Associate Professor Mathew Summers - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Associate Professor Mathew Summers

PhD Monash, MPsych (Clin.Neuropsych) La Trobe, BBehavSc(Hons) La Trobe


  • Associate Professor, Psychology
  • School of Health and Behavioural Sciences
  • Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology)/Bachelor of Criminology & Justice
  • Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
  • Shared Program Coordinator, Bachelor Social Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Counselling
  • Shared Program Coordinator, Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) Years 1-3
+61 7 5456 3758
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Associate Professor Mathew Summers

Associate Professor Mathew Summers, a member of the Discipline of Psychology at the University of the Sunshine Coast, is an AHPRA registered and endorsed Clinical Neuropsychologist and member of the APS College of Clinical Neuropsychologists. Mathew was appointed to the 2018 Australian Research Council (ARC) Excellence in Research (ERA) Medical and Health Sciences Research Evaluation Committee (REC).

Mathew leads Aging and Dementia research within the Discipline of Psychology; a core area of need for the Sunshine Coast community. The research centre led by Mathew encompasses four key themes for research activity and engagement with the Sunshine Coast community, and as of December 2019 has attracted in excess of A$8.2 million in research funding and has led to 60 publications:

  1. Diagnosis – Two prospective longitudinal cohort studies resulted in diagnosis of preclinical dementia more than 2 years prior to dementia onset with >84% accuracy. This research has recently been expanded to incorporate biomarker methods to further increase diagnostic accuracy of preclinical stages of dementia,
  2. Prevention – evidence based studies of enhancement of function in healthy older adults to prevent age-related cognitive decline (ARCD) and dementia. Mathew is co-project leader of the NHMRC funded Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project, a world-first prospective longitudinal project examining the potential of late life education to prevent ARCD and dementia. In addition, he is leading research investigating the link between cardiovascular diseases and dementia to reduce dementia risk.
  3. Intervention – evidence-based studies of non-pharmacological methods to treat dementia and pre-clinical dementia syndromes. Mathew is Lead and Principal Investigator of an NHMRC and EU HORIZON2020 funded multinational collaborative project to detect and treat pre-frailty conditions in community residing older adults (my-AHA project). This project will ICT based systems to identify and treat frailty in community residing older adults to reduce need for residential care facilities. He also leads a research project examining the potential of non-pharmacological interventions (mindfulness and computer-based cognitive training) to enhance core cognitive functions in older adults. The results of this study will lead to future clinical trials in patients with mild cognitive impairment and early stage dementia.
  4. Quality of Life (QoL) – evidence based examination of methods to enhance the quality of life of dementia sufferers in secure aged-care facilities. Emerging research collaborations with local aged care providers have been developed to research the effect of facility design and environment factors on quality of life and quality of care of residents in secure dementia care facilities.

Follow Mathew at these other sites:

Professional memberships

  • Registered Psychologist, Clinical Neuropsychology endorsed (Psychology Board of Australia)
  • Member of the Australian Psychological Society
  • Member of the APS College of Clinical Neuropsychologists
  • Member of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • Member of the American Psychological Association
  • Member of the Alzheimer’s Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research and Treatment (ISTAART)
  • Member of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) Translational Research Faculty

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • Influence of exercise on cognitive function
  • Neuropsychological aspects of dementia and preclinical stages of dementia
  • Healthy aging – cognitive and neuropsychological aspects

Research grants

Grant/Project name  Investigators  Funding body  Year(s)  Focus
my-AHA: My active and healthy aging Summers, M.J. & Smith, S. NHMRC-European Union Project Grant (APP1115818) (A$496,081.20) 2016–2019 Early risk detection and intervention for age-related frailty
The Tasmanian Health Brain Project:  A longitudinal intervention study to reduce the risk of ageing-related cognitive decline and dementia Vickers, J.C, Summers, M.J., Valenzuela, M.J., Summers, J.J., King, A., Robinson, A., & Srikanth, V. NHMRC Project Grant (APP1108794) (A$878,790.50) 2016–2020 A longitudinal intervention study to reduce the risk of ageing-related cognitive decline and dementia
My active and healthy ageing (HORIZON2020-PHC-21-2015:  Advancing active and healthy ageing with ICT: Early risk detection and intervention) Vercelli, A., Rainero, I., Rocca, P., Isaia, G. ... Summers, M.J. & Smith, S. European Commission Research Consortium grant (A$6,890,572)  2016–2020 ICT-based intervention for frailty
Assessing cognitive impairment in cardiovascular patients: Predictive assessment of dementia related microvascular brain disease Summers, M.J., Greaves, K., & Klekociuk, S.Z. Wishlist Sunshine Coast Health Foundation (A$19,668)  2015–2017 Cognitive screening of cardiovascular patients
The Healthy Brain Project: A prospective cohort study to examine how later-life university education may affect the trajectory of ageing-related cognitive decline Vickers, J., Summers, M.J., Valenzuela, M., Summers, J.J., Ritchie, K., & Robinson, A NHMRC Project Grant (APP1003645) (A$1,031,442)   2011–2016  
A phase 1b, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of the safety, tolerability, preliminary efficacy and pharmacodynamics of BTD-001 in young adults and adolescents with Down Syndrome Summers, M.J. & Strong, J. Research Consultancy, Novotech (Australia Pty Ltd) (A$90,120)  2013  
Evaluation of a multidimensional cognitive enhancement training program for healthy older adults Summers, J.J., Elder, S.J., Summers, M.J., & Vickers, J.C.  ARC Linkage Grant (LP0991044)  (A$327,583) 2009–2011  
The role of the ApoE gene in cognitive performance following traumatic brain injury 

Pritchett, C., Skilbeck, C., Summers, M.J., & Dickson, T.

Cradle Coast Cross Boundary Research Fund $2,460 2010  
Neuromotor and neuropsychological assessment of staff in Groote Eylandt: Phase II  Summers, J.J., Hannan, G.J. & Summers, M.J. Research Consultancy, Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) ($68,692)  2008  
Study of Tasmanian Outcomes in Intensive Care (STOIC – Pilot Study) and (STOIC-2) 24 month follow up Marsden, K., Summers, M.J., Turner, A., Bell, T., & Beswick, A. Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation Grant (06-346S/08-369) (A$13,773)  2008  

A longitudinal study of psychological and neuromotor effects of low level manganese exposure

Summers, J.J., Hannan, G.J., Summers, M.J., & McLean, S.R. ARC Linkage Grant (LP0455174) (A$185,301) 2004–2007   
Neural correlates of performance trade-offs and interference in dual-task performance Summers, J.J., Martin, F., Temprado, J.J., & Summers, M.J. ARC Discovery Grant (DP0451217) (A$200,000)  2004–2007   
Neuromotor and neuropsychological assessment of staff in Groote Eylandt Summers, J.J., Hannan, G.J., & Summers, M.J. Research Consultancy, Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) (A$68,750) 2006  
A study of Tasmanian Outcomes in Intensive Care (STOIC) pilot Study Marsden, K., Turner, A., Summers, M.J., Bell, T., Beswick, A., & Trubody, V. Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation Grant (06-346S/08-369) (A$15,000) 2006  
Event-related potentials (ERP) as a diagnostic tool of attention dysfunction in closed head injury Summers, M.J. & Martin, F. MAIB Injury Prevention and Management Foundation research grant (A$130,007) 2003–2006  
Effects of resistance exercise in a gym on physiological and cognitive functioning in older adults Skilbeck, C.E., Ball, M.J., Williams, A., Martin, F., Summers, J.J., & Summers, M.J. University of Tasmania Institutional Research Grant Scheme (A$17,000) 2004  
The long-term effects of low exposures to manganese dust and fume on neuromuscular and psychological functioning: A longitudinal approach Summers, J.J, Hannan, G.J. & Summers, M.J. Research Consultancy, Tasmanian Electrometallurgical Company (TEMCO) (A$36,364) 2004  
Inattentional blindness: The effects of frontal lobe damage Summers, M.J. MAIB Injury Prevention and Management Foundation (A$9,856) 2002  
Portable ERP machine purchase Summers, M.J. & Martin, F. UTAS Faculty of Science & Engineering Major Equipment Grant (A$83,250) 2002  

Research areas

  • neuropsychology
  • dementia
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • My-AHA (My Active and Healthy Ageing)

Selected publications

  • Stefanidis, K.B., Askew, C.D., Greaves, K., & Summers, M.J. (2018). The effect of non-stroke cardiovascular disease states on risk for cognitive decline and dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychology Review, 28(1), 1-15. doi: 10.1007/s11065-017-9359-z.
  • Isbel, B., & Summers, M.J. (2017). Distinguishing the cognitive processes of mindfulness: Developing a standardised mindfulness technique for use in longitudinal randomised control trials. Consciousness and Cognition, 52, 75-92. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2017.04.019
  • Summers, M.J., Madl, T., Vercelli, A.E., Aumayr, G., Bleier, D.M., & Ciferri, L. (2017). Deep machine learning application to the detection of preclinical neurodegenerative diseases of aging. DigitCult: Scientific Journal on Digital Cultures, 2 (2), 9-24. doi: 10.4399/97888255088952.
  • Summers, M.J., Thow, M.E., Ward, D.D., Saunders, N.L., Klekociuk, S.Z., Imlach, A-R., Summers, J.J., & Vickers, J.C. (2017). Validation of a dynamic measure of current cognitive reserve in a longitudinally assessed sample of healthy older adults: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project. Assessment, advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1073191116685806.
  • Thow, M.E., Summers, M.J., Saunders, N.L., Summers, J.J., Ritchie, K., & Vickers, J.C. (2018). Further education improves cognitive reserve and triggers improvement in selective cognitive functions in older adults: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, 10, 22-30. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2017.08.004
  • Weissberger, G.H., Strong, J.V., Stefanidis, K.B., Summers, M.J., Bondi, M.W., & Stricker, N.H. (2017). Diagnostic accuracy of memory measures in Alzheimer’s dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychology Review, 27(4), 354-388. doi: 10.1007/s11065-017-9360-6.

Associate Professors Mathew Summers’ specialist areas of knowledge include the neuropsychological assessment of children and adults for a range of disorders of brain function. In addition, he has extensive research experience in the diagnosis of dementia in older adults and in early detection of adults at increased risk of developing dementia (mild cognitive impairment).

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