Heather Francis


  • 350 Citations
  • 9 h-Index
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Personal profile


I completed my BPsych(hons) and Combined PhD/Master of Clinical Neuropsychology at Macquarie University in 2008 and 2013 respectively. I then worked in positions as a Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Neurology Department at Liverpool Hospital and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University.  In 2018, I started as a Lecturer in Clinical Neuropsychology, Macquarie University.

Research interests

My primary research interest is in the area of nutritional neuroscience. My studies have examined the effect of Western-style diets, high in saturated fat, refined sugar and processed foods, on cognition and mood. And conversely, the therapeutic potential of consuming a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet on improving symptoms of depressed mood. 

My other research interests are diverse, including the role of inflammation in cognitive fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis, the efficacy of a group memory training program in people with multiple sclerosis, and the impact of a group therapy program on cognition and mood in binge eating disorder. 

Research student supervision

I supervise students in PhD, Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology and Honours. Topics include nutritional neuroscience, Western-style diet impact on cognition, therapeutic potential of Mediterranean-style diet, eating behaviour and cognitive remediation. 

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, Combined PhD/Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology, Macquarie University


Psychology, Bachelor of Psychology (honours), Macquarie University


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Projects 2017 2020

Research Output 2009 2019

  • 350 Citations
  • 9 h-Index
  • 22 Article
  • 3 Chapter
  • 1 Abstract
  • 1 Review article

Wanting and liking for sugar sweetened beverages and snacks differ following depletion and repletion with energy and fluids

Pender, S., Stevenson, R. J., Francis, H. M. & Oaten, M. J., 1 Jun 2019, In : Appetite. 137, p. 81-89 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Hippocampal dependent neuropsychological tests and their relationship to measures of cardiac and self-report interoception

Stevenson, R. J., Francis, H. M., Oaten, M. J. & Schilt, R., Jun 2018, In : Brain and Cognition. 123, p. 23-29 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Neuropsychological Tests
Self Report
Verbal Learning

Potential for diet to prevent and remediate cognitive deficits in neurological disorders

Francis, H. M. & Stevenson, R. J., 1 Mar 2018, In : Nutrition Reviews. 76, 3, p. 204-217 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Nervous System Diseases
Mediterranean Diet
Caloric Restriction

Psychosocial functioning following moderate-to-severe pediatric traumatic brain injury: recommended outcome instruments for research and remediation studies

Wearne, T., Anderson, V., Catroppa, C., Morgan, A., Ponsford, J., Tate, R., Ownsworth, T., Togher, L., Fleming, J., Douglas, J., Docking, K., Sigmundsdottir, L., Francis, H., Honan, C. & McDonald, S., 9 Oct 2018, In : Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
Executive Function
Expert Testimony

A four-day Western-style dietary intervention causes reductions in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and interoceptive sensitivity

Attuquayefio, T., Stevenson, R. J., Oaten, M. J. & Francis, H. M., 2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 2, p. 1-21 21 p., e0172645.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Data storage equipment