Group Leader and Senior Research Scientist, NeuRA
NHMRC CDF Research Fellow, School of Psychology, UNSW
Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney
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Dr Gatt completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Sydney in 2005. She completed three years postdoctoral training in genetics and neuroimaging at the Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney (2006-2009). She has since been successful in obtaining two competitive national research fellowships; the first an ARC Linkage Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-2011) in emotional wellbeing in twins (the TWIN-E study); the second, a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2014-2017) in the neuroscience and genetics of resilience. In 2014, she moved to the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales with a conjoint position at NeuRA. In 2016, Dr Gatt was promoted to Group Leader and Senior Research Scientist at NeuRA as well as Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, where she currently leads several national and international projects in resilience and wellbeing. She also maintains a Honorary Senior Research Fellow position within Psychiatry at the University of Sydney. Dr Gatt has an outstanding track record in publication and her work has been recognised by multiple awards including the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research, and the NHMRC Excellence Award for Top Ranked CDF Applicant (2014). Dr Gatt is a Board Member of Wellbeing Australia (WBA), and serves as an Editorial Member for several scientific journals.
Mental health and wellbeing is not simply the absence of mental illness, yet we know very little about its underlying mechanisms in relative comparison. Dr Justine Gatt and Prof Peter Schofield, together with Prof Leanne Williams (Stanford University) are studying the genetics and neuroscience of resilience and wellbeing in a prospective cohort of 1,600 healthy adult twins. They have recently developed a new 26-item composite scale of wellbeing called COMPAS-W (Gatt et al., 2014, Psychiatry Res), with genetic modelling demonstrating a heritability estimate of 48% for total wellbeing. Multivariate modelling further suggested common genetic factors contributed to wellbeing and its subcomponents of composure, own-worth, mastery, positivity, achievement and satisfaction. Now they are aiming to understand the neuroscience of wellbeing and resilience, how different genes and environments modulate pathways to mental health, and how e-health tools can promote resilience against life stressors.
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