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Associate Professor Femke Buisman-Pijlman

Academic Program Director (Health), The University of Melbourne

Femke is a Behavioural Neuroscientist with a long track record in the neurobiological basis of individual differences in behaviour and mental health. She enjoys working on the intersection between psychology, physiology and behaviour using a translational approach. She has launched a new theory about the effects of early life experiences on the developing oxytocin system and the impact this has on later drug use and supporting several projects investigating this link.

Femke is also a leader in online education and curriculum development and manages a large portfolio of postgraduate and short health courses as Academic Program Director (Health) at the University of Melbourne. In her role at the Melbourne School of Professional and Continuing Education, she leads the idea development and market insight to connect areas of academic excellence and market demand advising on optimal modes of study.

Femke engages extensively with the community. She has for example developed a free online course on Managing addiction for Health professionals (EdX). She likes to actively engage school kids in neuroscience and support women and girls pursue a passion in STEM.


  • 2019–present
    Associate professor, University of Melbourne
  • 2008–2019
    Affiliate Graduate Faculty , Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
  • 2012–2019
    Senior Lecturer Addiction Studies , University of Adelaide
  • 2007–2012
    Lecturer, University of Adelaide
  • 2007–2008
    Senior lecturer, Flinders University
  • 2005–2007
    Postdoctoral research associate Family Studies, Leiden University, Netherlands
  • 2002–2005
    Program Officer, Addiction Program, Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)
  • 2004–2005
    Research associate, Unit International Affairs, Trimbos Institute, The Netherlands
  • 2002–2004
    Research associate, Party Drug Monitor, Trimbos Institute, The Netherlands


  • 2014 
    Adelaide University, GradCert Online Learning (Higher Ed)
  • 2013 
    Women's and Children's Hospital, Infant Mental Health Certificate
  • 2001 
    University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands, PhD Psychopharmacology
  • 1997 
    Utrecht University, Netherlands, MSc Biology (Medical Sciences and Ethology)
  • 1994 
    Utrecht University, Netherlands, BSc Biology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Early life adversity: trajectories to mental health and alcohol use
    Funding Source:
    Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation (South Australia, Australia)

Research Areas

  • Neurosciences (1109)
  • Developmental Psychology And Ageing (170102)
  • Mental Health (111714)
  • Continuing And Community Education (130101)