Dr Helen Macpherson



NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Postdoctoral Fellow


Faculty of Health


School of Exercise & Nut. Sci.


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Science, Swinburne Univ. of Technology, 2012
Bachelor of Science (Honours), Swinburne Univ. of Technology, 2007
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Swinburne Univ. of Technology, 2005



Dr Helen Macpherson conducts research on healthy brain ageing, with a focus on dementia prevention. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (I-PAN), Deakin University. Dr Macpherson is a recipient of a 2016 NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Training Fellowship to examine the effects of dietary supplementation combined with physical activity on brain health and cognitive function in older people at risk of dementia. She has received over $1 million in category 1 research funding.

She has conducted numerous randomised controlled trials to investigate the cognitive effects of nutritional interventions. Her research investigates mechanisms of action including cardiovascular changes and direct effects on brain function using a range of neuroimaging modalities. She is currently supervising several PhD students using various neuroimaging techniques to study age-related changes in cognition.

Read more on Helen's profile

Knowledge areas

Cognitive ageing

Cognitive neuroscience

Lifestyle interventions to combat cognitive decline


Multivitamins and cognition 


Invited conference presentations

Macpherson, H. Multi-domain dietary and exercise interventions to enhance cognition in older people. Lifestyle Medicine Conference. Sydney Australia, September 15- 17, 2017.

Macpherson, H., and Daly, R. 2016. A multi-faceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline. Rapid oral presentation and poster presented at the Australian Dementia Forum, Brisbane, Australia, May 1-3, 2016.

Macpherson, H. Multivitamins, multi benefits? Complementary Health Care Council of Australia National conference, Sydney Australia, September 3 - 5, 2013.

Conference presentations (only shown since 2014)

Macpherson, H., White, D., Hughes, M. Age-related changes to cognitive control as assessed by fMRI. Oral presentation at the 7th Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Adelaide Australia, November 23-26, 2017. 

Macpherson, H. Multi-factorial dietary, exercise and cognitive interventions for cognitive frailty.  Symposium presentation at the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia Research annual meeting, Adelaide Australia, November 24-25, 2017.

Macpherson, H., and Daly, RM. 2017. Progress Update for a Multi-faceted Exercise and Nutrition Intervention to Enhance Cognition in Older People at Risk of Cognitive Decline. Poster presentation at the NNIDR Australian Dementia Forum, Melbourne Australia, October 15 -17, 2017.

Macpherson, H., Miller, EG., Dunstan, DW., Nowson, C., Kerr, D., Menzies, D & Daly, RM. 2017. Can protein and vitamin D enhance the cognitive benefits of resistance training in type 2 diabetics? Innovation in Aging 1 (suppl_1), 439-440. Poster presented at the IAGG conference, San Francisco, July 23 -27, 2017 and 17th Alzheimer’s Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference, Melbourne Australia, October 17-20, 2017.

Macpherson, H., and Anstey, K. 2017. The long and winding road to prevention: ensuring dementia prevention research makes an impact. Organiser and Chair of Round Table Discussion, NNIDR Australian Dementia Forum, Melbourne Australia, October 15 -17, 2017.

Macpherson, H. 2016. A multi-faceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline. Poster presentation at the Australian Dementia Forum, Brisbane, Australia, 1-3 May 2016.

Macpherson, H., White, D., Hughes, M., and Daly, R. 2016. Type 2 diabetes is associated with increased activation during n-back performance.  Poster presented at the 22nd Annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Geneva, Switzerland, June 26-30, 2016.

Macpherson, H., and Pipingas, A. 2015. Multivitamins to enhance mental function, what is the evidence? Oral presentation at the 48th Australian Association of Gerontology conference, Alice Springs, Australia, November 4-6, 2015.

Macpherson, H., White, D and Hughes, M. 2015. The effects of age on proactive and reactive control during working memory. Oral presentation at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015, Chicago, United States October 17-21, 2015.

Macpherson, H., and Scholey, A. 2014. Glucose as an acute cognitive enhancer: influence of task domain, task demand and age.  Oral presentation at the 10th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science. Melbourne, Australia, December 8-10, 2014.

Professional activities

Professional Memberships

2017- Current: Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society

2016- Current: NHMRC National Institute for Dementia  Research (NNIDR)

2013- Current: Society for Neuroscience


2016- Deakin University Vice Chancellors Early Career Research award

2016 - CASS Foundation travel award to attend 2016 Organisation of Human Brain Mapping meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, June 26-30

2016 - NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship. A multi-faceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline.

2015- 2 year Health Research Postdoctoral research Fellowship, Deakin University, Melbourne Australia.

2013- Travel Fellowship to attend 2013 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Boston, Massachusetts, United States 

2012 - Australian Nutrition Trust Foundation scholarship to attend the Nutrition in Medicine conference, Melbourne May 4th-6th.

2009- Travel bursary to attend the 2009 Emerging Researchers in Ageing Masterclass run by the ARC/NHMRC Research Network in Ageing Well, hosted by The University of Queensland.

2007- Swinburne University Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship to undertake PhD.


2018 Deakin University Faculty HAtCH Grant. Investigating dietary patterns, hippocampal volume and cognition in middle age (2018, $22,190, CIB).

2017 Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation. Exploration of the Associations between Cognitive Performance, and Dual-Tasking, Gait, and Physical Performance in Community-Dwelling Older Adults and Individuals with Alzheimer’s (2017, $50,000, CIB).

2017 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project. How eating patterns interact with activity, sleep and mood (2017-2020, $486,000, CIE).

2016 Deakin University School of Exercise and Nutrition Early Career seed funding. Type 2 diabetes: Determining the role of glucose regulation in brain dysfunction (2016, $9000, CIA).

2016 Deakin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition project seed funding. Investigating the neurobiological and cognitive changes associated with acute aerobic and resistance training in healthy young and older adults (2016, $29,000, CIC).

2016 Deakin University Central Research Grant Scheme. Evidence for shared neurobiology in Autism and Parkinson's disease (2016, $21,529, CIC).


Filter by


Examining the relationship between nutrition and cerebral structural integrity in older adults without dementia

J Reddan, H Macpherson, D White, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2019), Vol. 32, pp. 79-98, Nutrition research reviews, Cambridge, Eng., C1


The Australian Research Council Longevity Intervention (ARCLI) study protocol (ANZCTR12611000487910) addendum: neuroimaging and gut microbiota protocol

Tamara Simpson, Saurenne Deleuil, Nicole Echeverria, Mrudhula Komanduri, Helen Macpherson, Chao Suo, Shakuntla Gondalia, Masoumeh Fard, Andrew Pipingas, Andrew Scholey, Con Stough

(2019), Vol. 18, pp. 1-9, Nutrition journal, London, Eng., C1


High intensity aerobic exercise does not prime the brain for anodal transcranial direct current stimulation

Ashlee Hendy, Helen Macpherson, Nathan Nuzum, Paul Della Gatta, Sarah Alexander, Kate Hoy, Peter Enticott, Wei Teo

(2019), pp. 1-3, Brain stimulation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Multifaceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline: study protocol for the Protein Omega-3 and Vitamin D Exercise Research (PONDER) study

Helen Macpherson, Sarah Brownell, Rachel Duckham, Barbara Meyer, Sam Mirzaee, Robin Daly

(2019), Vol. 9, BMJ open, London, Eng., C1


COQ10 and cognition a review and study protocol for a 90-day randomized controlled trial investigating the cognitive effects of ubiquinol in the healthy elderly

C Stough, M Nankivell, D Camfield, N Perry, A Pipingas, H Macpherson, K Wesnes, R Ou, D Hare, J De Haan, G Head, P Lansjoen, A Langsjoen, B Tan, M Pase, R King, R Rowsell, O Zwalf, Y Rathner, M Cooke, F Rosenfeldt

(2019), Vol. 11, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, C1


The association between adherence to a Mediterranean style diet and cognition in older people: the impact of medication

R Hardman, D Meyer, G Kennedy, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2018), Vol. 37, pp. 2156-2165, Clinical nutrition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Glycerophospholipid supplementation as a potential intervention for supporting cerebral structure in older adults

J Reddan, D White, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2018), Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1


Magnetic resonance imaging for assessment of cerebrovascular reactivity and its relationship to cognition: a systematic review

Sarah Catchlove, Andrew Pipingas, Matthew Hughes, Helen Macpherson

(2018), Vol. 19, pp. 1-15, BMC Neuroscience, London, Eng., C1


An investigation of cerebral oxygen utilization, blood flow and cognition in healthy aging

S Catchlove, H Macpherson, M Hughes, Y Chen, T Parrish, A Pipingas

(2018), Vol. 13, pp. 1-21, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1


Physical fitness and aortic stiffness explain the reduced cognitive performance associated with increasing age in older people

Greg Kennedy, Denny Meyer, Roy Hardman, Helen Macpherson, Andrew Scholey, Andrew Pipingas

(2018), Vol. 63, pp. 1307-1316, Journal of alzheimer?s disease, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1


Regional cerebrovascular reactivity and cognitive performance in healthy aging

Sarah Catchlove, Todd Parrish, Yufen Chen, Helen Macpherson, Matthew Hughes, Andrew Pipingas

(2018), Vol. 12, pp. 1-11, Journal of experimental neuroscience, London, Eng., C1


Sensory manipulation results in increased dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation during static postural balance in sedentary older adults: an fNIRS study

Wei-Peng Teo, Alicia Goodwill, Ashlee Hendy, Makii Muthalib, Helen Macpherson

(2018), Vol. 8, pp. 1-11, Brain and behavior, Chichester, Eng., C1


How does exercise reduce the rate of age-associated cognitive decline? A review of potential mechanisms

G Kennedy, R Hardman, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2017), Vol. 55, pp. 1-18, Journal of alzheimers disease, Netherlands, C1


Cognitive decline in prostate cancer patients undergoing ADT: a potential role for exercise training

N Mundell, R Daly, H Macpherson, S Fraser

(2017), Vol. 24, pp. 145-155, Endocrine related cancer, Bristol, Eng., C1


A life-long approach to physical activity for brain health

H Macpherson, W-P Teo, L Schneider, A Smith

(2017), Vol. 9, pp. 1-12, Frontiers in aging neuroscience, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1


Brain functional alterations in Type 2 Diabetes - a systematic review of fMRI studies.

H Macpherson, M Formica, E Harris, R Daly

(2017), Vol. 47, pp. 34-46, Front neuroendocrinology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


No effect of multivitamin supplementation on central blood pressure in healthy older people: a randomized controlled trial

E Harris, R Rowsell, A Pipingas, H Macpherson

(2016), Vol. 246, pp. 236-242, Atherosclerosis, Shannon, Ireland, C1


Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet and effects on cognition in adults: a qualitative evaluation and systematic review of longitudinal and prospective trials

R Hardman, G Kennedy, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2016), Vol. 3, pp. 1-13, Frontiers in nutrition, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1


The effects of four-week multivitamin supplementation on mood in healthy older women: a randomized controlled trial

H Macpherson, R Rowsell, K Cox, J Reddan, D Meyer, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2016), Vol. 2016, pp. 1-11, Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, Cairo, Egypt, C1


Glucose administration and cognitive function: differential effects of age and effort during a dual task paradigm in younger and older adults.

H Macpherson, B Roberstson, S Snram-Lea, C Stough, D Kennedy, A Scholey

(2015), Vol. 232, pp. 1135-1142, Psychopharmacology, Berlin, Germany, C1-1


Switching to a 10-day Mediterranean-style diet improves mood and cardiovascular function in a controlled crossover study

J Lee, M Pase, A Pipingas, J Raubenheimer, M Thurgood, L Villalon, H Macpherson, A Gibbs, A Scholey

(2015), Vol. 31, pp. 647-652, Nutrition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Acute mood but not cognitive improvements following administration of a single multivitamin and mineral supplement in healthy women aged 50 and above : a randomised controlled trial

H Macpherson, R Rowsell, K Cox, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2015), Vol. 37, pp. 1-10, Age, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1


A randomised controlled trial investigating the effects of Mediterranean diet and aerobic exercise on cognition in cognitively healthy older people living independently within aged care facilities: the Lifestyle Intervention in Independent Living Aged Care (LIILAC) study protocol [ACTRN12614001133628].

R Hardman, G Kennedy, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2015), Vol. 14, pp. 1-10, Nutrition journal, London, Eng., C1


Improved blood biomarkers but no cognitive effects from 16 weeks of multivitamin supplementation in healthy older adults

E Harris, H Macpherson, A Pipingas

(2015), Vol. 7, pp. 3796-3812, Nutrients, Basel, Switzerland, C1-1


The acute and sub-chronic effects of cocoa flavanols on mood, cognitive and cardiovascular health in young healthy adults: a randomized, controlled trial.

L Massee, K Ried, M Pase, N Travica, J Yoganathan, A Scholey, H Macpherson, G Kennedy, A Sali, A Pipingas

(2015), Vol. 6, pp. 93-93, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Switzerland, C1-1


The influence of the Mediterranean diet on cognitive health

H Macpherson, J Lee, L Villalon, M Pase, A Pipingas, A Scholey

(2015), pp. 81-89, Mediterranean diet: an evidence-based approach, Cambridge, Mass., B1-1


Hippocampal involvement in glucose facilitation of recognition memory: event-related potential components in a dual-task paradigm

Andrew Scholey, David Camfield, Helen Macpherson, Lauren Owen, Philip Nguyen, Con Stough, Leigh Riby

(2015), Vol. 3, pp. 9-20, Nutrition and aging, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Effects of multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement on cognition in younger adults and the contribution of B group vitamins

A Pipingas, D Camfield, C Stough, A Scholey, K Cox, D White, J Sarris, A Sali, H Macpherson

(2014), Vol. 29, pp. 73-82, Human psychopharmacology: clinical and experimental, Chichester, England, C1-1


Age-related changes to the neural correlates of working memory which emerge after midlife

H Macpherson, D White, K Ellis, C Stough, D Camfield, R Silberstein, A Pipingas

(2014), Vol. 6, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1-1


Establishing reference values for central blood pressure and its amplification in a general healthy population and according to cardiovascular risk factors

A Herbert, J Cruickshank, S Laurent, P Boutouyrie, H Macpherson

(2014), Vol. 35, pp. 3122-3133, European heart journal, Oxford, Eng., C1-1


Blood pressure and cognitive function: the role of central aortic and brachial pressures

M Pase, C Stough, N Grima, E Harris, H Macpherson, A Scholey, A Pipingas

(2013), Vol. 24, pp. 2173-2181, Psychological science, London, Eng., C1-1


Multivitamin-multimineral supplementation and mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

H Macpherson, A Pipingas, M Pase

(2013), Vol. 97, pp. 437-444, American journal of clinical nutrition, Washington, D.C., C1-1


Glucose enhancement of recognition memory: differential effects on effortful processing but not aspects of 'remember-know' responses

A Scholey, H Macpherson, S Snram-Lea, J Elliott, C Stough, D Kennedy

(2013), Vol. 64, pp. 544-549, Neuropharmacology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Neurocognitive effects of multivitamin supplementation on the steady state visually evoked potential (SSVEP) measure of brain activity in elderly women

H Macpherson, R Silberstein, A Pipingas

(2012), Vol. 107, pp. 346-354, Physiology and behavior, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Effects of a multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement on cognition and blood biomarkers in older men: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial

E Harris, H Macpherson, L Vitetta, J Kirk, A Sali, A Pipingas

(2012), Vol. 27, pp. 370-377, Human psychopharmacology, London, Eng., C1-1


Improved processing speed: online computer-based cognitive training in older adults

T Simpson, D Camfield, A Pipingas, H Macpherson, C Stough

(2012), Vol. 38, pp. 445-458, Educational gerontology, London, Eng., C1-1


The effects of multivitamins on cognitive performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis

N Grima, M Pase, H Macpherson, A Pipingas

(2012), Vol. 29, pp. 561-569, Journal of alzheimer's disease, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Memory improvements in elderly women following 16 weeks treatment with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement: a randomized controlled trial

H Macpherson, K Ellis, A Sali, A Pipingas

(2012), Vol. 220, pp. 351-365, Psychopharmacology, Berlin, Germany, C1-1


A steady state visually evoked potential investigation of memory and ageing

H Macpherson, A Pipingas, R Silberstein

(2009), Vol. 69, pp. 571-579, Brain and cognition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

A multi-faceted intervention to enhance cognition in older people at risk of cognitive decline

Dr Helen Macpherson, Prof Robin Daly

NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowships Scheme

  • 2019: $65,331
  • 2018: $156,833
  • 2017: $204,112
  • 2016: $112,972

Eating patterns: How do they interact with activity, sleep and mood?

Prof Sarah McNaughton, Prof David Dunstan, Dr Charli Sargent, Prof Tony Worsley, Dr Helen Macpherson, Ms Jennifer Mouchacca

ARC - Discovery Projects

  • 2019: $162,751
  • 2018: $149,302
  • 2017: $141,935

Exploration of the associations between cognitive performance, and dual-tasking, gait, and physical performance in community-dwelling older adults and individuals with Alzheimer's

Dr Helen Macpherson, Dr Timo Rantalainen, Dr Wei-Peng Teo

Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Foundation Project Grants

  • 2018: $5,000
  • 2017: $45,000

Industry and Other Funding

PhD Scholarship - The association between dairy consumption and mood and cognition

Prof Felice Jacka, Miss Meghan Hockey, Dr Anu Ruusunen, Dr Helen Macpherson, Dr Tetyana Rocks

  • 2019: $9,000


No completed student supervisions to report