Dr Ann-Maree Vallence

NHMRC Peter Doherty Research Fellow I Senior Lecturer

About me

I received my BSc (Hons Psychology) and PhD from the University of Western Australia under the supervision of Prof Geoff Hammond and Dr Karen Reilly. Following completion of my PhD, I worked as a University Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Neuromotor Plasticity and Development Group at the University of Adelaide, working with Prof Michael Ridding, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders at University College London, working with Prof John Rothwell. In 2015, I moved to Murdoch University as an NHMRC Peter Doherty Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Exercise Science.

Research interests:

  • Characterising age-related changes in the human cortical motor network and the role of these changes in age-related voluntary movement decline;
  • Understanding the mechanisms of cortical plasticity and their role in learning;
  • Investigating factors that influence the induction of cortical plasticity (e.g. the stress hormone cortisol);
  • Understanding the role of altered cortical plasticity in disease and injury (e.g. burn injury);
  • Investigating how we can best harness the capacity of the brain for cortical plasticity in rehabilitation following brain injury (e.g. stroke).

Teaching area

Currently, I guest lecture in the areas of motor control and cognitive neuroscience, and supervise research students (PhD, DPsych, Masters, Honours).

Previously, I have taught undergraduate cognitive neuroscience, behavioural neuroscience, and specialist research practicals (behavioural neuroscience), and have lectured in a postgraduate neurophysiotherapy masters program.

Research areas

  • Characterising age-related changes in the human cortical motor network and the role of these changes in age-related voluntary movement decline;
  • Understanding the mechanisms of cortical plasticity and their role in learning;
  • Investigating factors that influence the induction of cortical plasticity (e.g. the stress hormone cortisol);
  • Understanding the role of altered cortical plasticity in disease and injury (e.g. burn injury);
  • Investigating how we can best harness the capacity of the brain for cortical plasticity in rehabilitation following brain injury (e.g. stroke).

Awards and grants

COMPETITIVE RESEARCH FUNDING

Neurotrauma Research Program

Project:Strengthening functional connectivity in the motor system to reduce falls following stroke.

Total: $92,875

Investigators: VALLENCE, A.M, Hill, K.D., Etherton-Beer, C.

Funded: 2017

 

Brain Foundation

Project:A tailored music therapy and real-time biofeedback mobile phone app to promote motor rehabilitation following neurotrauma.

Total: $20,000

Investigators: VALLENCE, A.M, Etherton-Beer, C., Rosenberg, M., Shaykevich, A., Rodger, J.

Funded: 2017

 

WA Department of Health: New Independent Researcher Infrastructure Support Award

Total: $10,000

Investigator: VALLENCE, A.M.

Funded: 2016

 

WA Department of Health Merit Award (NHMRC near-miss)

Project:Strengthening functional connectivity in the aging brain to improve voluntary movement.

Total: $75,000

Investigator: VALLENCE, A.M.

Funded: 2016

 

Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation

Project:Strengthening functional connectivity in the aging brain to improve voluntary movement.

Total: $25,000

Investigator: VALLENCE, A.M.

Funded: 2016

 

Neurotrauma Research Program

Project:A tailored music therapy and real-time biofeedback mobile phone app to promote motor rehabilitation following neurotrauma.

Total: $138,981

Investigators: CI: Rosenberg, M., VALLENCE, A.M., Rodger, J., Shaykevich, A.

Funded: 2016

 

National Stroke Foundation

Project:TOPS: tDCS to Optimise Participation in Stroke Rehabilitation.

Total: $16,444

Investigators: CI: Etherton-Beer, C.; AIs: Lui, Y., Radalj, M.; Singer, B., VALLENCE, A.M.

Funded: 2016

 

Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation (DAAD)

Project: Seeing without awareness.

Total: $47,347

Chief Investigators: O Shea, R.P., Roeber, U., Muller, D., VALLENCE, A.M., Marzecov, A., Scharf, F., Roberts, G., Grimm, S., Anderson, M., Bader, M., Male, A., Crier, J. Widmann, A., & Schrger, E

Funded: 2016-2017

 

NH&MRC Peter Doherty Early Career Researcher Fellowship

Project: Reconnecting the ageing motor system.

Total: $309,436

Funded: 2015-2018

 

Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Project: Reconnecting the aging motor system.

Mentor: Professor John C Rothwell, University College London

Total: $24,500

Funded: 2014

 

Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation Project Grant (SA)

Project: Neural and hormonal factors influencing consolidation in children born preterm.

Chief Investigators: VALLENCE, A.M., Pitcher, J.B., Ridding, M.C., Hodyl, N.A.

Total: $53,462

Funded: 2013

 

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION OF ACHIEVEMENT

Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Award for Early Career Development and Achievement, Murdoch University (2016)

Global Youth Scientists Summit 2016: selected by the Australian Research Council as one of only ten Australian Early Career Researchers to attend the Summit. Fully funded.

Symposium for Western Australian Neurosciences Most Outstanding Presentation (2015)

European Brain and Behaviour Society Young Investigator Award (2014)

Robinson Research Institute International Travel Awards (2012-2014)

University of Western Australia PhD Completion Scholarship (2011)

UWA Office of Convocation Ken and Julie Michael Postgraduate Travel Award (2011)

Australian Federation of University Women Mary Walters Postgraduate Travel Scholarship (2011)

Oral Presentation Award: Symposium of Western Australian Neuroscience Aus. Neuromuscular Research Institute (2010)

Oral Presentation Award: UWA School of Psychology Conference (2010)

Events and speaking engagements

MEDIA

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/reconnecting-the-aging-brain-tickets-33610187977

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/perth/programs/wa-afternoons/music-therapy/8434118

 

SELECTED ORAL CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting 2016 (Newcastle, NSW 24-27 Nov 2016). Connectivity between the supplementary motor area and the primary motor cortex declines with age.

Australasian Brain Stimulation Meeting (Melbourne, Victoria 28-29 July 2016). Long-interval intracortical inhibition is asymmetric in younger but not older adults.

Sensorimotor Control Meeting 2015 (Brisbane, QLD 20-21 Feb 2015). Reproducibility of neuroplastic responses induced by theta-burst stimulation.

European Brain and Behaviour Congress 2014 (Brides Les Baines, France, 17-22 March 2014). Pathophysiology of chronic pain: what non-invasive brain stimulation can tell us.

Australian Neuroscience Society Sensorimotor Satellite Meeting 2014 (Adelaide, South Australia, 1 Feb 2014). The influence of cortical alpha oscillatory activity on motor cortical excitability and plasticity induction.

Australasian Brain Stimulation Meeting (Melbourne, Victoria, 24-26 July 2013). Long-lasting intracortical inhibition and facilitation in the human primary motor cortex.

10th Motor Control and Human Skill Conference (Mandurah, Western Australia, 29 Nov–2 Dec 2011). Plasticity of forearm flexor but not extensor representations in human motor cortex during ischemic nerve block.

Symposium of Western Australian Neuroscience (Perth, April 2011). Motor cortex reorganization of a forearm flexor but not a forearm extensor during ischemic nerve block.

 

SELECTED INVITED DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS

Fiona Stanley Hospital Grand Round, Mental Health. Clinical and research models for the use of rTMS: opportunities and challenges. (8 Nov 2016)

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Plasticity and functional connectivity in the human motor cortex. (24 June 2015)

Department of Psychological Sciences, Centre for Brain Imaging University of California Santa Barbara. Investigation and characterization of human cortical plasticity using non-invasive brain stimulation. (11 April 2014)

Movement Science Group, Columbia University, New York City. Investigation and characterization of human cortical plasticity using non-invasive brain stimulation. (3 April 2014)

Institute of Medical Research (INSERM), Lyon. Investigation and characterization of human cortical plasticity using non-invasive brain stimulation. (21 March 2014)

Centre for Neuroscience Seminar Series, Flinders University, Adelaide. Non-invasive induction of plasticity in the human cortex: Uses and limitations. (23 October 2013)

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Sydney. Plasticity of the primary motor cortex: studies using non-invasive brain stimulation. (25 January 2013)

Neuromotor Plasticity and Development Group, University of Adelaide. Reorganization of human primary motor cortex during ischemic nerve block: studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation. (22 September 2011)

Brain Plasticity Group, Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, University of Oxford. In the reorganized cortex not all muscles are equal: reorganization of a forearm flexor but not a forearm extensor during ischemic nerve block. (June 2011)

Institute of Medical Research (INSERM), Lyon. Reorganization of human primary motor cortex during ischemic nerve block: studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation. (January 2011)

Professional and community service

INVITED REVIEWER

Cortex; Journal of Neurophysiology; Clinical Neurophysiology; Brain Stimulation; Brain Research; Neuroscience Letters

 

INVITED EXTERNAL REVIEWER

Rebecca Cooper Medical Research Foundation 2016; Neurological Foundation of New Zealand 2016; Velux Stiftung (Switzerland) Project Grant 2014; NHMRC Project Grant Scheme 2013

 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Invited Mentor: The Innovators Tea Party, Health Sciences and Medicine session 2017 https://innovatorsteaparty.org/

Woodside Corporate and Legal Away Day (2016): Harnessing the brain’s capacity for neuroplasticity.

Stories of Australian Science (2016): http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/2016/brainconnections

Aged Care Insite (2016): https://soundcloud.com/agedcareinsite/ann-maree-vallence-from-murdoch-university

Australian Brain Bee WA Finals (2016) guest presentation.

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Current

PhD: Katherine Hankinson, commenced 2016; Brittany Rurak, commenced 2017; Kym Wnasbrough, commencing 2017

Masters: Casey Whife, 2016

Honours: Aleks Miljevic; Liam Quinn; Justin Andre

Publications

  1. VALLENCE, A.M., Smalley, E., Drummond, P.D., and Hammond, G.H. (In Press). Long interval intracortical inhibition is asymmetric in young but not older adults. Accepted Journal of Neurophysiology (JN-00794-2016R2; 20 June 2017).
  2. Hordacre, B., Goldsworthy, M.R., VALLENCE, A.M., Darvishi, S., Moezzi, B., Hamada, M., Rothwell, J.C., and Ridding, M.C. Variability in neural excitability and plasticity induction in the human cortex: a brain stimulation study. Brain Stimulation (available online 6 December 2016).
  3. Tang, A., Iyer, K., VALLENCE, A.M., Fujiyama, H. (2017). Non-linear changes to cortisocpinal excitability induced with increasing intensities of transcranial direct current stimulation. Journal of Physiology 595, 1445-1446.
  4. Hinder, M., Fujiyama, H., and VALLENCE, A.M. (2017). Response to “response to Hoy ‘Gender imbalance and brain stimulation conferences: we have a problem and it is everyone’s problem’”. Brain Stimulation 10, 158-`59.
  5. Muller, S., Gurisik, Y., Hecimovich, M., Harbaugh, G., and VALLENCE, A.M. Individual differences in short-term anticipation training for high-speed interceptive skill. Journal of Motor Learning and Development (Manuscript ID: JMLD.2016-0029.R1 accepted 30 Sept 2016).
  6. *Goldsworthy, M.R., *VALLENCE, A.M., Hodyl, N.A., Semmler, J.G., Pitcher, J.B., & Ridding, M.C. (2016). Probing changes in corticospinal excitability following theta-burst stimulation of the human primary motor cortex. Clinical Neurophysiology, 127: 740-747. *Authors contributed equally.
  7. *Goldsworthy, M.R., *VALLENCE, A.M., Yang, R., Pitcher, J.B., & Ridding, M.C. (2016). Combined transcranial alternating current stimulation and cTBS: a novel approach for neuroplasticity induction. European Journal of Neuroscience, 43: 572-579. *Authors contributed equally.
  8. Hodyl, N.A., Schneider, L.A., VALLENCE, A.M., Clow, A., Ridding, M.C., & Oitcher, J.P. The cortisol awakening response is associated with performance of a serial sequence reaction time task. International Journal of Psychophysiology (accepted for publication 21 December 2015 CCD2558R2).
  9. Marneweck, M. and VALLENCE, A.M. (In Press). The neural bases of different levels of action understanding. Journal of Neurolphysiology (accepted for publication 28 Sept 2015 JN-00819-2015R1).
  10. *VALLENCE, A.M., *Goldsworthy, M.R., Hodyl, N.A., Semmler, J.G., Pitcher, J.B., & Ridding, M.C. (2015). Inter- and intra-subject variability of motor cortex plasticity following continuous theta-burst stimulation. Neuroscience, 304: 266-278. *Authors contributed equally.
  11. VALLENCE, A.M. and Drummond, P. (2015). Are movement disturbances in complex regional pain syndrome intentional? European Journal of Pain, 19: 877-878.
  12. Pitcher, J.B., Doeltgen, S.H., Goldsworthy, M.R., Schneider, L.A., VALLENCE, A.M., Smith, A.E., Semmler, J.G., McDonnell, M.N., & Ridding, M.C. (2015). A comparison of two methods for estimating 50% of the maximal motor evoked potential. Clinical Neurophysiology, 126: 2337-2341.
  13. VALLENCE, A.M. and Ridding MC. (2014). Non-invasive induction of plasticity in the human cortex: Uses and limitations. Cortex, 58: 261-271.
  14. VALLENCE, A.M., Schneider, L.A., Pitcher, J.B., & Ridding, M.C. (2014). Long-interval facilitation and inhibition are differentially affected by conditioning stimulus intensity over different time courses. Neuroscience Letters, 570: 114-116.
  15. Clow, A., Law, R., Evans, P., VALLENCE, A.M., Hodyl, N., Goldsworthy, N., Rothwell JC. & Ridding, MC. (2014). Day differences in the cortisol awakening response (CAR) correlate with day differences in synaptic plasticity in the brain. Stress, 17: 219-223.
  16. VALLENCE, A.M., Goldsworthy, M.R. (2014). Can non-invasive brain stimulation enhance function in the ageing brain? Journal of Neurophysiology, 111: 1-3.
  17. Singer, B., VALLENCE, A.M., Cleary, S., Cooper, I., Loftus, A. (2013). The effect of an EMG triggered electrical stimulation program ± bilateral training on arm function and inter-hemispheric inhibition after stroke: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 31: 681-691.
  18. VALLENCE, A.M., Kurylowicz L., & Ridding, M.C. (2013) A comparison of neuroplastic responses to non-invasive brain stimulation protocols and motor learning in healthy adults. Neuroscience Letters, 549: 151-156.
  19. Goldsworthy M., VALLENCE, A.M. (2013). The role of ß-amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease-related neurodegeneration. Journal of Neuroscience 33(32): 12910-12911.
  20. VALLENCE, A.M., Smith, A., Tabor A., Rolan, P., Ridding, M.C. (2013). Chronic tension-type headache is associated with impaired motor learning. Cephalalgia, 33(12): 1048-1054.
  21. VALLENCE, A.M., Hammond G., & Reilly, K. (2012). Increased corticospinal excitability of flexor but not extensor muscles induced by ischemic nerve block. Journal of Neurophysiology. 107: 3417-27.
  22. VALLENCE, A.M., Reilly K., & Hammond G. (2012). Excitability of intracortical inhibitory and facilitatory circuits following induction of ischemic nerve block. Restorative Neurology & Neuroscience, 30: 345-354.
  23. Hammond, G., & VALLENCE, A.M. (2007). Modulation of long-interval intracortical inhibition and the silent period by voluntary contraction. Brain Research, 1158: 63-70.
  24. Hammond, G.R., & VALLENCE, A.M. (2006). Asymmetrical facilitation of motor-evoked potentials following motor practice. Neuroreport, 17: 805-807