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Talitha Best

PhD, Registered Psychologist, MAICD, AWISE
Associate Professor / Head of Course Psychology Honours
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Institute for Future Farming Systems, Appleton Institute
Building 8 - Room G 40
CQUniversity Bundaberg
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About Me

As a registered psychologist, adjunct research fellow (UniSA) and senior lecturer in psychology, Talitha’s research and clinical interests focus on the effects of nutrition and bioactive food components to improve mood and neurocognitive function across the lifespan.  In particular, Talitha's research has investigated the effects of plant polysaccharides (plant sugars) on everyday cognitive abilities and well-being in middle-aged adults. With experience in research, clinical practice and industry research and development, Talitha is passionate about bringing science, people and business together to facilitate knowledge transfer and innovation in the research and industry sectors.

Recently, Talitha has developed and co-edited a book around the role of nutrition in brain health and cognitive performance.

The book aims to make available to health professionals, food and nutraceutical industry personnel, teachers and researchers and interested public readers valuable information about nutritional and lifestyle choices for cognitive health.


Before joining CQU, Dr Talitha Best worked in the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre at the University of South Australia, where she is currently an adjunct Research Fellow. She also worked as a Researcher-in-Business, funded through an initiative of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, to facilitate knowledge transfer between the research and industry sectors in food and nutrition.

With a background in clinical psychology, throughout her postdoctoral research which was conducted across Swinburne University's Centre for Human Psychopharmacology and UniSA,  Talitha’s research and clinical work has focussed onthe effects of certain foods and nutrients can play in cognitive health. 

In particular, she has been lead investigator for a series of publications investigating cognitive and mood effects of plant polysaccharides (plant sugars) in middle-aged adults. Her contribution to cognition and nutrition research has been recognised by international early career research travel awards and invited presentations.

Media Citations

ABC Brisbane Breakfast radio- What carbs to eat for a better brain, 2015

DSITIA, Queensland Government, Wall of Fame: Science and Innovation

Morning Bulletin (2015), Anxiety Disorder is a lot more that just 'feeling stressed'

The Observer/The Community Advocate , Gladstone (2014), Work it like a champion

News Mail (2014) Innovative pair presented with award

Rural Weekly (2014), How to make the most of Horticulture crops

Sunshine Coast Daily (2014), Getting produce from your soil to the supermarket

A mightier mind: ideas to nourish your brain (2014)

Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (2013): Brains and Grains

Daily Mercury, Mackay QLD (2013) - Don't want to overspend? Eat some nuts
Natural Sugars:2012
Sugar sweet: The Benefits of Natural Sugar - Naturally Australia Magazine

More about sugars: 2012
Just a spoonful of sugar...UniSA News

Rumour vs Fact:2012 Girlfriend
Is sugar really that bad?

Professional Experience

Professional Qualifications
PhD (Clinical Psychology), Flinders University
AWISE Board Readiness Program
Registered Psychologist, Australian Psychology Board
Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology Honours-first class), Adelaide University
Bachelor of Social Science, Adelaide University
Bachelor of Music, Elder Conservatorium Adelaide University 

Professional Experience

Researcher-in-Business Research Fellow, University of South Australia

Post-doctoral Research Fellow: Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia and Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology

International Symposium Convenor and Chair: 'Eating behaviour from a cognitive experimental perspective' for Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition’s (SARMAC) ninth international conference (New York) 

International Symposium Convenor and Co-Chair: 'Brains and food – detecting nutritional effects on cognition' for Experimental Psychology Conference (New Zealand) 

Food legal Training: Healthy Bodies of Law: food or Therapeutic?

Food legal Training: Going green: Eco-Claims for Food and other fast moving consumer goods

2010 -2008:
Member of Business Advisory Board for university, business, community development projects (SIFE)

Clinical Research Project Manager: Flinders University and Yarrow Place

Clinical Supervisor: Flinders Psychology Clinic

Supervisor /Tutor/Lecturer: Flinders University



Professional Memberships

AHPRA: Registered Psychologist, Psychology Board of Australia
SARMAC: Society for Applied Memory and Cognition Research
SANI: South Australian Neuroscience Institute
WIT: Women in Innovation and Technology
WOB: Women on Boards
MAICD: Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors



Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Adjunct Research Fellow - UniSA

Key Achievements

  • UniSA Distinguished Researcher Award to bring UK, University of Leeds collaborative researcher to Australia for project development (2012).
  • Researcher in Business Grant Funding from Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research together with industry funds (2011 and 2012).
  • UniSA Early Career International Research Travel Award, awarded by Research and Innovation Services, for research at University of Leeds (2011)
  • Industry Project Grant, developed and obtained as lead investigator (2010 and 2011)
  • Research write-up and development support, industry grant (2008)
  • Postgraduate Research Travel Support”, industry grant (2008)
  • Flinders University Research Student Conference Travel Grant (2008)
  • PhD Overseas Conference Travel Scholarship (2008)
  • Research Maintenance and Development Funding (2006, 2007 and 2008)

Consultancy Work

Independent adviser to the board for a national non-for-profit organisation, Endowment Australasia (2007-2009)

Australian Ambassador for presentations to the HSBC Board of Trustees (2007)

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • 3006 Food Sciences
  • 3209 Neurosciences
  • 5202 Biological psychology
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5205 Social and personality psychology

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
No Supervisions to display.
Research Interests
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences

Horticultural Production - Post Harvest Horticultural Technologies (incl. Transportation and Storage)

Medical And Health Sciences

Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Complementary and Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified

Medical And Health Sciences

Neurosciences - Neurosciences not elsewhere classified
Talitha also has a special interest in nutritional neuroscience, which explores the impact of food and nutrients on brain function.

Medical And Health Sciences

Nutrition and Dietetics - Public Nutrition Intervention

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