Dr Denise Dillon is currently 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 leads academic staff and HDR students through the following activities: 

  • Developing research strategy and the dissemination of this research strategy
  • Promoting research, celebrating our research, external outreach and partner development
  • Monitoring of research grant opportunities and working with Research Support to implement workable solutions regarding grant administration
  • Facilitating HDR advisor training
  • Advising students, advisors and when necessary the Dean on the policies and procedures with respect to supervision of JCU Singapore HDR candidates

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 also arranged a full-day tour of Singapore locations incorporating components of biophilic built design, which Sue refers to here

Denise is currently Primary Advisor for a PhD candidate and a Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology) candidate, and has extensive supervisory experience in fourth-year and graduate research, having supervised more than 80 fourth-year students and 11 graduate-level students to completion (as at June 2018). Graduate students include those in the Master and Doctor of Clinical Psychology courses, as well as research doctorates (PhD). 

Current Project

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') 

Recent Projects include the following:

  • 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

Media Mentions 

June 2017 Interview with Lianhe Zaobao on the healing effects of greenery (in Chinese) 

April 2017 Sue Thomas's Technobiophilia blog 

May 2016 Straits Times feature 'Natural Settings Lower Stress'

Peer Review 

In 2015 my Honours supervisee, Paul Victor Patinadan, was chosen for a Highly Commended award for the paper based on his thesis, "Friends, Food or Worth Fighting For? A Proposed Stereotype Content Model for Nonhuman Animals" 

  • 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.
  • 2017 to present - Member of Academic Board, JCU (Australia)
  • 2016 to present - Research Cluster Leader: Biophilia Research Cluster, JCU (Singapore)
  • 2015 to present - Senior Lecturer, 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)
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
  • 2003 to 2008 - JCU Faculty postgraduate scholarship (annual stipend)
  • 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, Harvard (Cambridge, MA)
  • 2012 - Visiting Scholar, Northwestern University (Evanston, ILL)

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 25+ 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.

  • Measuring Emotional Dysregulation In Early Childhood (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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