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Background: Ms Gainsford completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) and Bachelor of Psychological Sciences (Honours) at Deakin University where she used non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques to explore the role of visual perception in the aetiology of Autism. She has been working in NIBS research since 2016 at Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre and Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health where she has been responsible for the co-ordination of double-blind, randomised controlled trials in clinical populations including schizophrenia and treatment resistant depression using NIBS techniques and ketamine treatment respectively. She has also worked closely with people with Alzheimer’s Disease and the healthy aging population.
Research focus: Ms Gainsford's doctoral research focuses on improving social cognition treatments for schizophrenia. Social cognitive impairment has significant impacts on daily functioning and current treatments are limited in their effectiveness, are highly intensive, and have low ecological validity. There is increasing interest in virtual reality (VR) as an ecologically valid intervention for social cognitive impairment. There is also growing evidence to support the use of non-invasive brain stimulation for enhancing social cognition. Ms Gainsford’s research is investigating, for the first time, the integration of VR and brain stimulation to develop a biological and ecologically valid therapy for social cognitive impairment.