderate and severe traumatic brain injury has been examined in considerable breadth, in terms of psychosocial functioning, employment, cognition, coping, pain, psychiatric health, sexual functioning, and family relationships. The impact of genetic factors, age and other demogrpahic factors on outcome is a focus of study, including  cultural influences upon outcome. Developing effective management protocols have been a recent focus of hte work of the Centre, including management of patients in PTA, rehabilitation of cognitive and behavioural dysfunction, and development and evaluation of community-based models of rehabilitation. Our outcome data has highlighted the high frequency of anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain and alcohol use and identified some factors associated with these problems, including coping style, which in turn has sparked further inquiry into psychiatric outcome for survivors of TBI, and psychological factors which affect functional outcome. Based on these investigations treatments have been developed and are being evaluaterd in world-first controlled trials focusing on anxiety and depression, fatigue and sleep disturbance, attention, memory and executive function, challenging behaviour and delivery of therapy to patients in post-traumatic amnesia. 

These treatment trials have recently expanded to provide treatment for stroke patients in the domains of fatigue and sleep disturbance and memory problems, with Drs Rene Stolwyk, Dr Dana Wong   and Dr Adam McKay leading this work. Telehealth interventions are also being evaluated.

Dr Catherine Willmott has expanded the Centre's work on concussion in partnership with the AFL and NHMRC, evlauting the use of accelerometers to assess head impact in football and the use of soft headgear for protection of footballers. 

Jennie Ponsford  has published over 270 journal articles and book chapters, as well as two books on the management of traumatic brain injury.  Professor Ponsford is Past-President of the International Neuropsychological Society, Past-President of the International Association for the Study of Traumatic Brain Injury and Past-President of the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment (ASSBI), and currently serves currently on the Executive of the International Brain Injury Association and ASSBI. She is a member of the Editorial Board of five journals, including the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society Brain Injury, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Brain Impairment  and NeuroRehabilitation

In 2013 Jennie Ponsford was awarded the Robert L. Moody prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury and Rehabilitation, an international award made by the University of Texas Medical Branch.

In 2014 she was elected Monash Supervisor of the Year by the Monash Postgraduate Association.

In 2015 she was awarded the INS Paul Satz Career Mentoring Award.

In 2017 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished contributions to neuropsychology and seminal advances in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injury.

Monash teaching commitment

DPSY5262 - Case analysis and professional practice in neuropsychology 1

DPSY5265 - Neuropsychological syndromes

DPSY6162 - Case analysis and professional practice in neuropsychology 2

DPSY6262 - Case analysis and professional practice in neuropsychology 3

DPSY6263 - Recovery of function and rehabilitation after brain injury

Education/Academic qualification

Clinical Neuropsychology, PhD, La Trobe University

BA Hons, University of Melbourne

MA (Clinical Neuropsychology), University of Melbourne

External positions

Professor of Neuropsychology, Epworth HealthCare

Research area keywords

  • Attention
  • Brain Imaging
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Intervention Studies
  • Intervention, Agents for (Health/Safety/Medical)
  • Neuropsychology
  • Outcomes Research
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

Factors Associated with Response to Adapted Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety and Depression following Traumatic Brain Injury

Ponsford, J., Lee, N. K., Wong, D., McKay, A., Haines, K., Downing, M., Alway, Y., Furtado, C. & O'Donnell, M. L., Mar 2020, In : The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 35, 2, p. 117-126 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Factors facilitating recovery following severe traumatic brain injury: A qualitative study

Downing, M., Hicks, A., Braaf, S., Myles, D., Gabbe, B., Cameron, P., Ameratunga, S. & Ponsford, J., 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Introduction to the JINS Special Issue on Rehabilitation

Ponsford, J., Sander, A. & Spikman, J., Jan 2020, In : Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 26, 1, p. 3-6 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

Open Access

Patient Outcomes at Twelve Months after Early Decompressive Craniectomy for Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury in the Randomized DECRA Clinical Trial

Cooper, D. J., Rosenfeld, J. V., Murray, L., Arabi, Y. M., Davies, A. R., Ponsford, J., Seppelt, I., Reilly, P., Wiegers, E., Wolfe, R. & for the DECRA Trial Investigators and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group, 1 Mar 2020, In : Journal of Neurotrauma. 37, 5, p. 810-816 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Patterns of Cognitive Test Scores and Symptom Complaints in Persons with TBI Who Failed Performance Validity Testing

Sherer, M., Sander, A. M., Ponsford, J., Vos, L., Poritz, J. M. P., Ngan, E. & Leon Novelo, L., 27 May 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


2017 Epworth Research Leader of the Year

Ponsford, Jennie (Recipient), 8 Jun 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Fellowship of the Australian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment

Ponsford, Jennie (Recipient), May 2002

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

International Neuropsychological Society Paul Satz Career Mentoring Award

Ponsford, Jennie (Recipient), 1 Jul 2015

Prize: National/international honour

Monash Postgraduate Association Supervisor of the Year

Ponsford, Jennie (Recipient), Dec 2014

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


  • 1 Membership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board

Australian Psychological Society (External organisation)

Jennie Ponsford (Member)

1 Jan 1980

Activity: Industry, Government and Philanthropy Engagement and PartnershipsMembership of an advisory panel/policy group/ board