Dr Louise Mewton is a UNSW Scientia Senior Research Fellow and public health researcher with a focus on the epidemiology, assessment, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use and related disorders across the lifespan. She leads the Dementia Risk Factors Group at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. Her current program of research focuses on understanding and reducing the cognitive impacts of alcohol exposure during gestation, adolescence, and older adulthood.
Louise completed her PhD in 2012 at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW. Her PhD focused on the epidemiology and diagnosis of alcohol use disorders in youth. She was then appointed Statistical Advisor and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression, St Vincent's Hospital at UNSW (2012-2014). In this role, she investigated the effectiveness of online treatments for anxiety and depression when delivered in primary health care settings. In 2014, she received an Australian Rotary Health Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the effectiveness of online cognitive training for the prevention of mental illness and risky alcohol use in youth. In 2018, she was appointed UNSW Scientia Lecturer to continue her program of research focusing on the epidemiology, assessment and prevention of alcohol use and related disorders across the lifespan. Louise's excellence in research has been reocgnised by early career awards from the leading drug and alcohol societies in Australia (Australasian Professional Society for Alcohol and Drugs, 2016) and the United States (College of Problems on Drug Dependence, 2012), In 2017, Louise received a Young Tall Poppy Award (Australian Institute of Policy and Science) as well as the Society for Mental Health Research's Early Career Researcher Award.
Louise has received $5M in fellowship and project funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Rotary Health, Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, and Dementia Australia. She is currently leading a large-scale randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of an online alcohol intervention in reducing alcohol use and cognitive decline in older adults. She is also leading a study using international data from the COSMIC cohort studies to investigate the relationship between alcohol use and dementia cross-nationally. In addition, she leads a collaboration between COSMIC and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to achieve better coverage of low-to-middle income countries in the Global Burden of Disease estimates for dementia. Louise is also a Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney and collaborates extensively with researchers at The Matilda Centre for Mental Health and Substance Use, contributing to projects focused on the epidemiology and prevention of mental health and substance use in youth. Working with the Australian Government Department of Health, she is currently developing teacher resources for the identification and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in primary school settings.
Louise's additional research interests include the intersection between mental health and substance use disorders (comorbidity), diagnostic models of psychopathology, improving the classification and diagnosis of mental illness and substance use disorders, and biostatistical methods.