Associate Professor Divya Mehta

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Associate Professor School of Biomedical Sciences

PhD in Genetics, Technical University of Munich, Germany

I am a geneticist and biostatistician who analyses big data to better understand how our genes contribute towards our health.

My research focuses on identification of genetic and environmental factors associated with mental health outcomes such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.

I lead the ‘Stress genomics’ group and am Co-lead, Genomic Epidemiology and Analysis research program, Tier 1 Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health (CGPH), QUT. I am the key analyst and Australian lead of the International Psychiatric Genomics and European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Consortia projects aimed at identifying genomics risk factors and treatment biomarkers for mental health disorders.

I have a strong track record in statistical genetics with 78 publications (8.6k citations, 37 h-index), in high-rank journals including PNAS and Science and 4 book chapters. My research identifying stress-response genes has been implemented internationally in 5 patents and 6 public policies. I have received 25 research awards including the Science and Technology Australia Superstars of STEM 2021-22, Queensland Young Tall Poppy 2021, Rafaelson Young Investigator 2016 and European Psychiatric Association Research Prize 2014.

I have received $3.7M of research funding as Chief Investigator including a 2021 National Health and Medical Research Council/NHMRC grant ($1.14M) to lead an international team on a world-first study investigating stress in Queensland emergency responders.

My milestone study of how early experiences shape our genome and mental health was published in PNAS (lead author, 2013), leading to a personal interview in the TIME magazine, reaching a global readership of over 26 Million people. My stress research in Queensland veterans and paramedics led to interviews in Channel 7 News (2017), Brisbane Times and Sydney morning herald (2020) and ABC national radio Health show (2021).

For current vacancies and projects, please check A/Prof Mehta’s group website


1. Superstar of STEM, Science and Technology Australia, 2021-2022 – selected as 1 of 40 women through a nation-wide competitive search for impressive women academics. As a Superstar of STEM, I actively advocate for STEM in schools, parliamentary forums, public events and media.

2. Queensland Young Tall Poppy Award, Australian Institute of Policy and Science, 2021: winner of the QLD Tall Poppy award which celebrates outstanding young achievers across the sciences, including engineering, mathematics, medical research and technology, who are dedicated and passionate to communicate science to the community.

3. The International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) (Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum) Rafaelson Young Investigator Award 2016: I was chosen by an international scientific jury to receive the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) Rafaelson Young Investigator Award for my research in mental health. I then presented my research at the 2016 CINP conference held in Seoul, South Korea.

4. European Psychiatric Association Research Prize 2014: The prize is awarded by the European Psychiatric Association (EPA) for the best research article of year written by an early career researcher. I was awarded this prize for my paper in PNAS journal “Childhood maltreatment is associated with distinct genomic and epigenetic profiles in PTSD” in the “Biological correlates and treatments of mental disorders”.

5. Brain Behaviour Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award 2014: This prestigious award and project grant was given in lieu of my research where we identified the earliest predictive biomarkers in postpartum depression. Based on this award, I have now expanded and validated my early diagnostic biomarker panel to a larger sample of women in USA, together with my collaborators Prof. Samantha Meltzer-Brody (University of North Carolina, USA) and Professor Naomi Wray (The University of Queensland, Australia).