Our People

James Roberts

Associate Professor | Team Head

Brain Modelling

+61 7 3845 3850



Dr James Roberts leads the Brain Modelling Group at QIMR Berghofer. He joined the Institute in 2010 after obtaining his PhD in physics at the University of Sydney. Most of his research lies broadly in the field of computational neuroscience, at the intersection of physics, mathematics, neuroscience, and neurology. Dr Roberts employs a multidisciplinary approach that combines computational and analytical methods with clinical electrophysiological and neuroimaging data, to tackle complex problems in neuroscience and brain health. Since late 2020, the Brain Modelling Group has branched out into modelling COVID-19 epidemiology. The team is modelling how COVID-19 spreads through the population, focusing on the best ways to mitigate potential outbreaks in Queensland.


2018-current: Team Head, Brain Modelling Group


2017-2018: Senior Research Officer, Systems Neuroscience Group, QIMR Berghofer

2010-2017: Research Officer, Systems Neuroscience Group, QIMR Berghofer




Dr Roberts models and analyses brain structure and dynamics in health and disease. This work currently follows two major themes: developing new diagnostic methods for neonatal brain health and modelling large-scale brain activity across the lifespan.

In neonates, his work uses techniques from physics and machine learning to extract more information than ever before from intensive care monitoring of babies born prematurely. The goal is to enable early detection of injuries and early prognosis of developmental outcomes, so that clinicians can optimise care with personalised markers of brain health, potentially opening the window for new treatments.

On the modelling side, Dr Roberts is harnessing the rapid developments in neuroimaging technology and connectomics to develop new mathematical models of brain activity, in particular at the spatial scales most relevant to human health. The goal is to fill in some of the large gaps in our knowledge of how neuroimaging brain signals emerge from brain structure, on how this relationship varies as we grow and age, and how things can go wrong leading to neurological and psychiatric disorders.


2018: David van Essen Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher, ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain function

2018: Brain Sciences Award, Rebecca L Cooper Foundation


2010: PhD, University of Sydney

2005: BSc (Advanced) Hons I with University Medal, University of Sydney