Dr Denise Dillon is the Associate Dean of Research (and Research Education) at the JCU Singapore campus and she is also a Member of the JCU Academic Board. After serving as Head of Academic Group for psychology, arts and education for almost 10 years and as the Managing Editor of the Journal of Tropical Psychology for 2 years, Denise now facilitates and promotes the strategic direction of research within JCUS, improvements in the quality and impact of that research, and the growth of local, national and international research collaborations. Additionally, Denise provides leadership to academic staff and HDR students. 

Her primary research focus is biophilia (love for life and lifelike processes) pertaining to both natural and built environments, and Denise is a certified Forest Therapy Guide and is active in the community as one of three pioneers of forest therapy guiding in Singapore. In March 2016 Denise presented a public lecture on the broader background of research in her area, titled The Peace of Wild Things: Attention Restoration Through Biophilic Design. In May 2017, Denise, as leader of the biophilia research cluster at JCU Singapore, hosted Sue Thomas as a Visiting Scholar. During her visit, Sue (author of Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace) presented a public lecture on her key topic:  Living well with nature in a wired world: an introduction to technobiophilia

Denise is currently Primary Advisor for 2 Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) candidates and a Master of Clincal Psychology student, and Advisor Mentor for two PhD candidates. She has extensive supervisory experience in fourth-year and graduate research, having supervised more than 90 fourth-year students and 11 graduate-level students to completion (as at December, 2019). Graduate students include those in the Master and Doctor of Clinical Psychology courses, as well as research doctorates (PhD). 


2 Surveys: Psychosocial effects of COVID-19 in Singapore and Internationally

We are seeking responses from people aged 18 years and over who are residing in Singapore during COVID-19. The study is being conducted by a team of researchers representing James Cook University (JCU), the National University of Singapore, and the Singapore Psychological Society under the leadership of Dr Denise Dillon, a Senior Lecturer of Psychology at James Cook University in Singapore. The project has approval from the JCU Human Research Ethics Committee (approval no. H8064). 

The SINGAPORE VERSION is now closed.         

We are seeking responses from people aged 18 years and over from anywhere in the world. The study is being conducted by a team of researchers representing James Cook University (JCU), the National University of Singapore, and the Singapore Psychological Society under the leadership of Prof Caryn West and Dr Denise Dillon,  at James Cook University. The project has approval from the JCU Human Research Ethics Committee (approval no. H8064). 


Survey: Feelings About Nature and Plants 

We are seeking responses from Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents aged 18 and above. The study is being conducted by Dr Denise Dillon and A/Prof Louise Phillips who are both researchers at James Cook University in Singapore. The project has approval from the JCU Human Research Ethics Committee (approval no. H8023).

Visit the survey.  

Recent Projects include the following:

  • Virtual reality greenspaces: Does level of immersion affect directed attention restoration in VR environments?
  • A Preliminary Validation of Guided Forest Therapy as an Effective and Beneficial Practice in a Healing Setting (co-funded by an internal research grant from JCU Singapore and SkillsFuture SG and with the in-kind support of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital through the use of their 'garden in a hospital') 
  • Impact of nature imagery and mystery on attention restoration in young adults
  • Community gardening: Stress, well-being and resilience potentials 
  • Parental connection and attitudes toward nature and children’s time spent in nature
  • Exposing the bear in the woods: an exploratory analysis on animal metaphors  
  • A room with a view: Do nature views influence moral compassion? 

Denise is seeking expressions of interest from motivated individuals in a potential PhD project on the validation of nature and forest therapy. 

Contact me to discuss a potential fee waiver if interested in this specific project. 

Denise also has a keen interest in the field of ecocriticism, and presented two papers at the September 2017 Tropics of the Imagination conference in Singapore. 

  • Tropical Tribulation and the Ruptured Rapture: Fouled Fecundity in Atwood's Oryx and Crake
  • “Footprint”: The Apocalyptic Imprint of End as Immanent in Atwood’s Oryx and Crake

Community Outreach

I'm scheduled to present an invited talk at the Happiness Conference here in Singapore on 20 March, 2020. Register for the conference if you're interested to participate in a line-up of talks and workshops focusing on happiness. 

In March 2019, Dr Denise Dillon was elected as Research Chair for the Singapore Psychological Society Council 2019-2021, and organised the annual SPS Student Research Awards in October 2019. 

In September 2018, Denise contributed to the International Forest Bathing Day as a speaker and Forest Therapy Guide at our Singapore event at the Botanic Gardens. She was also an invited speaker at the Biophilia and Nature Education Symposium in January 2019, and again conducted a guided Forest Therapy walk at the event. Denise presented sessions on Forest Therapy and biophilic design at the Singapore American School's Wellness Summit in August, 2019. 

Media Mentions 

Peer Review 

  • Denise is the leader of a research cluster at JCU Singapore, to facilitate research on topics such as Biophilia/biophobia and technobiophilia, and Human-environment, human-animal interactions
  • Her key teaching focus is environmental psychology, with additional teaching experience in the areas of personality and individual psychology, statistics and research methods, memory & cognition, health and social psychology, lifespan development, and effective writing.
  • 2018 to present - Associate Dean Research/Research Education, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2017 to present - Member of Academic Board, JCU (Australia)
  • 2015 to present - Senior Lecturer, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2019 to 2021 - Research Chair, Singapore Psychological Society (Singapore)
  • 2016 to 2018 - Research Cluster Leader: Biophilia Research Cluster, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2015 to 2018 - Head of Academic Group Psychology and Education, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2015 to 2017 - Managing Editor, Journal of Tropical Psychology
  • 2008 to 2014 - Lecturer, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2008 to 2014 - Associate Dean of Psychology, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2007 - Contract research assistant, JCU (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2007 - Contract data analysis consultant, Self-employed (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2003 to 2007 - Lecturer/Associate Lecturer/Subject Coordinator, JCU (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2004 - Contract interviewer, QADREC, School of Population Health, UQ (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2003 - Child Protection Officer, Dept of Families (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2001 to 2003 - Volunteer Supervisor on Call, Lifeline (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2000 to 2002 - Volunteer Telephone Counsellor, Lifeline (Cairns, Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2017 - JCU Singapore Academic of the Year
  • 2002 - War Widows Guild of Australia (QLD) Cairns Sub Branch prize for highest achievement in English Literature in a 1st, 2nd & 3rd year sequence
  • 2000 - Ross Smith prize for highest mark in a third-year English Literature subject
  • 2020 - Accredited Research Manager (Foundation)
  • 2017 - Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs Supporting Member
  • 2013 - Wallace Stevens Society
  • 2013 - Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE)
  • 2012 - Singapore Psychological Society (Full Member No. FM01241D)
  • 2012 - Visiting Scholar, Northwestern University (Evanston, ILL)
  • 2012 - Visiting Scholar, Harvard (Cambridge, MA)
  • 2005 to 2008 - HCSNet Scholarship (annual conference travel)
  • 2003 to 2008 - JCU Faculty postgraduate scholarship (annual stipend)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 29+ research outputs authored by Dr Denise Dillon from 2005 onwards.


Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Breaking down the mindfulness construct and examining factors influencing mindfulness (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Measuring Emotional Dysregulation In Early Childhood (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A Virtual Reality Approach to Improving Public Speaking Skills (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Academic expectation and suicide behaviour among Singaporean and Malaysian youths (PhD , Advisor Mentor)

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