Carmela Pestell

Professor, BPsych MPsych(Clin) DPsych(Clin) MPsych(Neuropsy) W.Aust., Deputy Chair Academic Board (UWA)

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

    6009 Perth


Personal profile


Professor Pestell joined the School of Psychological Science at UWA in 2013, initially working part-time until becoming full-time in 2019. 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) 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

Dr Pestell was the Director of the Robin Winkler Clinic (School of Psychological Science -SPS) between 2013 and 2021. Currently, she is the Director of Postgraduate Programs and Chair of the Postgraduate Education Advisory Committee within SPS. As well as research, PhD/Honours supervision and postgraduate teaching responsibilities, Dr Pestell co-coordinates the Internal Practicum for postgraduate Clinical Neuropsychology trainees and oversees a Graduate Certificate in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnosis, which she co-developed in 2019. Dr Pestell is an elected member of the Academic Board (UWA), Associate Chair of the Academic Board (2021-2023) and Deputy Chair of the Academic Board (2024-). She is also the current Chair of the UWA's Appeals Committee, and on the Board of the Graduate Research School (delegate of the Chair of the Academic Board).  Additionally, Dr Pestell is an Honorary Associate Professor with Curtin University.  

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. Since joining UWA in 2013, Dr Pestell has coordinated 11 units, developed new curricula, taught undergraduate/postgraduate students (17 units), and provided extensive clinical supervision for postgraduates undertaking professional training. Currently her teaching commitments at UWA include:
--Unit Coordinator & Lecturer Pediatric Neuropsychology I: PSYC5534

-Course Coordinator & Lecturer: Graduate Certificate in the Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
-Co-Coordinator: Clinical Neuropsychology Internal Practicum (PSYC5538)


Despite a high teaching load, Professor Pestell has developed a research portfolio with nearly 80 outputs with significant impact/industry linkages (i.e.,70% external collaborators, 30% international, and approximately 500 co-authors). Her clinical background has informed her research focus, investigating neuropsychological outcomes of neurodevelopmental disorders/brain injuries across the lifespan to improve diagnosis, intervention and management. Since her arrival at UWA in 2013, Professor Pestell has co-led research programs, with sustained funding success accrued from diverse sources (grants totalling>$7.2 MM).    

Previous positions

Private practice as a Clinical Neuropsychologist (0.3 FTE).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Research Associate, Curtin University

2017 → …

Honorary Research Associate, Telethon Kids Institute


Research expertise keywords

  • 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


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