Researcher

Associate Professor Justine Megan Gatt

My Expertise

Wellbeing; happiness; resilience; mental health; neuroscience; genetics; environment; stress; trauma; wellbeing and resilience strategies

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Biological psychology, Clinical and health psychology, Neurosciences, Mental Health, Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology), Genetics, Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis

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Biography

Associate Professor Justine Gatt is Director of the Centre for Wellbeing, Resilience and Recovery, and Head of the Gatt Resilience Group at Neuroscience Research Australia and the School of Psychology UNSW. She leads a research program that focuses on understanding the neuroscience of wellbeing and resilience to stress and trauma, and ways wellbeing and resilience can be promoted via various intervention platforms.

A/Prof Gatt received her PhD...view more

Associate Professor Justine Gatt is Director of the Centre for Wellbeing, Resilience and Recovery, and Head of the Gatt Resilience Group at Neuroscience Research Australia and the School of Psychology UNSW. She leads a research program that focuses on understanding the neuroscience of wellbeing and resilience to stress and trauma, and ways wellbeing and resilience can be promoted via various intervention platforms.

A/Prof Gatt received her PhD in Psychology at the University of Sydney in December 2005. She took up a postdoctoral research position at the Brain Dynamics Centre in the University of Sydney, with a focus on the genetic and brain markers of depression and anxiety. A/Prof Gatt has since pioneered a focus on understanding mental wellbeing, distress and resilience to trauma and stress. She has been successful in obtaining several competitive fellowships and grants to support diverse projects that span neuroscience to clinical translation. Her work includes leading longitudinal neuroimaging studies of adults and adolescents, twin studies (e.g., TWIN-E and TWIN-10), wellbeing program development for organisations (e.g., Thrive), wellbeing app development (e.g., ReNeuWell) and other clinical trials. She is also working with several industry partners to test out different e-health tools to evaluate optimal ways to promote wellbeing and resilience in the general population. At the crux of her projects is the primary outcome measure of wellbeing using the COMPAS-W Wellbeing Scale (Gatt et al., 2014) which she has developed and validated in adults and adolescents from age 12 and above, and the COMPAS-KIDS and COMPAS-PARENTS Wellbeing scales, which she is currently validating in children aged 5 - 12 years and their parents.

A/Prof Gatt has also received a number of prizes and awards for her research including the Worldwide University Network (WUN) Success Story awarded to her WUN Resilience Research Group for ‘Exceptional Levels of Achievement’ (2019), the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Medical Research (2014), the NHMRC Excellence Award for top-ranked CDF fellowship (2014), the Westmead Millennium Institute Science Prizes (2009 and 2010), and several other national/international travel awards from foremost professional societies.


My Grants

  • 2024-2028: NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (2024867), 'Centre of research excellence and expertise in genetic epidemiology for precision population health'. CIs: Shuai Li, Julia Steinberg, Melissa Southey, Justine Gatt, Enes Makalic, Shyamali Dharmage, Jesse Young, Jessica Miller, Lucas Calais Ferreira, John Hopper.
  • 2020-2023: Mindgardens Neuroscience Network Grant, 'Measuring and promoting wellbeing', CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2017-2024:  NHMRC Project Grant (1122816), 'Neural trajectories towards vulnerability versus resilience: A longitudinal twin study'. CIs: Justine Gatt, Robin Turner, Leanne Williams.
  • 2020: Instagram Wellbeing Research Grant, 'Impact of Instagram on mental wellbeing in adolescents versus young adults'. CIs: Justine Gatt, Haeme Park.
  • 2020: SWSLHD Clinical Knowledge Exchange Seed Funding Initiative, 'The mental health and wellbeing of children who stutter and their caregivers'. CIs: Verity MacMillan, Justine Gatt (Co-Leads), Stacey Sheedy, Wendy Lloyd, Haeme Park.
  • 2016: UNSW Science Faculty Research Grant, CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2015: UNSW Science Faculty Research Grant, 'Resilience in the brain: Establishing new neural circuits and imaging algorithms'. CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2014-2017:  NHMRC CDF Level 1 Fellowship (1062495), 'Resilience - What is it and how do we promote it? Fellow CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2013-2014:  Westmead Charitable Trust Fellowship, 'Development of measures of wellbeing'. Fellow CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2013-2015:  NHMRC PhD Scholarship for PhD student, Kylie Routledge (1055839), 'Impact of cognitive training on emotional and cognitive function: A twin study'. CIs: Kylie Routledge, Justine Gatt.
  • 2012-2013:  USyd DVC Research Fellowship, 'The neurogenetics of mental wellbeing'. Fellow CI: Justine Gatt.
  • 2008-2011:  ARC Linkage Project (LP0455104), 'Gene-brain pathways in emotional brain stability and instability', CIs: Leanne Williams, Peter Schofield, Richard Clark, Anthony Harris, Justine Gatt.
  • 2008-2011:  ARC Linkage APDI Fellowship (LP0455104), 'Gene-brain pathways in emotional brain stability and instability'. Fellow CI: Justine Gatt.

My Qualifications

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, University of Sydney, Conferred December 2005.

BA (Hons I) in Psychology, University of Sydney, 2000.


My Awards

  • 2019: WUN Success Story awarded to the WUN Resilience Research Group for ‘Exceptional Levels of Achievement’ (Dr Gatt was the Lead Coordinator of the WUN International Youth Resilience Group). Awarded at the WUN Conference in Dublin on 22 May.
  • 2019:  NeuRA Carer's Travel Award
  • 2016:  Australian Twins Registry Travel Award
  • 2014:  Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research for 2014 ($50,000) – only one awarded nationally per year
  • 2014:  NHMRC Excellence Award: Top Ranked Applicant in Industry-I Category of the CDF Scheme 2013
  • 2014:  Australian Twins Registry Travel Award
    2012:  Australian Twins Registry Travel Award 
  • 2010:  Westmead Millennium Institute Science Prize ($5,000)
  • 2009:  Westmead Millennium Institute Science Prize ($5,000)
  • 2009:  Congress of Biological Psychiatry Travel Award ($1,000)
  • 2008:  Australian Twins Registry Travel Award ($2,000)
  • 2006:  Human Brain Mapping Travel Award 
  • 2004:  University of Sydney Completion Scholarship
  • 2002-2004: University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Award
  • 2000:  Highest ranking Honours Thesis (Arts Faculty)

My Research Activities

A/Prof Justine Gatt leads a research program focusing on the neuroscience and genetics of wellbeing and resilience to trauma and stress, and then translating these outcomes to wellbeing interventions. Her work includes a focus on healthy populations (both singleton and twin cohorts) and clinical populations at various ages and with varying levels of exposure to stress and trauma. Study designs include cross-sectional, prospective studies and irandomised controlled trials. She developed the COMPAS-W Wellbeing Scale for adults and adolescents, and the COMPAS-KIDS Wellbeing Scale for children aged 5-12 years. Apart from measures of DNA and life experiences, her team has collected a wide suite of neurocognitive performance assessments, as well as neuroimaging measures (e.g., MRI, fMRI, DTI), neurophysiological measures (e.g., EEG, ERP) and measures of autonomic functioning. She is also developing various online wellbeing programs including Thrive for healthcare workers, and ReNeuWell, a new wellbeing app for the general public.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

PhD, Masters, ILP/Honours


Currently supervising

Current

Janine Lam (PhD, 2020-current) - University of New South Wales

Saya Tomizawa (PhD, 2024-current) - University of New South Wales

Elizabeth Connon (PhD, 2024-current) - University of New South Wales

Kawther Inuwa (PhD, 2024-current) - University of New South Wales

 

Completed

Jesse McCrindle (Masters intern, 2023) - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Rebecca Alexander (Clinical Masters, 2020-2023) - The Australian National University

Nitharsaa Ambalavanar (Honours, 2022) - University of New South Wales

Arthur Montalto (PhD, 2018-2022) - University of New South Wales

Javad Jamshidi (PhD, 2018-2022) - University of New South Wales

Miranda Chilver (PhD, 2018-2021) - University of New South Wales (*Awarded Dean's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, within top 10% of theses)

Jack Anderson (Honours, 2021) - University of New South Wales

Wenny Qu (Honours, 2021) - University of New South Wales

Malithi Silva (Honours, 2021) - University of New South Wales

Sandy Wong (Honours, 2018) - University of New South Wales

Kylie Routledge (PhD, 2013-2018) - University of Sydney

Denise Chu (PhD, 2009-2017) - University of Sydney

Karen Burton (PhD, 2011-2016) - University of Sydney

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Location

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)
Margarete Ainsworth Building
Barker Street, Randwick
Sydney NSW 2031 Australia

Map reference (Google map)

Contact

+61 2 9399 1812