BSc (Hons) (Melbourne); PhD (Clinical Neuropsychology) (Melbourne)


Sarah is an expert in Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology. Her research program has advanced our understanding of the genetic and neural underpinnings of human cognition and behaviour. She has pioneered music genetic and neuroscience research in Australia, showing how music can enhance brain function in healthy individuals, and facilitate recovery after brain injury. Clinically, she has expertise in the cognitive and psychosocial assessment of individuals with neurological disorders, specialising in epilepsy and autism. She has identified a syndrome that arises following surgical treatment of chronic epilepsy, that is applicable to other chronic conditions, leading to better management of the cognitive, emotional, and social difficulties faced by individuals with brain disorders.

Sarah is current Head of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and Director of Music, Mind and Wellbeing (MMW), a world-first initiative linking neuroscience with music and social wellbeing. She leads a vibrant team of researchers in the Clinical & Music Neuroscience Lab, employing behavioural, genetic, and neuroimaging techniques in her research. She has secured continual funding for her research since the commencement of her career (> million), resulting in >140 peer-reviewed publications. In the field of Clinical Neuropsychology, she is currently listed in the top 10 most cited researchers on Google Scholar. Over the course of her career, she has mentored and supervised 108 honours and graduate students, 7 Postdoctoral fellows, 1 Senior Research fellow, and 8 Neuropsychology Registrars. Her research and that of her team has received multiple international and national prizes and has changed clinical practice around the globe, with her approach to patient care being used as a benchmark of best practice (International League Against Epilepsy Commission Report (ILAE), 2011). She has established a hospital-based rehabilitation service for epilepsy patients and their families, and more recently, a community-based Psychosocial Clinic for patients with Functional Neurological Disorders. Sarah is current Chair of the ILAE Diagnostic Methods Commission and previous Chair of the ILAE Neuropsychology Task Force. In recognition of her contributions to health and medical research, she was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS). She is extremely humbled to be welcomed as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia (FASSA).

Professor and Head of School 

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Professorial Fellow

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The University of Melbourne

Adjunct Senior Fellow 

Melbourne Medical School (Austin), The University of Melbourne

Director, Music, Mind & Wellbeing 

Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, The University of Melbourne

Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist

Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Austin Health

Fellow, Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS)

Fellow, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA)

Member, Australian Psychological Society (MAPS), College of Clinical Neuropsychology (CCN)

Board Approved Supervisor of Registrars, Psychology Board of Australia, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Member, Epilepsy Society of Australia (ESA)

Chair, Diagnostic Methods Commission, International League Against Epilepsy, 2017-2021

Chair, Neuropsychology Task Force, Commission on Diagnostic Methods, International League Against Epilepsy, 2013-2017

Member, ILAE‐Education Council, International League Against Epilepsy, 2014-2023

Member, Identification, Treatment and Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders Task Force, Commission on Psychiatry, International League Against Epilepsy, 2017-2021

Member, Psychiatric Aspects of Epilepsy Surgery Task Force, International League Against Epilepsy, 2010

Member, Research Commission, International Bureau of Epilepsy, 2002-2005

Vice-President, Asia-Pacific Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, 2010-2013 

President, Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS), 2010-2013 

Advisory Council Member, Music Trust, Australian Arts Trust, 2013- 

Editorial Board, Epilepsia Open, 2016-2018 

Associate Editor, Epileptic Disorders, 2013-2018

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, 2010-

Editorial Board, Epilepsy & Behavior, 2008-

Norman Curry Award for Innovation and Excellence in Educational Programs, The University of Melbourne, 2017

Teaching Excellence Award, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, 2014

Excellence Award for Equity, Diversity and Staff Development, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, 2014

Learning and Teaching Award, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, 2009

IBE-SPACE Prize, International Bureau of Epilepsy, 1999

1. Trevis, KJ#, Brown, NJ#, Green, CC, Lockhart, PJ, Desai, T, Vick, T, Anderson, V, Pua, EPK, Bahlo, M, Delatycki, MB, Scheffer, IE+, Wilson, SJ+, 2020, Tracing autism traits in large multiplex families to identify endophenotypes of the Broader Autism Phenotype. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21, 7965, doi: 10.3390/ijms21217965. #,+denotes equal first and senior authorship

2. Wilson, SJ, Rayner, G, Pieters, J, 2020, Positive illusions determine quality of life in drug‐resistant epilepsy. Epilepsia, 61, 539-548.

3. Bird, LJ, Jackson, GD, Wilson, SJ, 2019, Music training is neuroprotective for verbal cognition in focal epilepsy. Brain, 142, 1973-1987.

4. Rayner, G, Jackson, GD, Wilson, SJ, 2016, Cognition-related brain networks underpin the symptoms of unipolar depression: evidence from a systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 61, 53-65.

5. Wilson, SJ, Baxendale, S, Barr, W, Hamed, S, Langfitt, J, Samson, S, Watanabe, M, Baker, GA, Helmstaedter, C, Hermann, BP, Smith, ML, 2015, Indications and expectations for neuropsychological assessment in routine epilepsy care: Report of the ILAE Neuropsychology Task Force, Diagnostic Methods Commission, 2013-2017. Epilepsia, 56, 674-681.