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Ageing Research Group

Ageing Research Group

The University of Canberra’s Ageing Research Group draws together researchers from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, whose interests and activities coincide through a shared focus on ageing research as it relates to health and wellbeing. In keeping with the University of Canberra focus on research which makes a difference to society, our research targets the evidence base underpinning practices, programs and policies that impact older people wherever they live, including community, residential and a range of health service settings.

Our research collaborations include the disciplinary areas of epidemiology, nursing, economics, social science, public health policy analysis, dietetics, food and nutrition science, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and exercise science. Our collaborations are local, interstate and international with partnerships involving other universities, local and federal government, national institutions and health, aged care and technology industries.

Our core areas of activity are:

  • aged care
  • nutrition and physical activity
  • healthy ageing and preventive health
  • chronic disease and chronic disease management
  • nursing
  • dementia
  • health services and older people
  • mental health and social wellbeing
  • digital health and assistive technology.


Find out more about our research.

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Assistive technology and older people Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel This project explores the value and feasibility of assistive technology in enabling older people to maintain and enhance their health and wellbeing.
Older people and semi-autonomous vehicles Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel UC researchers Stephen Isbel and Diane Gibson have partnered with the ACT government and Canberra-based company Seeing Machines to explore the potential of semi-autonomous cars in enabling older people to keep driving and maintain social engagement.
Virtual cycling experiences with aged care residents Assoc Prof Jane Frost UC researchers Jane Frost, Nathan D’Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Angie Fearon and Jane Kellett are developing and evaluating virtual cycling experiences for people living in residential aged care
Intergenerational virtual cycling project Assoc Prof Jane Frost UC researchers Jane Frost, Stephen Isbel, Nathan D’Cunha, Angie Fearon and Jane Kellett have partnered with Banksia House and St Peters Anglican College in Broulee to create individualised virtual cycling experiences for residents (subject to ethics approval).
Better quality health information to provide better quality aged care Assoc Prof Kasia Bail

In the Ageo Project, the UC team is working with an innovative local industry partner, undertaking formative and summative evaluations of their pilot implementation of a digital health solution focused on providing better and more accessible patient-centred information to residential aged care staff.

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Evaluation of quality of care in a four bed aged care ward Prof Jennie Scarvell UC staff Jennie Scarvell, Kasia Bail, Stephen Isbel, Jane Kellett in collaboration with Canberra Health Services staff explored quality of care in a four bed geriatric ward in an acute care hospital as part of developing new models of care.
Older people, dementia and hospital care (Completed 2017)Prof Diane Gibson The Hospital Dementia Services project explored service delivery factors that influenced outcomes in hospital for people with dementia. The project was funded by NHMRC and involved colleagues from the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Completed 2017.
Arts-based discussion groups for people living with dementia Mr Nathan D’Cunha Undertaken in collaboration with the National Gallery of Australia, the research is an important contribution as to whether art therapy does ‘make a difference’. The project included cognitive testing, carer reports, lifestyle and measures and bio-markers to measure stress and inflammatory responses.
Pharmacists in residential aged care facilities study. Dr Sam Kosari

The aim of the study is to develop, implement and evaluate a model that integrates on-site pharmacists into residential aged care facilities (RACFs) as part of the care team to improve quality use of medicines.

The project is funded by the CHN through the ACT’s Primary Health Program. The UC research team is Sam Kosari, Mark Naunton, Rachel Davey.
Medication management and dementia in acute care Prof Diane Gibson People with dementia often have complex medication regimens and are at risk of medication problems during multiple transitions of care. This project explored medication processes in acute care episodes and care transitions in order to make recommendations to improve practice.
The National Evaluation of the Nurse Practitioners Models of Practice in Aged Care Program Prof Rachel Davey This evaluation project was undertaken to test the efficacy and feasibility of the pilot program of nurse practitioners in residential aged care.

Cognitive impairment and complex behaviour in a purpose built acute care ward

Assoc Prof Kasia Bail

UC staff in collaboration with Canberra Health Services explored improving care of people with cognitive impairment and complex behavioural needs in purpose-built acute care ward
Transitioning from hospital to residential aged careAssoc Prof Kasia Bail

UC staff and students (Kasia Bail, Daisy Azmi, Todd Kaye, Chrysta Bridge)

in collaboration with Canberra Health Services explored barriers to people transitioning from hospital to residential aged care

Dementia Care in HospitalsAssoc Prof Kasia BailUC staff, Canberra Health Services, and a national team led by Mark Yates and funded by the Commonwealth of Australia implemented the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program (DCH). This study is the largest prospective hospital-based study of cognitive impairment in Australia. The DCH program is unique as it links clinical and non-clinical staff education to an over bedside alert the Cognitive Impairment Identifier (CII).
Aged care services and policy Prof Diane Gibson This project examines current patterns of aged care services from the perspective of policy and practice.
Ageism in healthcare students at UC Dr Daniela Castro De Jong Co-designed educational package to address ageism in healthcare students at UC. The project team is Daniela Castro de Jong, Jane Frost, Jane Kellett and Nathan D’Cunha.
Nutrition and Healthy Ageing Trajectories in  Retirement Living (NutriHAT-RL) Dr Jane Kellett

The overarching aim of the NutriHAT-RL study is to identify nutrition-led effects associated with the healthy ageing trajectories that can potentially pose an impact on the onset and development of chronic disease starting with a detailed assessment of nutritional status, dietary intake and behaviours, physical function, cognitive performance and social determinants and quality of life in 2,500 individuals aged 55 years of age and over residing in the retirement villages in the ACT region. The research team is Jane Kellett, Nenad Naumovski, Stephen Isbel, and Nathan D’Cunha.

Project Website:

Dance for Wellbeing – More than the Movement Dr Suzanne Carroll The Dance for Wellbeing program provides dance classes for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and their carers at the Belconnen Arts Centre and Tuggeranong Arts Centre as well as dance performance opportunities. This research project is a qualitative exploration of the experiences of Dance for Wellbeing participants with a focus on wellbeing aspects related to participating in the classes and related dance performances. The project team is Suzanne Carroll and Kasia Bail.
UC CARE (Understanding Compassionate care awareness respect and empathy) Assoc Prof Jane Frost With Jane Kellett and Stephen Isbel, the UCCARE program involves a partnership with Warrigal Aged Care, employing and evaluating an innovative education module targeting care staff with the aim of increasing empathetic, compassionate and respectful interactions.
Supported decision-making and individual advocacy as tools to assist older persons experiencing elder abuse Prof Karen Strickland, Assoc Prof Kasia Bail UC researchers Professor Karen Strickland, Dr Kasia Bail, Dr Sarah Cope, and Mr Murrray Turner are reviewing Supported decision-making and individual advocacy as tools to assist older persons experiencing elder abuse. The project is funded by ADACA.S.


NameDiscipline Research interest
Assoc Prof Rachel BaconNutrition and DieteticsNutrition,  aged care, digital health, palliative care, mental health
Assoc Prof Kasia Bail Nursing Nursing, quality of care, aged care, dementia, digital health
Prof Nick Brown UC Clinical School Movement and motor control
Assoc Prof Tricia Brown Psychology Mental health and social wellbeing
Dr Suzanne Carroll Public Health Epidemiology, physical activity, chronic disease, mental health
Dr Daniela Castro De Jong Occupational Therapy Ageism, dementia, rehabilitation
Dr Dimity Crisp Psychology Mental health and social wellbeing
Prof Rachel Davey Public Health Preventive health, physical activity, chronic disease, health services, digital health
Adjunct Prof Paresh DawdaMedicine

Primary care, chronic and complex care, multi-disciplinary care

Mr Nathan D’Cunha Nutrition and Dietetics Dementia, carers, art therapy, bio-markers, nutrition, assistive technology
Dr Angie Fearon Physiotherapy Rehabilitation, healthy ageing, hip pain, patient reported outcome measures
Assoc Prof Jane Frost Nursing Aged care, dementia, assistive technology
Prof Diane Gibson Ageing and social policy Aged care, dementia, health services, digital health, assistive technology
Ms Jo GibsonNursing

nursing, palliative care, ageism and clinical leadership and followership

Adjunct Assoc Prof John Goss Economics Health services, chronic disease, health economics
Ms Alicia Hind Nursing Nursing, aged care, sexuality and gender diversity
Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel Occupational Therapy Assistive technology, dementia, rehabilitation, aged care, health services
Dr Jane Kellett Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition, healthy ageing , palliative care, mental health, malnutrition
Dr Sam Kosari Pharmacy Aged care, pharmacy
Assoc Prof Tanya Lawlis Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition, food security and social inequality
Mr. Vincent LearnihanPublic HealthSpatial epidemiology, built/social environments, mental health and wellbeing
Dr Chandra Makanjee Medical imaging Health services, medical imaging
Assoc Prof Nenad NaumovskiNutrition and Dietetics Nutrition, bio-markers, healthy ageing trajectories and preventive health
Dr James Neill Psychology Green space, physical activity, mental health and social wellbeing
Dr Holly Northam Nursing Health services, social justice in health care, end of life care
Dr Joe NortheySports and Exercise Science physical activity and neuro-cognition, exercise and the ageing brain
Prof Mark NauntonPharmacy

Medicine safety (national health priority) Pharmacoeconomics, quality use of medicines, Gender and ethnicity, Physical activity, Infectious Disease

Assoc Prof Catherine Paterson Nursing Nursing, cancer care
Assoc Prof Ben RattrayExercise physiology

Physical activity, cognition, brain, health ageing

Prof Jennie Scarvell Physiotherapy Rehabilitation, chronic disease, health services
Assoc Prof Helen Southwood Speech Pathology Rehabilitation, communication and neurological problems, dementia
Prof Karen Strickland Nursing Nursing, cancer, chronic illness and end of life care, health services, aged care
Dr Kellie Toohey Exercise science Physical activity, chronic disease
Ms Emily WallisNursing

Nursing, aged care

HDR Students

Name Project description
Elizabeth Low

Dietary inflammatory index score (DII) in people aged 55 years and over living independently in the Australian Capital Territory – a mixed methods study.

Panel: Primary Supervisor: Dr Jane Kellett, Secondary Supervisors: Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel, Assoc Prof Rachel Bacon
Georgina Britton

Effect of nutritional interventions on quality of life (QoL) in patients with advanced head and neck cancer receiving no anti-cancer treatments

Panel: Primary Supervisor: Dr Jane Kellett, Secondary Supervisors: Assoc Prof Rachel Bacon, Dr Jodie Ellis
Peta Harbour

Social group influences on self-management of chronic illness in the baby boomer generation

Panel: Assoc Prof Kasia Bail, Prof Diane Gibson, Dr Mary-Ellen Hooper
Brittany Harriden

The effects of processed food consumption on mental health and cognition in people living in retirement villages.

Supervisory Panel; A/Prof Nenad Naumovski, Dr Jane Kellett, A/Prof Stephen Isbel, Prof Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Alicia Hind – PhD student

Rainbow Ready? A Qualitative Study of Residential Aged Care and the LGBTIQ Community

Panel: Prof Patrick Crookes, Prof Karen Strickland

Vincent Learnihan

Neighbourhood risk conditions for mental health and wellbeing: A case study of mid to older aged Australians.

Panel: Primary Supervisor:  Associate Professor Yohannes Kinfu      Secondary Supervisor: Professor Gavin Turre

Nathan D'Cunha

Engaging Activities for People Living with Dementia in Residential Aged Care

Panel: Assoc Prof Nenad Naumovski, Assoc Prof Andrew McKune, Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel

Amanda Bulman

The effects of L-theanine as a functional ingredient on quality of sleep

Supervisory Panel; Assoc Prof Nenad Naumovski, Assoc Prof Andrew McKune, Dr Wolfgang Marx (Deakin University)

Chun Pong Liu (Felix)

Prevalence and Predictors of Malnutrition in People Living in Retirement Village Environment - Canberra ACT Cross-Sectional Study

Supervisory Panel; Dr jane Kellett, Assoc Prof Nenad Naumovski, Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel, Prof Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Completed  PhD

NameProject description
Nicole Derby

Proximity and partnerships: embedding pharmacists in Australian aged care homes to improve quality use of medicines.

Professor Mark Naunton, Assistant Professor Sam Kosari, Associate Professor Kasia Bail and Associate Professor Alison Shield

Completed 2020

Jennifer Hutchinson (Honours)

The dietary patterns of older people living in retirement villages and associations with anxiety and depression

Panel: Dr Jane Kellett, Assoc Prof Stephen Isbel, Assoc Prof Nenad Naumovski, Mr Nathan D’Cunha