Researcher biography

Nina Pocuca is a Research Fellow with the Lives Lived Well Research Group, in the School of Psychology, The University of Queensland. Nina works on the Meaningful Outcomes Centre of Research Excellence, which aims to implement routine outcome measures and feedback (ROMF) in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector to increase its capacity to deliver evidence-based and cost-effective care.

Nina completed her PhD with the National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research at Queensland University of Technology (2019), where her research examined the interplay between personality and peer norms, on alcohol use in young people. Following her PhD, Nina completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California San Diego (UCSD; 2019-2020) and the University of Montreal (UdeM; 2020-2022). Nina's postdoctoral research at UCSD focused on the association between substance use and cognitive function, while her Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded postdoctoral fellowship at UdeM used 25+ years of longitudinal data to examine factors associated with comorbidity in mental health and addiction.

Nina's interests lie in examining factors associated with comorbidity in addiction and mental health, understanding the association between substance use and cognitive function, and translating research findings stemming from these areas into practice.

Current projects include:

  • Projects as part of the Meaningful Outcomes Centre of Research Excellence:
    • Determining the most effective way to maximize the uptake of ROMF among AOD services, clients, and staff
    • Examining the impact of ROMF on:
      • Client AOD treatment adherence and outcomes
      • AOD service access, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness
      • Staff satisfaction, burnout, and turnover
    • Examining the short- and long-term client outcomes of different AOD service types and settings using ROMF and data linkage
    • Identifying which AOD service types and settings have the best outcomes and are most cost effective for different types of AOD, polydrug use and comorbid mental health presentations using machine learning
  • Co-design and acceptability testing of a drug checking/ pill testing brief intervention
  • Using longitudinal birth cohort data to examine the link between alcohol, cannabis and polysubstance use, and cognitive development in youth (collaboration with the University of Montreal)

Nina is currently available to supervise honours students.