Carmela Pestell

Associate Professor, BPsych MPsych(Clin) DPsych(Clin) MPsych(Neuropsy) W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M304), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


1992 …2020
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Personal profile


Dr Pestell is a registered Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Neuropsychologist who was the Director of the state-wide Neurosciences Unit (North Metropolitan Area Health Service, Health Department of WA) for 14 years between 1996 and 2010. She completed a secondment at the Complex Attention and Hyperactivity Disorders Service (CAHDS) as the Team Manager/Consultant Clinical Psychologist between March 2010 and July 2011. In August 2011 she returned to the Neurosciences Unit to work as a Clinical Neuropsychologist and coordinate the Paediatric Programme; and between January 2012 and December 2014 resumed her former position as the Director of all clinical and research programmes at Neurosciences (NMHS). She has also worked as the Deputy Area Executive Director (in an acting capacity) for the North Metropolitan Mental Health Service (2012).

Roles and responsibilities

As well as research, PhD/Honours supervision and postgraduate teaching responsibilities, Dr Pestell is currently the Co-Deputy Head of School. She was the former Director of the Robin Winkler Clinic (RWC) at UWA (2014-2109), which involved coordinating all Internal Practicums for postgraduate Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology trainees. Key responsibilities included providing leadership and overseeing the administration, operation, clinical supervision, promotion and expansion of services at RWC; establishing and maintaining professional relationships with external agencies; and leading the development of new clinical and research initiatives for trainees and supervisors. This also includes coordinating a neuropsychology clinic at Robin Winkler and overseeing a new Graduate Certificate in FASD diagnosis which has been offered at UWA from 2019. Associate Professor Pestell is also an Honorary Research Associate with the Telethon Kids Institute (Alcohol & Pregnancy & FASD Research Group) and an Honorary Associate Professor with Curtin University. She is currently supervising 15 PhD students and 2 Honours students.

Funding overview

Current Grants:

2017-2020. J. Fitzpatrick. & C. Pestell. PATCHES Paediatrics/UWA. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)Diagnostic Services And Models of Care Grant Opportunity H1617G038.

Assoc Prof M. Fitzgerald (CI), Prof D. Fatovich (AI) & Assoc Prof C. Pestell (AI). "Identification of biomarkers that correlate with clinical features and outcomes following concussion". Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research/Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP) Grant, 2016.

Prof Chen, W., Butun,S., Pestell C., (CI)., Bucks. R. "The effect of sleep problems on cognition in children with complex ADHD". Fremantle Hospital Research Awards/Medical Research Foundation, 2015.

W/ Prof. C. Bower, Prof. R. Marriott, Dr R. Watkins, Dr R. Mutch, Prof C.Pestell (AI), W/ Prof. S. Zubrick & Dr J. Fitzpatrick. Improving the Management of Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Justice System. TCR Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Funding (NHMRC) Project ID No.:1072072. 2014-15.

Prof. D.Green, Prof. N. Lautenschlager, A/ Prof. K. Cox, Prof. J. Badcock & Prof C. Pestell (CI). Does Manipulation of Arterial Shear Stress Enhance Cerebrovascular Function and Cognition in the Aging Brain. NHMRC Project Grants. APP1045204. 2012-2017.

A/ Prof. J. Ohan (CI), A.Sung (CI), S. Russell-Smith (CI), Prof M. Maybery (CI), W/Prof A. Whitehouse (CI), W/Prof C. McLeod(CI), Prof C. Pestell. (CI), Dr T. Mazzucchelli,& Dr S. Egan (CI). Improving School Functioning by Reducing Anxiety in Children with ASD. Autism CRC Ltd

New and Noteworthy

•ABC Radio 16/7/18

Sydney Morning Herald (16 Feb 2018)

• Perth Now Sunday Times (July 5 2017)
• The Australian (July 5 2017)
• Magazine Article Australian Doctor (19 May 2017)
• Royal Commission News (Dec 2017)

Current projects

a) Risk aware: enhancing students' clinical competence in risky environments through blended simulation-based learning (in conjunction with staff from Deakin University and several other Australian universities)
b) As part of a FASD Diagnostic Services and Models of Care Grant Opportunity Dr Pestell has been travelling around Australia (WA, NT, SA, Tas, Vic) training medical and allied health staff how to diagnose FASD as part of a national consortium.

Current PhD project supervision (School of Psychological Sciences UWA):
1.Neuropsychological predictors of outcome following acquired brain injury in adults (PhD student: Fiona Allanson [commenced 2014], Co-Supervisor Dr Michael Weinborn)
2.Paediatric concussion: The role of age, gender and parenting factors on neuropsychological outcome and post-concussional symptoms. (PhD student: Alex Springall [commenced 2014], Co-Supervisor Neil McLean)
3.The Role of Sleep in the Cognitive Profile of Paediatric Attentional Disorders (PhD student: Angela Marriner [commenced 2014], Co-Supervisor Assoc Prof Romola Bucks)
4.Emotional dysregulation in young adults with ADHD: Implications of timing deficits, poor working memory and impairments in attention. (PhD student: Marie Melusine Annabelle Nankoo [commenced 2015], Co-Supervisors Assoc Prof Romina Palermo & Dr Jason Bell)
5. Understanding the impact of metacognition on functional and rehabilitation outcome in patients with acquired brain injury (PhD student: Yong Xiang Yeo [commenced 2016], Co-Supervisor Dr Michael Weinborn)
6.Time perception in ADHD (PhD student: Gideon Sacks [commenced 2016], Co-Supervisors Assoc Prof Romina Palermo & Dr Jason Bell)
8. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Evaluation of an Attachment Based Intervention. (PhD student: Kuen Yee Tan (Grace)[commenced 2017], Co-Supervisors Dr James Fitzpatrick,Professor Donna Cross & Dr Martyn Symons)
9. Investigating the utility of a suite of blood based biomarkers and neuropsychological test outcomes in the prediction of post concussive syndrome (PhD student: Aleksandra Gotz [commenced 2017], Co-Supervisor Professor Melinda Fitzgerald, Curtin University - Biomedical Science (Neurotrauma).
10. Apathy in adults with acquired brain injury (PhD student: Sarah Green [commenced 2018], Co-Supervisor Dr Michael Weinborn)
11. Comparing the efficacy of hypnosis and CBT as a group therapy intervention for mood disorders(PhD student: Nicolino Ramondo [commenced 2018], Co-Supervisors Dr Susan Byrne & Dr Giles Gignac.

Industrial relevance

Dr Pestell (nee Mazzella-Connor)has 24 years clinical experience working with children and adults with known or suspected neurological, neuropsychological and/or psychiatric conditions within a medico-legal, forensic and/or clinical context. Dr Pestell has given over 250 presentations and lectures to a range of audiences including psychologists, psychiatrists and paediatricians. She has individually supervised over 95 post-graduate trainees and Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology Registrars over the years, and is regularly called upon to provide clinical supervision to more experienced colleagues with specialist registration in educational psychology, clinical psychology or neuropsychology. Dr Pestell is a member of the Neurosciences Unit research committee; Member of the Australian Paediatric Neuropsychology Research Network (since 2016) and Member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. She is an invited Ambassador for NoFASD Australia. She gave expert evidence into the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory in 2016/2017; as well as the Coronial Inquest into the deaths of 13 Aboriginal young people in the Kimberley. Dr Pestell is also an invited member of the FASD Hub Australia Subject Matter Expert Panel.

Teaching overview

Dr Pestell has over 20 years experience as a post-graduate lecturer in psychology at UWA, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University. She was also involved with the Psychiatry Registrar training programme in Perth, teaching psychology assessment for many years. Currently her teaching commitments at UWA include:
-Unit Coordinator Internal Practicum: PSYC5678/5679;
-Unit Coordinator & Lecturer Pediatric Neuropsychology I: PSYC5534.
-Lecturer x 6, Workshops x 2: PSYC5673 Dr Foundations in Clinical Skills II;
-Coordinator Neuropsychology Internal Placements: PSYC5538/PSYC9903/PSYC9904.


Current research interests include: a) The neuropsychology of neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; b) The neuropsychology of acquired brain injury and cognitive rehabilitation in children and adults; d) Concussion; and e) The relationship between attentional disorders and poor sleep in children and adults. Dr Pestell also has research collaborations with the Brightwater Care Group and Fiona Stanley Hospital (ABIRecover), Princess Margaret Hospital (ConiCA), Royal Perth Hospital (adult concussion) and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (ADHD/Sleep intervention).

Previous positions

Private practice as a Clinical Neuropsychologist (0.3 FTE).

External positions

Research Associate, Curtin University of Technology

2017 → …

Honorary Research Associate, Telethon Kids Institute

2013 → …


  • Acquired brain injury (ABI)—children and adults
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
  • Clinical neuropsychology—clinical and forensic
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • The impact of exercise on cognition
  • Anxiety and autism
  • Blood injury phobia

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Carmela Pestell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 56 Similar Profiles
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Medicine & Life Sciences
Sleep Medicine & Life Sciences
Western Australia Medicine & Life Sciences
Short-Term Memory Medicine & Life Sciences
Post-Concussion Syndrome Medicine & Life Sciences
Brain Concussion Medicine & Life Sciences
Social Justice Medicine & Life Sciences
Glasgow Outcome Scale Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1992 2020

Towards the Development of an Integrative, Evidence-Based Suite of Indicators for the Prediction of Outcome Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Results from a Pilot Study

Gozt, A., Licari, M., Halstrom, A., Milbourn, H., Lydiard, S., Black, A., Arendts, G., Macdonald, S., Song, S., MacDonald, E., Vlaskovsky, P., Burrows, S., Bynevelt, M., Pestell, C., Fatovich, D. & Fitzgerald, M., 2 Jan 2020, In : Brain Sciences. 10, 1

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Post-Concussion Syndrome
Brain Concussion
Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
Hospital Emergency Service
1 Citation (Scopus)
Autistic Disorder
Psychomotor Agitation

Factor Structure of the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) in those with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Mancini, V., Rudaizky, D., Pearcy, B., Marriner, A., Pestell, C., Gomez, R., Bucks, R. & Chen, W., Dec 2019, In : Sleep Medicine. 1, 100006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Statistical Factor Analysis

Land- versus water-walking interventions in older adults: Effects on body composition

Naylor, L. H., Maslen, B. A., Cox, K. L., Spence, A. L., Robey, E., Haynes, A., Carter, H. H., Lautenschlager, N. T., Ridgers, N. D., Pestell, C. & Green, D. J., 2019, In : Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Body Composition
Body Mass Index

Metacognitive knowledge and functional outcomes in adults with acquired brain injury: A meta-analysis

Yeo, Y. X., Pestell, C. F., Bucks, R. S., Allanson, F. & Weinborn, M., 26 Dec 2019, In : Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. p. 1-26 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Projects 2013 2018