Ageing, Health and Well-Being Research Centre


Our research center aims to facilitate research on mental health from a neuropsychological perspective in South-East Asian communities. We have two main special interests: (1) To understand mental health from a multi-dimensional way (neural, cognitive, emotional, and physical health) amongst ageing citizens in South-East Asia.; (2) To understand the determinants of mental health and well-being in low-income communities.

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Team Members

Professor / Head of Centre

Alexandre Schaefer is currently a professor of psychology at Sunway University. He has worked for more than 20 years in the field of human emotions and their interactions with cognitive processes using methods from both psychology and neuroscience. The promise of this field of research is to contribute towards a better understanding of mental health disorders linked to a dysfunction of emotions (e.g. depression and anxiety disorders). In recent years, He has developed a research programme exploring how socioeconomic factors affect mental health and the process of ageing, with a particular focus on populations from developing countries. A full list of publications can be found in his Google Scholar website.




Aleya is a cognitive scientist and currently a post-doctoral research fellow in the Healthy Ageing and Well-Being Research Cluster in the School of Medical and Life Sciences at Sunway University. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge where she also worked part-time as a graduate research assistant. She obtained her BSc in Psychology from University College London funded by a Yayasan Khazanah Global Scholarship. Her publications can be found on Google Scholar.




Chan is currently a post-doctoral research fellow in the Healthy Ageing and Well-Being Research Cluster in the School of Medical and Life Sciences at Sunway University. His research interests include exploring mechanism(s) underlying the relationship between socioeconomic conditions and mental health risks. He is also interested in investigating how autobiographical memory plays a role in mental health risks. He is currently involved in the project of investigating how lifestyle choices can optimally promote healthy-ageing using multi-dimensional approach, which includes behavioral, cognitive and neuroscience methodology.



Arjun Thanaraju is a Doctoral Researcher at Sunway University with a deep interest in evidence-informed policy making that promotes equitable access to high-quality and discrimination-free health care for all, particularly in the field of mental health. Upon obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Biology with Psychology from Sunway University, Arjun worked with leading science-policy organisations such as the Galen Centre for Health & Social Policy and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). For his undergraduate thesis, Arjun investigated the structural and functional brain differences underlying transgenderism. Currently, his research focuses on the intricate relationships between socioeconomic status and brain ageing, with the aim of identifying at-risk groups and introducing timely interventions that encourage healthy brain ageing.




Zacchary is a doctoral researcher at Sunway University. He received his Bachelor’s degree (with honours) in Psychology from Sunway University and was awarded with a PhD direct entry. His PhD dissertation is about examining the effects of nature walk on senior citizens’ mental health, physical health, and executive functioning, with the goal of determining whether nature walks are beneficial to the well-being of senior citizens in Malaysia.


Samira is a doctoral researcher at Sunway University. Her research focuses on cognitive ageing in older adults. Currently, she is evaluating the effectiveness of a real-life and technology-based cognitive intervention in postponing the age-related cognitive declines in healthy older adults. She is using a range of cognitive measures in her PhD project. She received her Master's degree from Shiraz University (Iran) in clinical psychology where she studied executive functioning in young adults diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Samira is a trained psychometrist with experience in psychological assessment and diagnosis. She has collaborated on various mental health-related projects in the psychotherapy and counselling centre of Shiraz University. She completed her Bachelor's degree in clinical psychology (Shiraz University).


Monash / UKM PhD student

Wang Junyi is currently a J.D. candidate at the University of Melbourne. She received her Master’s in professional counselling and psychology (honours) Bachelor degrees from Monash University. She has worked with populations from less advantaged backgrounds including refugees, trauma survivors, and rural populations in both clinical and research settings. The recent publication includes (with R. S. K. Ting, L. Sundararajan, Y. Luo & K. J. Zhang), "Resilience revisited: AIDS and resilience among a Yi ethnic minority in Southwest China" in Theory & Psychology (2021).

Monash / UKM PhD student

Dexter Shee joined Monash University Malaysia in 2015 as a research assistant in the Neurobusiness Behavioural Laboratory. His work primarily involved psychological and behavioural research using cognitive neuroscience techniques, including electroencephalogram (EEG) and eye-tracking technology. During this period, he has gained experience both in laboratory and field studies, collaborating with researchers on multidisciplinary projects both in academia and in the private sector, and took on leadership roles in the various research projects. He has also co-authored several published papers on the results of these studies. Currently, Dexter is pursuing his graduate studies as a full-time PhD candidate. His research interests include aging, socioeconomic differences, decision making, and cognitive health.



Annette is a doctoral researcher and graduate research assistant at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Her research interests are on cognitive ageing in older adults, with a great focus on general cognitive well being, decision making, processing speed and socioeconomic differences. She received her masters from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in adolescent and positive psychology where she studied resilience, self-esteem and familial factors among juvenile delinquents in Malaysia. During this period, she closely worked with juvenile delinquents with diverse backgrounds from the Tunas Bakti Schools around Malaysia. She also has many years of experience in both research and academia and was previously heading the psychology department for the SACE International programme at Taylor’s College.

External Partners

Monash University


Prof Dr. Tin Tin Su joined Monash University Malaysia as a Professor in the Global Public Health division in August 2018 and became the Director of the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) in October 2020. She obtained her Doctorate in Medicine from the School of Medicine, Heidelberg University, Germany (2006).

Professor Su is passionate about improving population health via community engagement, social epidemiology, and implementation science research. Her research has been supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), Medical Research Council UK (MRC-UK); John Templeton Foundation (USA), Ministry of Education-Malaysia, and various internal grants. Professor Su is an executive board member of the International Health Literacy Association (IHLA) and the Asian region director. She is an honorary professor at the University of Malaya (Malaysia) and a visiting scholar at the Queen’s University of Belfast (UK).


PAWE Subang Jaya

PAWE Subang Jaya is one of the largest Senior Citizens clubs in the Klang Valley area, with which Sunway University has an active MOU. The ongoing collaboration between our center and PAWE-SJ has led to scientific findings about cultural differences in ageing and the effects of ageing on social cognition (Yong et al., 2022, in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 77(2), 332-340; and Phillips et al., 2021 in Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 631458.)