Neuroscience and Genetics of Resilience

What is this research about?

Dr Justine Gatt leads a research program focusing on the neuroscience and genetics of wellbeing and resilience to trauma and stress. Her work includes a focus on healthy populations (both singleton and twin cohorts) at various ages and with varying levels of exposure to stress and trauma in order to identify the genetic and brain mechanisms that predict resilience versus illness over time. Study designs include both prospective studies and intervention trials. 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. Dr Gatt’s most recent grant funding will support a longitudinal study of 270 adult twins from her TWIN-E Emotional Wellbeing Study followed after 9 and 11 years to determine changes in brain structure/function, neurocognitive performance and mental health outcomes over time that predict a risk versus resilience trajectory.

Other researchers working on this project:

Dr Robin Turner (School of Public Health & Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney)
Professor Leanne Williams (Stanford University)

Grants awarded:

Gatt, Turner, Williams (2017-2021).Neural trajectories towards vulnerability versus resilience: A longitudinal twin study. NHMRC Project Grant, $1,258,288.

Lab:

Gatt Group at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)