Her career has focused on understanding the functional and structural organisation of ‘executive functions’ – the cognitive processes that makes humans unique. After graduating in 1993 with a PhD in Psychology from UNSW, Frini secured post-doctoral positions at Macquarie and Montreal Universities. Upon completion in 1998, Frini secured a position as full-time academic at the University of Newcastle. Frini’s contribution to the Psychology, Neuroscience and Psychopathology communities has been significant. She has published 80 peer-reviewed papers in high impact journals, such as Neuroscience, Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping, Psychophysiology, in addition to 3 book chapters and 2 edited volumes. Her career has focused on understanding the functional and structural organisation of ‘executive functions’ – the cognitive processes that makes humans unique. Executive processes are important for supporting humans to plan goal-directed behaviours and adaptively adjust their plans change. Executive functions are especially sensitive to brain changes that occur with increasing age, and this has implications for quality of life in old age. Her work seeks to develop approaches to promote and maintain healthy executive functions across the lifespan.
As a testament to her contribution, her work is frequently cited internationally and is featured at national and international conferences. Frini is the Director of the state-of-the art Functional Neuroimaging Lab at the University of Newcastle and the Convenor of the Psychological Processes Hub. She is also an executive member of the Priority Research Centre for Stroke & Brain Injury, where she leads and consults on projects examining neurodegenerative disorders and ageing. Frini’s current research aims to addresses questions with a clinical and applied significance and a specific focus on cognitive control processes at three stages of life, summarised as:
Throughout Frini’s career she has held a number of senior roles, including President (2018-20) of the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society; member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts; Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (FAPS, 2017); and Senior Visiting Fellow, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology, 2016. Frini’s is an active member of the community, regularly presenting her wealth of knowledge in at public forums for HMRI, PRC-Stroke, and community organisations.