Dr Justine Gatt

Dr Justine Gatt

Dr Justine Gatt

Senior Research Scientist & Group Leader

Gatt Resilience Group

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9399 1812
Email: Dr Justine Gatt

Office: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Barker St, Randwick

Research Summary

Research Interests: Resilience, wellbeing, depression, anxiety, twins, genetic modeling, genotyping, positive/negative life events, trauma, adolescence and adulthood, MRI and fMRI imaging, DTI, EEG, autonomic functioning, neurocognition, e-health online tools, multivariate modeling, structural equation (path) modeling.

Bio: 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.


Books/Book Chapters:

  1. Gatt JM (In Press). The neuroscience of wellbeing: Part 1. In: Cohen L. Ed. The Encyclopedia of Health Psychology. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  2. Gatt JM (In Press). The neuroscience of wellbeing: Part 2. In: Cohen L. Ed. The Encyclopedia of Health Psychology. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
  3. Alexander R and Gatt JM (In Press). Resilience. In: Miu AC, Homberg JR, Lesch K-P. Eds. Genes, Brain and Emotions: From Resilience to Psychopathology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Chapter 17.
  4. Gatt JM. (2008). The Role of Personality in Disease: Detection and Prevention. VDM: Germany.

Journal Articles:

  1. Hadfield K, Ungar M, Emond A, Foster K, Gatt J, Mason-Jones A, Reid S, Theron L, Wouldes T, Wu Q. (In Press). Challenges of developing and conducting a multi-site, international study of migrant adolescents. International Social Work, Accepted 2nd August 2018.
  2. Kang D, McAuley JH, Kassem MS, Gatt JM, Gustin SM. (In Press). What does the gray matter decrease in the medial prefrontal cortex reflect in people with chronic pain? European Journal of Pain, Accepted 17th July 2018.
  3. Wu Q, Ge T, Emond A, Foster K, Gatt JM, Hadfield K, Mason-Jones A, Reid S, Theron L, Ungar M, Wouldes T. (2018). Acculturation, resilience and the mental health of migrant youth: A cross-country comparative study. Public Health, 162,63-70.
  4. Bloch-Jorgensen ZT, Cilione PJ, Yeung WW, Gatt JM. (2018). Centeredness Theory: Understanding and measuring well-being across core life domains. Frontiers in Psychology, 9: 610. Accepted 10th April 2018. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00610.
  5. Gatt JM, Burton KLO, Routledge KM, Grasby KL, Korgaonkar MS, Grieve SM, Schofield PR, Harris AWF, Clark CR, Williams LM. (In Press). A negative association between brainstem pontine gray matter volume, wellbeing and resilience in healthy twins. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Accepted 23rd February 2018.
  6. Chu DA, Bryant RA, Gatt JM, Harris AWF. (In Press). Cumulative childhood interpersonal trauma is associated with reduced cortical differentiation between threat and non-threat faces in PTSD adults. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Accepted 6th February 2018.
  7. Routledge KM, Williams LM, Harris AWF, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Gatt JM. (2018). Genetic correlations between wellbeing, depression and anxiety symptoms and behavioral responses to the emotional faces task in healthy twins. Psychiatry Research, 264, 385-393.
  8. Ball TM, Goldstein-Piekarski AN, Gatt JM, Williams LM. (2017). Quantifying person-level brain network functioning to facilitate clinical translation. Translational Psychiatry, 7, e1248; doi:10.1038/tp.2017.204.
  9. McRae K, Rhee SH, Gatt JM, Godinez D, Williams LM, Gross JJ. (2017). Genetic and environmental influences on emotion regulation: A twin study of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Emotion, 17(5), 772-777.
  10. Routledge KM, Burton KLO, Williams LM, Harris A, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Gatt JM. (2017). The shared and unique genetic relationship between mental wellbeing, depression and anxiety symptoms and cognitive function in healthy twins. Cognition and Emotion, 31(7), 1465-1479.
  11. Routledge KM, Burton KLO, Williams LM, Harris A, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Gatt JM. (2016). Shared versus distinct genetic contributions of mental wellbeing with depression and anxiety symptoms in healthy twins. Psychiatry Research, 244, 65-70. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.07.016.
  12. Chu D, Bryant RA, Gatt JM, Harris AWF (2016). Failure to differentiate between threat-related and positive emotion cues in healthy adults with childhood interpersonal or adult trauma. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 78, 31-41.
  13. Arns M, Bruder G, Hegerl U, Spooner C, Palmer D, Etkin A, Fallahpour K, Gatt JM, Hirshberg L, Gordon E (2016). EEG alpha asymmetry as a gender-specific predictor of outcomes to acute treatment with different antidepressant medications in the randomized i-SPOT-D study. Clinical Neurophysiology, 127, 509-519.
  14. Burton KLO, Williams LM, Clark CR, Harris A, Schofield PR, Gatt JM. (2015). Sex differences in the shared genetics of dimensions of self-reported depression and anxiety. Journal of Affective Disorders, 188, 35-42.
  15. Day CV, Gatt JM, Etkin A, DeBattista C, Schatzberg AF, Williams LM (2015). Cognitive and emotional biomarkers of melancholic depression: An iSPOT-D report. Journal of Affective Disorders, 176, 141-150.
  16. Gatt JM, Burton KLO, Williams LM, Schofield PR. (2015). Specific and common genes implicated across major mental disorders: A review of meta-analysis studies. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 60, 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.09.014.
  17. Myers AJ, Williams LM, Gatt JM, McAuley-Clark EZ, Dobson-Stone C, Schofield PR, Nemeroff, CB. (2014). Variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is associated with increased risk for anxiety, stress and depression in individuals with a history of exposure to early life stress. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 59, 93-100. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.08.021.
  18. Gatt JM, Burton KLO, Schofield PR, Bryant RA, Williams LM. (2014). The heritability of mental health and wellbeing defined using COMPAS-W, a new composite measure of wellbeing. Psychiatry Research, 219 (1), 204-213.
  19. Korgaonkar MS, Ram K, Williams LM, Gatt JM, Grieve SM. (2014). Genetic control of resting state default mode network derived from fMRI tasks. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 3893-3902.
  20. Korgaonkar MS, Antees C, Williams LM, Gatt JM, Bryant RA, Cohen R, Paul R, O’Hara R, Grieve SM. (2013). Early exposure to traumatic stressors impairs emotional brain circuitry. PLOS ONE, 8 (9), e75524.
  21. Chu D, Williams LM, Harris AWF, Bryant RA, Gatt JM. (2013). Early life trauma predicts self-reported levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms in nonclinical community adults: Relative contributions of early life stressor types and adult trauma exposure. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47 (1), 23-32.
  22. Williams LM, Cooper NJ, Wisniewski S, Gatt JM, Koslow SH, Kulkarni J, Gordon E, Rush AJ. (2012). Sensitivity, specificity and predictive power of the “Brief Risk-resilience Index for Screening,” a brief pan-diagnostic web screen for emotional health. Brain and Behavior, 2 (5): 576-589.
  23. Gatt JM, Korgaonkar M, Schofield PR, Harris A, Clark CR, Oakley K, Ram K, Michaelson H, Yap S, Stanners M, Wise M, Williams LM. (2012). The TWIN-E project in emotional wellbeing: Study protocol and preliminary heritability results across four MRI and DTI measures. Twin Research and Human Genetics, Special Issue: The Genetics of Brain Imaging Phenotypes. 15 (3), 419-441.
  24. Gatt JM, Nemeroff CB, Schofield PR, Paul RH, Clark CR, Gordon E & Williams LM. (2010). Early life stress combined with HTR3A and BDNF Val66Met genotypes impacts emotional brain and arousal correlates of risk for depression. Biological Psychiatry, 68, 818-824.
  25. Kemp AH, Quintana DS, Gray MA, Felmingham KL, Brown K, Gatt JM. (2010). Impact of Depression and Antidepressant Treatment on Heart Rate Variability: A Review and Meta-analysis. Biological Psychiatry,67, 1067-1074.
  26. Williams LM, Gatt JM, Grieve SM, Dobson-Stone C, Paul RH, Gordon E & Schofield PR. (2010). COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism effects on emotional brain function are modulated by level of awareness and associated with negativity biases. NeuroImage,53, 918-925.
  27. Gatt JM, Williams LM, Schofield PR, Dobson-Stone C, Paul RH, Grieve S, Clark CR, Gordon E & Nemeroff CB. (2010). Impact of the HTR3A gene with early life trauma on emotional brain networks and depressed mood. Depression and Anxiety, 27: 752-759.
  28. Wacker J, Gatt JM. (2010). Resting posterior versus frontal delta/theta EEG activity is associated with extraversion and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism.  Neuroscience Letters, 478: 88-92.
  29. Williams LM, Gatt JM, Schofield PR, Olivieri G, Peduto A, Gordon E. (2009). ‘Negativity bias’ in risk for depression and anxiety: Brain-body fear circuitry correlates, 5-HTT-LPR and early life stress. NeuroImage, 47: 804-814.
  30. Gatt JM, Nemeroff CB, Dobson-Stone C, Kuan SA, Paul RH, Bryant RA, Schofield PR, Gordon E & Williams LM. (2009). Interactions between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and early life stress predict brain and arousal pathways to syndromal depression and anxiety. Molecular Psychiatry, 14(7):681-695.
  31. Joffe RT, Gatt JM, Kemp AH, Grieve S, Dobson-Stone C, Kuan S, Schofield PR, Gordon E & Williams LM. (2009). Brain derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism, the five factor model of personality and hippocampal volume: Implications for depressive illness. Human Brain Mapping, 30(4): 1246-1256.
  32. Schofield PR, Williams LM, PaulRH, GattJM, BrownK, Luty A, CooperN, GrieveS, Dobson-StoneC, KuanSA & GordonE. (2009). Disturbances in selective information processing associated with the BDNFVal66Met polymorphism: Evidence from cognition, the P300 and fronto-hippocampal systems. Biological Psychology, 80: 176-188.
  33. Williams LM, Gatt JM, Kuan SA, Dobson-Stone C, Palmer DM, Paul RH, Song L, Costa PT, Schofield PR, Gordon E. (2009). A polymorphism of the MAOA gene is associated with emotional brain markers and personality traits on an antisocial index. Neuropsychopharmacology, 34: 1797-1809.
  34. Gatt JM, Kuan S, Dobson-Stone C, Paul RH, Joffe RT, Kemp A, Gordon E, Schofield PR & Williams LM. (2008). Association between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and trait depression is mediated via resting EEG alpha band activity. Biological Psychology, 79 (2): 275-284.
  35. Williams LM, Gatt JM, Kuan SA, Dobson-Stone C, Cooper N, Grieve S, Gur R, Paul RH, Gordon E, Schofield PR. (2008). The INTEGRATE model of emotion, thinking and self regulation: An application to the “paradox of aging”. J Integrative Neuroscience, 7: 367-404.
  36. Alexander DM, Williams LM, Gatt JM, Dobson-Stone C, Kuan S, Todd EG, Schofield PR, Cooper N, & Gordon E. (2007). The contribution of apolipoprotein E alleles on cognitive performance and dynamic neural activity over six decades. Biological Psychology, 75: 229-238.
  37. Dobson-Stone C, Gatt JM, Kuan SA, Grieve SM, Gordon E, Williams LM & Schofield PR. (2007). Investigation of MCPH1 and ASPM polymorphisms and brain size in a healthy cohort. NeuroImage, 37: 394-400.
  38. Gatt JM, Clark CR, Kemp AH, Liddell BJ, Dobson-Stone C, Kuan S, Schofield PR & Williams LM. (2007). A genotype-endophenotype-phenotype path model of depressed mood: Integrating cognitive and emotional markers. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 6 (1),75-104.
  39. Gordon E., Liddell BJ, Brown KJ, Bryant R, Das P, Dobson-Stone C, Falconer E, Felmingham K, Flynn G, Gatt JM, Harris, A, Hermens DF, Hopkinson P, Kemp AH, Kuan S, Moyle J, Paul RH, Rennie C, Whitford T, Williams LM. (2007). Integrating objective gene-brain-behavior markers of psychiatric disorders. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 6 (1), 1-34. 

Awards, Fellowships & Grants


  • 2014-2017:  NHMRC CDF Level 1 Fellowship (APP1062495), 'Resilience - What is it and how do we promote it?.
  • 2013-2014:  Westmead Charitable Trust Fellowship, 'Development of measures of wellbeing'.
  • 2012-2013:  USyd DVC Research Fellowship, 'The neurogenetics of mental wellbeing'.
  • 2008-2011: ARC Linkage APDI Fellowship (LP0455104), 'Gene-brain pathways in emotional brain stability and instability'.


  • 2017-2021:  NHMRC Project Grant (APP1122816), 'Neural trajectories towards vulnerability versus resilience: A longitudinal twin study'. Justine Gatt, Robin Turner, Leanne Williams.
  • 2016: UNSW Science Faculty Research Grant, Justine Gatt.
  • 2015: UNSW Science Faculty Research Grant, 'Resilience in the brain: Establishing new neural circuits and imaging algorithms'. Justine Gatt.
  • 2013-2015:  NHMRC PhD Scholarship for PhD student, Kylie Routledge (APP1055839), 'Impact of cognitive training on emotional and cognitive function: A twin study'. Kylie Routledge, Justine Gatt.
  • 2008-2011:  ARC Linkage Project (LP0455104), 'Gene-brain pathways in emotional brain stability and instability', Leanne Williams, Peter Schofield, Richard Clark, Anthony Harris, Justine Gatt.


  • 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)

Affiliations & Memberships

Additional Professional Roles:

  • Board Member, Wellbeing Australia (2018-)
  • Chair, NeuRA Invited Seminar Series Committee (2018-)

Editorial Roles:

  • Associate Editor, BMC Psychology (2018-)
  • Editorial Board Member, Psychiatry Journal (2018-)
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Psychology (2013-)

Current Research Students

Current students:
Arthur Montalto (PhD, 2018-2021) - University of New South Wales
Javad Jamshidi (PhD, 2018-2021) - University of New South Wales
Miranda Chilver (PhD, 2018-2021) - University of New South Wales
Rebecca Alexander (PhD, 2015-2019) - The Australian National University
Sandy Wong (ILP, 2018) - University of New South Wales

Completed students:
Kylie Routledge (PhD) - University of Sydney
Denise Chu (PhD) - University of Sydney
Karen Burton (PhD) - University of Sydney

Please contact me for potential supervision for Masters and PhD projects.

Personal Links

Gatt Group Profile (NeuRA): https://www.neura.edu.au/staff/dr-justine-m-gatt/

UNSW Research: https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-justine-megan-gatt