Professor Romola Bucks

Started at UWA: 2007

Combating cognitive decline in ageing

As our population ages, so the number of individuals with cognitive impairment or dementia also rises. If we can identify and reduce risk factors, such as poor sleep, we can intervene to prevent decline. If we can diagnose early, we can treat early, so reducing the burden of age-related cognitive decline on the individual, their family and society.Professor Romola Bucks

Romola Bucks is a Professor in the School of Psychological Science at The University of Western Australia. Her research addresses normal ageing, neurodegenerative and chronic disease, sleep disorders, and their cognitive and affective consequences.

Professor Bucks’ work seeks to identify and understand risk factors contributing to cognitive decline in ageing to achieve early diagnosis and intervention. In collaboration with colleagues and students, she is investigating the cognitive and affective consequences of a number of key disorders of ageing, including obstructive sleep apnoea, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Along with her research, Professor Bucks is a passionate teacher and mentor. She has been involved in clinical psychology training for more than 20 years and, from 2012 to 2014, was Director of the Master of Clinical Psychology Program at UWA. Since 2010, she has been nominated for four teaching awards, and five research supervision awards, winning three of these. Her expertise includes managing recruitment and research with patients, and training and supervising researchers working with participants.

Professor Bucks is known for her enthusiastic teaching style. She is passionate about communicating skills and knowledge, offering students the opportunity to explore their ideas with her.

“Students keep me enthusiastic, focused and engaged in my research. I love their energy and drive and find it restores my own passion for our research.”

She currently teaches postgraduate clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology programs, and occasionally teaches at undergraduate or honours level.

“The collaborative and creative nature of our work is a gift. So, too, is the opportunity to teach and to mentor the scientists and practitioners of the future; to enthuse them about ageing and sleep apnoea, dementia and depression so they can make positive change in the future.”

Professor Bucks has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in journals spanning hearing, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, psychological assessment, health psychology, respiratory disease, sleep, psychiatry, neurosurgery, geriatrics, law, clinical neurology, neuroscience, and behavioural sciences.

She has designed three clinical measures for use in ageing, dementia and stroke.

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Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, 2018

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Awarded 39 research grants totalling $13.8M

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UWA Vice-Chancellor’s Recognition for SURF Consistently Excellent Unit (PSYC5530), 2017

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Faculty Teaching Award: Programs that Enhance Learning (PSYC1101 & PSYC1102), 2011

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Faculty Teaching Award: Excellence in Honours Supervision, 2010

External positions



Sir Charles Gairdner and Osborne Park Health Care Group.

  • 'Characterising patterns of depressive symptoms in obstructive sleep apnoea: a latent class analysis approach'

Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (NHMRC Partnership Centre Program Grant)

  • 'Optimising advance care planning in dementia through supported decision-making: An exploratory mixed methods study of community perceptions and law reform challenges in Australia'


Parkinson’s Western Australia: The Zrinski Research Grant

  • 'The Impact of Cognition on Everyday Function, Quality of Life, Motor Symptoms, Sleep, Mood and Carer Experience in Parkinson’s'


Supervisor opportunities

Contact Professor Romola Bucks

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