Dr Femke Buisman-Pijlman

Senior Lecturer
Dr Femke Buisman-Pijlman
  Org Unit Medical Sciences
  Email femke.buisman-pijlman@adelaide.edu.au
  Telephone +61 8 8313 5989
  Location Floor/Room 5 11c ,  Medical School North ,   North Terrace

2012- present Senior Lecturer Addiction Studies

Discipline of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide.Program director International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS)

2008- present Affiliate Graduate Faculty VCU

Virginia Commonwealth University, Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies.

2017- present Affiliate Member Robinson Research Institute

2007-2012 Lecturer Addiction Studies
Discipline of Pharmacology, Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide. Developing and running a new International Master of Science in Addiction Studies Program with Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) and King's College London (UK). For more info: www.adelaide.edu.au/addiction. Coordinating the Graduate diploma and Graduate certificate in alcohol and drug studies and Teaching two courses in the Graduate Diploma in Addiction and Mental health.

2011- 2012 Affiliate researcher Psychiatric Neuroscience Research Group

Discipline of Psychiatry, Medicine, the University of Adelaide. Researcher in Psychiatry and Neuroscience lab of prof. Bernhard Baune. Research focussed on integrating behaviour, cognitive function, genes and proteins in humans and animal models as demonstrated in various clinical and basic science models of inflammation relevant to cognitive performance and neuropsychiatric disorders. 

2007-2008 Senior Lecturer
National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, Flinders University. Research on trends in alcohol and drug use in the workforce

2005- 2007 Senior researcher (postdoctoral) Child & Family Studies and Data Theory, Leiden University (NL). Coordinating large twin study on gene x environment interaction in effects of parenting on attachment Analysing data on the role of genetic polymorphisms of neurotransmitters in child behaviour and stress response Supervising master students and two PhD students

2004-2005 (50%) Research associate/author Unit International Affairs, Trimbos-institute for Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht (NL). Scientific coordinator of project Evidence-Based Electronic Library for Drugs and Addiction with Portugal and UK. Critical review of information and writing content on risks and effects for site Establishing collaboration with USA (NIDA and SAMSHA) Acquisition of new projects (e.g. Harm Reduction Inventory for EU and EMCDDA)

2002-2005 (50%) Program officer Dutch Addiction Program Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), The Hague (NL). Monitoring progress of funded addiction research projects in Netherlands Coordinating two calls for applications with NIDA with conferences in USA and Holland. Coordinating 5 national calls Coordinating international collaboration in Dutch addiction with USA, UK and France Organising expert meetings to determine future research priorities

2002-2004 (50%) Research associate
National Party Drug Monitor, Trimbos-institute for Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht (NL). Analysing data on content of current party drugs and cannabis Collecting information on risks of new drugs Reporting to addiction centres, policy makers and researchers Analysing results on health risks of drugs during dance events

1997-2001 PhD student / teacher
Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Dept. Psychopharmacology, Utrecht University (NL). Basic animal research on brain mechanisms and behaviour Internship at Solvay Pharmaceuticals (3 months) Teaching Psychopharmacology, Biological psychiatry and Animal behaviour.

1996-1997 Student teacher Animal behaviour, Faculty of Medicine and Biology, Utrecht University (NL).


  • Femke Buisman-Pijlman, B.Sc. (Biol.), M.Sc.(Bio.), Ph.D. (Med.)
  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Online Learning), University of Adelaide 2014.
  • Infant Mental Health Certificate at the Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide 2013.
  • PhD degree Behavioural Pharmacology, PhD Thesis on Emotional and physical stress in rats: Differential enduring effects on behaviour and brain processes. University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands with Prof.dr. J.M. van Ree (1997-2001)
  • Master of Science degree in Biology (major in Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Behaviour), Utrecht University, The Netherlands (1997)
  • Bachelor degree in Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands (1994)


2016 Featured in ABC Catalyst special on Oxytocin and Addiction. View here

2016 PwC Educational collaborator for the 21st Century Minds (21CM) Accelerator Program

2015 MOOC team leader and content developer: Managing Addiction: a framework for succesfful treatment

2014 Team member MOOC: Essential Human Biology

2014 Neuroscientist in residence at Seymour College

2014 Buisman-Pijlman equipment grant Alcohol self-administration equipment, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences ($8.500)

2014 Collins-Praino, Buisman-Pijlman (2014) South Australian Community Grant: National Science week ($1,500)

2013 Managing Guest Editor Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior Special: The role of oxytocin in positive affect and drug-related reward. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00913057/119

2012 Promoted to Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide

2012 Winner for South Australian Early Career STEM Educator of the Year - Tertiary Education.

2012 Buisman-Pijlman, Coller, Powrie, Lee.  School of Medical Scoences Equipment round. Mobile centrifuge unit for research on biomarkers in mental health research in perinatal and adolescent populations.

2012 Buisman-Pijlman, Hutchinson, Pitcher, Salem, Baune, Baetu, Diener. NHMRC equipment grant. Self-administration apparatus to study food preference, learning and addiction in rat and mice.

2012 Travel award from the US National Institute on Drugs Abuse  to present at NIDA International Forum and CPDD

2012 Faculty of Health Sciences International Conference Award (FICA)

2011 recipient of the Executive Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching

2011 finalist for South Australian Early Career STEM Educator of the Year - Tertiary Education

2011 Travel award from the US National Institute on Drugs Abuse  to present at NIDA International Forum and CPDD

2005 Travel award from the US National Institute on Drugs Abuse  to present at NIDA International Forum and CPDD

2005 European Union Tender (250000 Euro/400000 AUSD) to make a comprehensive inventory of all the Drug related Harm Reduction measures in the EU

2006 EU Twinning project Hungary - improve skills in evidence based information collection on drugs and addiction

2004-2007 Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS): arrange scieintific meetings and site visits to inform French, US and UK health care professionals about Dutch treatment options for drug treatment and harm reduction.

2001 Financial support for publication of PhD thesis by Solvay Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Saal van Zwanenberg stichting and Noldus Information Technology b.v.

Several travel awards from Dutch Brain Foundation and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

1997 PhD project and "scholarship" were jointly funded by Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Utrecht University.



Managing Guest Editor Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior Special: 

The role of oxytocin in positive affect and drug-related reward

Associate editor Frontiers in Psychology

Reviewer for several journals and funding agencies like NHMRC and The Netherlands Organisation of Health, Research and Development (ZonMw).

  • Program leader of the Master of Science in Addiction Studies Program with Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) and King's College London (UK)
  • Program director of the Graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies. 
  • Postgraduate coordinator for the Discipline of Pharmacology.
  • Course coordinator for all PGCW courses in Addiction Studies.
  • Contributes to teaching in pharmacology courses in B. of Health Sciences, MBBS, B. Nursing. 
  • Supervisor for PhD, Honours and Master of Science students.

Femke is interested in improving teaching and learning around distance education, student feedback and mature age students.


She is a member of the School of Medical Sciences Learning and Teaching Commitee and the School's Quality Improvement Group as well as the

Selected education publications and presentation

Venning, J. & Buisman-Pijlman, F. (2013) Integrating assessment matrices in feedback loops to promote research skill development in postgraduate research projects, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(5), pp. 567-79.
F.T.A. (2012) Developing excellent researchers in Medical Sciences: start early! Presented at Quality in Postgraduate Research Conference, Glenelg, Australia.
Venning, J and Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A.  (2011) The development of an assessment matrix to promote student learning in post graduate multidisciplinary research projects, ERGO 2(2): 37-44.
, F. and Irvine R. (2011) Experiences Hosting The Joined International Programme In Addiction Studies. (presentation at the 2011 NIDA International Forum, Florida).
, F (2011) Challenging student attitudes to daily clinical practice in an online environment: experiences from an international postgraduate course. Drug and alcohol review 30(supl 1):16.
Williams A. Wolff K., Buisman-Pijlman F.T.A., Loos M. Dyer K., Turf E,, O'Keeffe C., Strang J, Koch JR, Ali R, Balster R, Irvine R (2011) International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS): an overview of the first three years of implementation. Society for the Study of Addiction Symposium 2011, York UK.
, F. and Venning, J. (2010) Applying the Research Skill Development (Level IV) framework for marking matrices in multidisciplinary research. (presentation at The Education Research Group of Adelaide 2010)
, F., Loos, M., Wolff, K. and White J. (2009) New Online International Master of Science in Addiction Studies: A Joined Effort to Improve Learning and Access to Training. Drugs Drug and Alcohol Review 28 (Suppl 1) p A7. (presented at APSAD 2009)
, F. and White J. (2009) How to handle the pros and cons of courses run by distance education only (presented at The Education Research Group of Adelaide 2009): How to handle the pros and cons of courses run by distance education only
, F.T.A., Loos, M., Wolff, K. and White J. (2009) New Online International Master of Science in Addiction Studies: A Joined Effort to Improve Learning and Access to Training. Drug and Alcohol Review 28 (Suppl 1) p A7.


Femke’s research focuses on understanding the relations between early life experiences, biology and drug use. She is especially interested in how early life events change stress responsiveness and drug taking behaviour later in life. Neuropeptides could be key modulators of this long term effect. The role of the immune system in the development of addiction and mental health problems is a special focus as well as the management of pain in people with addiction problems.
Methods: animal and human experimental studies, epidemiology and gene x environment studies.

Femke believes that inter-disciplinary work is vital to study these areas of research. Please feel free to contact her if you are interested in collaborating in any of these areas.



Main collaborators:

University of Adelaide: Mark Hutchinson, Michael Sawyer, Paul Rolan
Local: Andrea Gordon (UniSA), Hsu-En Lee (WCH), Ros Powrie (WCH), Anne Sved Williams (WCH) and Kristin Carson (QEH)

International: Mattie Tops (VU UMC, NL), Sue Carter (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA), Danielle Dick (VCU, USA).



Research students:



PhD (Pharm): Nicole Sumracki - Theral grill illusion as a model for chronic pain (Paul Rolan; Mark Hutchinson)
PhD (Pharm): Jonathan Jacobsen - Alcohol consumption in immune compromised mice (Mark Hutchinson)

PhD (Physiol): Jiajun Liu- Stress regulation in immune compromised animals (Mark Hutchinson)

Honours (Physiol): Krystal Iacopetta - Self-administration in immune compromised mice (Mark Hutchinson)

Honours (Pharm): Emily Alves- Attachment and oxtytocin levels in infants (Andrea Gordon and Michael Sawyer)

Honours (Pharm): Grace Williams - Glial Reactivity and Early Life Exposure to Alcohol (Mark Hutchinson)

Honours (Phys): Melissa Au - Temporal changes induced by morphine in the brain neuroimmune system (Mark Htchinson)

MSc students: Risk and protective factors for alcohol and drug use in adolescent (Michael Sawyer)


Please refer to this page below for an up to date list: 


Research publications (see list above for teaching publications)
Bowen M., Liu J. and Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A. (accepted) Oxytocin: Providing New Avenues for Treating and Understanding Problematic Drug Use. In Preedy (ed) Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse, Academic Press.

Johnson JL, Johnson ME and Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A. (accepted) Neurohypophyseal hormones and drugs of abuse in Neurohypophyseal hormones and drugs of abuse; in Wolff (eds).The Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.

Willison J and Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A. (accepted) Ph.D. prepared: Research skill development across the undergraduate years. International Journal for Researcher Development

Alves, Fielder, Ghabriel, Sawyer and Buisman-Pijlman (2015) Early social environment affects the endogenous oxytocin system: a review and future directions. Front. Endocrinol., 11 March 2015 | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00032

Taylor, A.E. , Lee H-E. and F.T.A. Buisman-Pijlman (2014) Oxytocin treatment in pediatric populations.  Front. Behav. Neurosci. 2014 Oct 16;8:360. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00360.

Liu J, Buisman-Pijlman F, Hutchinson MR  (2014) Toll-like Receptor 4: Innate Immune Regulator of Neuroimmune and Neuroendocrine interactions in Stress and Major Depressive Disorder.Frontiers in Neuroscience (8):00309. DOI=10.3389/fnins.2014.00309     

Sumracki, N. M., Buisman-Pijlman, F. T. A., Hutchinson, M. R., Gentgall, M. and Rolan, P. (2014), Reduced Response to the Thermal Grill Illusion in Chronic Pain Patients. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1111/pme.12379

Buisman-Pijlman F, Broadbear J, Sanyai Z, Guest editorial, Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, Available online 25 November 2013, ISSN 0091-3057, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2013.11.023.

Buisman-Pijlman F, Sumracki NM, Gordon JJ, Hull PR, Carter CS, Tops M. (2013) Individual differences underlying susceptibility to addiction: Role for the endogenous oxytocin system.Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Sep 18. pii: S0091-3057(13)00221-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.09.005 .

Access free:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305713002219

Tops, M., Koole, S.L., IJzerman, H. & Buisman-Pijlman, F.T., (2013), Why Social Attachment and Oxytocin Protect against Addiction and Stress: Insights from the Dynamics between Ventral and Dorsal Corticostriatal Systems,  Available online 31 July 2013, ISSN 0091-3057, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2013.07.015.

Tops, M., Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A., & Carter, C.S. (2012). Oxytocin and attachment facilitate a shift from seeking novelty to recognizing and preferring familiarity: The key to increasing resilience? In Martha Kent, Mary C. Davis, John W. Reich (Eds.), The Resilience Handbook: Approaches to Stress and Trauma. Routledge Publishers.

Tops M, Buisman-Pijlman F, Boksem MAS, Wijers AA, Korf J (2012) Cortisol-induced increases of plasma oxytocin levels predict decreased immediate free recall of unpleasant words. Frontiers in Psychiatry.May 16;3:43. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00043. eCollection.

Pidd, K; Roche, A; Buisman-Pijlman, F (2011) Intoxicated workers: findings from a national Australian Survey. Addiction, 106, 1623-1633.

Sardelis NS, Buisman-Pijlman F, Hutchinson MR, Rolan PE (2011) The response to the thermal grill illusion in chronic pain patients. Anaesthesia and Intensive care 39 (4): 751.

Crowley P and Buisman-Pijlman FTA (2011) Tool based assessment and management triage to reduce opioid misuse in chronic cancer pain. Drug and alcohol review. 30(supl 1):21-22.

Pidd K, Roche AM and Buisman-Pijlman FTA (2011) Alcohol, drug use and intoxication in the workplace: prevalence and patterns. Drug and alcohol Review. 30(supl 1):73.

Schultheiss F and Buisman-Pijlman FTA (2011) Policy versus evidence: cost effectiveness of opioid agonist maintenance treatments (OAMT) for opioid dependence and implications for clinical practice. Drug and alcohol Review. 30(supl 1):80.

Edson M ,  Ali, R & Buisman-Pijlman, FTA  (2010) Can recent advances in prevention and treatment of occupational blood-borne infections bring needle and syringe programs in prisons a step closer? Drug and Alcohol Review. 29 (Supplement 1): 25.

, F.T.A., Gerrits, M.A.F.M & Van Ree, J.M.. (2009) Increased opioid release in specific brain areas after a novelty challenge in animals exposed to prenatal morphine and emotional stress later in life. Neuroscience. 159(1):405-413.

Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A. (2009) A Primer of Drug Action: A Comprehensive Guide to the Actions, Uses, and Side Effects of Psychoactive Drugs Drug and Alcohol Review. 28(2) 210-211.

Buisman-Pijlman, F.T.A., Loos, M., Wolff, K. and White J. (2009) New Online International Master of Science in Addiction Studies: A Joined Effort to Improve Learning and Access to Training. Drugs Drug and Alcohol Review 28 (Suppl 1) p A7.

Out, D. Cyr,C., Pijlman, F.T.A., Beijersbergen, M.D., Bakermans-Kranenburg M.J., & van IJzendoorn. M.H. (2009) Disconnected and extremely Insensitive Parenting (DIP)
Manual for coding disturbances in parent-child interactions. Rommert Casimir Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands.

Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Van IJzendoorn, M.H., Pijlman, F.T.A., Mesman, J., & Juffer, F.. Experimental evidence for differential susceptibility: Dopamine D4 receptor polymorphism (DRD4 VNTR) moderates intervention effects on toddlers' externalizing behavior in a Randomized Control Trial. Developmental Psychology, 2008 Jan;44(1):293-300.

Pijlman, F.T.A., M.J., Van IJzendoorn & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., The influence of genetic variations and attachment security on cortisol levels in highly externalizing children in response to the strange situation. (in preparation)

Pijlman, F.T.A., Rigter, S., Hoek J., & Niesink, R. (2005). Increased levels of total THC in cannabis sold in Dutch coffee shops. Addiction Biology 10 (2), 171-180.

Pijlman, F.T.A., Herremans, A.H.J., Van de Kieft, J., Kruse, C.G., & Van Ree, J.M. (2003). Prepulse inhibition of startle increased and startle reflex decreased after chronic mild physical, but not emotional stress in the rat. European Neuropsychopharmacology 13 (5), 369-380.

Pijlman, F.T.A., Wolterink, G., & Van Ree, J.M. (2003). Physical and emotional stress have differential effects on preference for saccharine and open field behavior in rats. Behavioral Brain Research 139 (1-2), 131-138.

Pijlman, F.T.A., & Van Ree, J.M. (2002). Physical but not emotional stress induces a delay in behavioral coping responses in rats. Behavioral Brain Research 136 (2), 365-373.

Pijlman, F.T.A., Wolterink, G., & Van Ree, J.M. (2002). Cueing unavoidable physical but not emotional stress increases long-term behavioral effects in rats. Behavioral Brain Research 134 (1-2), 393-401.

Spruijt, B.M., Van den Bos, R., & Pijlman, F.T.A. (2001). A concept of welfare based on reward evaluating mechanisms in the brain: Anticipatory behavior as an indicator for the state of reward systems. Applied Animal Behavior Sciences 72 (2), 145-171.

Pijlman, F.T.A. (2001). Emotional and physical stress in rats; Differential enduring effects on behaviour and brain processes (dissertation). Optima Rotterdam.

Van den Berg, C.L., Pijlman, F.T.A., Koning, H.A., Diergaarde, L., Van Ree, J.M., & Spruijt, B.M. (1999). Isolation changes the incentive value of sucrose and social behavior in juvenile and adult rats. Behavioral Brain Research 106 (1-2), 133-42.

International Behavioral Neuroscience Society

Australian Neuroscience Society; Local organising committee member ANS 2014 Adelaide

Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Competition - SA coordinator (2013-2017)

Australian Association for Infant Mental Health

Society for Social Neuroscience


Healthy Development Adelaide

Staff member Dutch Institute for the Study of Education and Human Development

  • Research focus: drugs and addiction,biological basis of addiction and comorbidity, long-term effects of stress (early life stress and trauma), behaviour and parenting, social interactions, pain, comorbidity, individual differences, resilience
  • Research field: behavioural neuroscience, psychoneuropharmacology, physiology, behaviour (human and animal), behavioural genetics, epidemiology, addiction treatment
  • Previous positions: researcher, coordinator, project manager, teacher and PhD supervisor


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Entry last updated: Thursday, 12 Oct 2017

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