Our staff - Researchers


Associate Professor Andrew Lewis

Chief Researcher

Associate Professor Andrew Lewis is a clinical psychologist and research academic at the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Deakin. His research is in the field of infant, child and adolescent mental health. He has been involved in direct clinical and research work for over twenty years with organisations including the Royal Childrens Hospital, Orygen Youth Mental Health, Mercy Hospital for Women and Deakin University. His research has investigated many aspects of child and adolescent development with a focus in particular on the social, emotional, attachment and biological factors that contribute to the development of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Prof Lewis has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. Prof Lewis currently undertakes clinical and research work within the Mercy Hospital for both the Victorian Psychotropic Registry Project and the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing study in addition to his role as Chief Investigator for the current multicentre trial, 'Family Options'.

Professor John Toumbourou

Chief Researcher

Prof John Toumbourou is the Chair in Health Psychology within the School of Psychology at Deakin University. He is an active and well-recognised researcher and social advocate in multiple fields of study, including positive youth development, drug abuse prevention and treatment and adolescent health promotion. His research has had significant national and international policy impact, having published over 180 articles and 50 referred journal papers. He has been involved in the development of 'Communities That Care' and 'Resilient Families' and in 2005 he was awarded a 5-year Vic Health Senior Research Fellowship for his research program focusing on healthy youth development. Prof Toumbourou currently retains an honorary appointment as a Senior Research Fellow within the Murdoch Children's Research Institute at the Centre for Adolescent Health in addition to his role as Chief Researcher for the 'Family Options Study'.

Dr Tess Knight

Chief Researcher

Dr Knight is a senior lecturer and qualitative researcher within the School of Psychology at Deakin University. She has played a significant role in the conceptualization, development and implementation of multiple research projects. As a registered psychologist and relationship counselor, she also assists in the implementation of multiple interventions. Dr Knight's research expertise encompasses developmental and health psychology, in particular, the wellbeing of older adults. In 2005, she was nominated for the Vice-Chancellors award for Outstanding Achievement and in 2006, was awarded the Jim and Alison Leslie award for excellence in teaching. Tess is also a Member and Fellow for the College of Deakin Educators and a Member of the Faculty Board for the Student Affairs Committee and plays a critical role in the Family Options evaluation team, assisting in the development and evaluation of the programs.

Dr Melanie Bertino

Associate Researcher and Project Manager

Dr Melanie Bertino is a registered clinical and health psychologist and post-doctoral research fellow in the school of psychology at Deakin University. Her clinical research is focused on youth mental health, youth depression, and the family. She also has an active research interest in trauma, health psychology and chronic conditions. She played a significant role in managing the 'Deakin Family Options Pilot Study' and is now the Project Manager of the current multicentre randomized controlled 'Family Options Study'. She has published peer reviewed papers and presented at conferences on adolescent mental health. Dr Bertino is also a practicing psychologist and conducts clinical assessments and provides evidence-based therapies for persons with complex mental health problems, and provides both clinical and research supervision to provisional psychologists.

Associate Professor Lina Ricciardelli

Associate Researcher

A/Professor Ricciardelli is currently a senior researcher and lecturer within the School of Psychology at Deakin University. Lina is a highly acclaimed researcher, having published over 90 papers in the fields of health and developmental psychology. Ricciardelli's research interests include the development of body image concerns, particularly in preadolescent and adolescent boys, disordered eating, substance use and depression in children and adolescents. Lina is also Chair of the College of Health Psychologists in the Australian Psychological Society.

Ms Jo Skewes

Intake Team Leader and Research Fellow

Ms Skewes is the Intake Team Leader for the 'Family Options Program' and a Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University. She has 10 years of assessment and counselling experience working primarily as an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counsellor with both adolescents and adults, and individuals, couples, parents, and families. Jo's previous role was as a generalist counsellor at North Yarra Community Health Centre. Jo has a strong interest in the assessment, early intervention, and treatment of anxiety, depression and dual diagnosis. She has facilitated a broad range of training programs for clinicians regarding AOD issues and has facilitated therapeutic and psycho-educational groups with young people and adults. Jo has recently commenced a PhD program at Deakin University.

Ms Alicia Tompson

Intake Worker and Research Assistant

Ms Tompson is an Intake Worker for the current trial, a registered psychologist and a Masters of Clinical Psychology candidate at Deakin University. Ms Tompson has 4 years of experience conducting clinical assessment and brief therapeutic evidence-based interventions within the Department of Human Services and 12 months case management experience for people with complex and chronic mental health conditions. Ms Tompson is also a qualified Lifeline Telephone Counselor and is currently researching the etiology of schizophrenia, in particular the influence of genetic and early environmental factors.

Miss Nina Borojevic

Data Manager and Research Assistant

Miss Borojevic is the Data Manager and a Research Assistant involved with the project. Nina primarily supports the project though the co-ordination and management of data collection and analysis. She has previously worked as a research assistant, providing help in data analysis required in preparation for manuscript publication. Nina is also currently a Doctorate of Psychology (Health) Candidate in the School of Psychology at Deakin University.

Ms Brittany Watkins

Research Assistant and Group Facilitator

Ms Rebecca Fitzpatrick

Research Assistant

Turning Point

Professor Dan Lubman

Chief Researcher and Industry Partner

Professor Dan Lubman is a Chief Investigator for the current multicentre randomized controlled trial 'Family Options study' and the Director of Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. Dr Lubman has extensive research experience, including the impact of alcohol and drug use on adolescent brain development, the relationship between substance use and mental disorders and the development of interventions and clinical trials within school, primary care, mental health and drug treatment settings. Dr Lubman has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters, and is Chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists' Section of Addiction Psychiatry and an advisory board member of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre and the National Drug Research Institute.

Profile: Dan Lubman

Mr Steven Leicester

Associate Researcher and Industry Partner

Mr Leicester is an Associate Researcher and Industry Partner for the 'Family Options Study'. Steven has extensive experience in both clinical and research roles within youth mental health. He has been involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of a range of research projects, including randomised controlled trials, service evaluation and cognitive studies within adolescent mental health. Mr Leicester also has a background in teaching and has been involved in a range of professional and school based educational programs focusing on mental health awareness and treatment. He is currently nearing completion of a PhD examining cognitive factors associated with the development of psychosis within adolescents.

Beyond blue

Bella Brushin

Industry Partner

Ms Brushin is an Industry Partner for the current multicentre randomised controlled 'Family Options Study' and a Research Advisor at beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Bella has extensive experience both in managerial roles regarding in particular, mental health programs and in research development. Reima will join the steering committee for the project and as such will regularly attend meetings and assist with project direction and dissemination of findings.

Drummond Street Services

Ms Reima Pryor

Associate Researcher and Industry Partner

Ms Pryor is a psychologist with family therapy training, whose clinical expertise is predominantly families with adolescents and young adults with complex needs, including alcohol and other drug and mental health issues. She has been involved in delivery of the BEST programs for 10 years, and has over 16 years experience working with families. Ms Pryor has a special interest in families with adolescents and young adults with complex needs including alcohol and other drug and mental health issues and family-aware and -inclusive practice. She has also been involved in drummond street services' collaboration with Deakin University across a number of projects - including supervising placements and study recruitment, and provision and evaluation of family group interventions.


Publications and conferences papers


Bamberg, J.H., Toumbourou, J.W. & Marks, R. (2008). Including the Siblings of Youth Substance Abusers in a Parent-Focused Intervention: A Pilot Test of the Best Plus Program. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Volume 40 (3), September 2008.

Bamberg, J., Findley, S. & Toumbourou, J. (2006). The BEST Plus approach to assisting families recover from youth substance problems. Youth Studies Australia VOLUME 25 NUMBER 2 2006

Bertino, M.D., Richens, K., Knight, T., Toumbourou, J., Ricciardelli, L., & Lewis, A.J. (in press). Reducing parental anxiety using a family based intervention for youth mental health: A randomized controlled trial. Open Journal of Psychiatry, Special Issue on Anxiety Research, Publication Date: February 2013.

Bertino, Melanie D., Connell, Gabrielle and Lewis, Andrew J. (2012) The association between parental personality patterns and internalising and externalising behaviour problems in children and adolescents, Clinical psychologist, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 110-117, Wiley - Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, England

Bertino, M., Lewis, A., Knight, T., Ricciardelli, T, & Toumbourou, J. (2010). Deakin Family Options Family Interview Protocol. (Publication online January 2010).

Lewis, A.J., Bertino, M.D., Robertson, N., Knight, T. & Toumbourou, J.W. (2012). Consumer Feedback following Participation in a Family-Based Intervention for Youth Mental Health. Volume 2012, Article ID 235646, 8 pages

Lewis, Andrew J., Bertino, Melanie, Toumbourou, John W., Ricciardelli, Lina and Knight, Tess (2010) Deakin family options : a report on the clinical trial of family education and cognitive therapy for youth depression, anxiety and substance use, Deakin University Australia, Geelong, Vic.

Toumbourou, J.W., Bamberg, J.H. (2008). Family Recovery from Youth Substance Use Related Problems: A Pilot Study of the BEST Plus Program. Substance Use & Misuse, 43:1829-1843

Toumbourou, T. Blyth, A. Bamberg, J., Forer, D. (2001). Early Impact of the BEST Intervention for parents stressed by adolescent substance abuse. Journal of community and applied social psychology, 11, 291-304

Conference papers

Bertino, M., Lewis, A., Toumbourou, J., Ricciardelli, L., & Knight, T. Family therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth with depression, anxiety and substance disorders. InV.Mrowinski, M. Kyrios and N. Voudouris (Eds), Abstracts of the 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology. Paper presented at ICAP Symposium,Melbourne, Convention Centre, 11-16 July 2010 (pp232 -233). Retrieved 8 October 2010, from Connell, Gabrielle, Lewis, Andrew J. and Bertino, Melanie (2011) Parental personality disorder and child psychopathology, in unknown (ed.), XIIth ISSPD Congress Abstracts, p. 80, ISSPD, Melbourne, Vic.

Danaher, J. (Deakin University, Australia). Prevention and Early Intervention Work with Australian Families. 6th International Conference on Drugs and Young People. Melbourne Convention Centre, Monday 2nd May 2011.

Danaher, J., Lewis, A., Toumbourou, J., Ricciardelli, L., Knight, T., & Bertino, M. Prevention and Early Intervention Work with Australian Families. Presented at the University of Utah First International Conference on Parenting and Family Skills, Bangkok, Thailand December 17 and 18 2010.

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