TWIN-E and TWIN-10 Projects: Longitudinal neural trajectories of risk versus resilience and mental wellbeing in adult twins over 12 years

A/​Prof Justine Gatt is leading the TWIN‑E and TWIN-10 study, a longitudinal study of 1600 adult twins over 12 years. The goal of the project is to identify the trajectories of risk versus resilience and mental wellbeing over time, and the predictors of these trajectories across a suite of measures including genetics, environment, cognition, neuroimaging (using MRI, fMRI, DTI) and individual mental health, personality and coping factors. All adult twins were healthy at baseline, with 4 time-points assessed (baseline, 12-months follow-up, 10-years follow-up and 12-years follow-up). By comparing identical to non-identical twins, we will determine the role of genetics and environment in these pathways over time.

Team Members & Collaborators

A/​Prof Justine Gatt is leading this project. TWIN‑E was the baseline and 12-month follow-up study, and TWIN-10 defined the 10-years and 12-years follow-up stages. The twin participants for this project were drawn from the Twins Research Australia (TRA) twin registry (https://​www​.twins​.org​.au/).

Grant Funding

The investigators on the recent TWIN-10 project include A/​Prof Justine Gatt (NeuRA and UNSW, Australia), Professor Robin Turner (University of Otago, New Zealand) and Professor Leanne Williams (Stanford University, USA) as part of a NHMRC Project Grant (APP1122816, 2017 – 2021, Gatt, Turner, Williams). The original TWIN‑E baseline study was led by A/​Prof Justine Gatt as part of her ARC-Linkage Postdoctoral Fellowship (LP0883621, 2008 – 2011, Williams, Schofield, Harris and Clark, Gatt). 

This project is still ongoing.


Recruitment for this project has been completed, with analyses underway. Publications to date are presented below (and continuing):

(1) TWIN‑E and TWIN-10 Study protocols:

Park HRP, Williams LM, Turner RM, Gatt JM. (2022). TWIN-10: Protocol for a 10-year longitudinal twin study of the neuroscience of mental wellbeing and resilience. BMJ Open; 12(7): e058918. http://​dx​.doi​.org/​10​.​1136​/​b​m​j​o​p​e​n​-2021 – 058918

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. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1017​/​t​h​g​.​2012.12

(2) Research papers using TWIN‑E data:

Park RP, Chilver MR, Quide Y, Montalto A, Schofield PR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2024). Heritability of cognitive and emotion processing during functional MRI in a twin sample. Human Brain Mapping, 45(1), e26557. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1002​/​h​b​m​.​26557

Chilver MR, Champaigne-Klassen E, Schofield PR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2023). Predicting wellbeing over one year using sociodemographic factors, personality, health behaviours, cognition, and life events. Scientific Reports. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-023 – 325883.

Park HRP, Quide Y, Schofield PR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2022). Grey matter covariation and the role of emotion reappraisal in mental wellbeing and resilience after early life stress exposure. Translational Psychiatry, 12, 85https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1038​/​s​41398-022 – 018496

Montalto A, Park HRP, Williams LM, Korgaonkar MS, Chilver MR, Jamshidi J, Schofield PR, Gatt JM. (2022). Negative association between anterior insula activation and resilience during sustained attention: an fMRI twin study. Psychological Medicine. pp 1 – 13http://​dx​.doi​.org/​10​.​1017​/​s​0033291721005262

Chilver MR, Park HRP, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2022). Emotional face processing correlates with depression/​anxiety symptoms but not wellbeing in non-clinical adults: An event-related potential study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 145, 18 – 26http://​dx​.doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​j​p​s​y​c​h​i​r​e​s​.​2021​.​11.038

Gatt JM, Burton KLO, Schofield PR, Bryant RA, Williams LM. (2021). Corrigendum to The heritability of mental health and wellbeing defined using COMPAS‑W, a new composite measure of wellbeing’: Psychiatry Research, 219 (2014), 204 – 213. Psychiatry Research, 304. 114141. Accepted 24th July 2021https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​p​s​y​c​h​r​e​s​.​2021​.​114141

Park HRP, Chilver MR, Montalto A, Jamshidi J, Schofield PR, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2021). Associations between mental wellbeing and fMRI neural bases underlying responses to positive emotion in a twin sample. Psychological Medicine, 1 – 9https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1017​/​S​0033291721002695

Routledge KM, Williams LM, Harris AWF, Schofield PR, Gatt JM. (2021). The impact of online brain training exercises on experiences of depression, anxiety and emotional wellbeing in a twin sample. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 134, 138 – 149https://​authors​.else​vi​er​.com/​s​d​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​S​0022​-​3956​(​20​)​31162 – 6

Jamshidi J, Williams LM, Schofield PR, Park H, Montalto A, Chilver M, Bryant R, Toma C, Fullerton J, Gatt JM. (2020). Diverse phenotypic measurements of wellbeing: Heritability, temporal stability, and the variance explained by polygenic scores. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 19 (8), e12694https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1111​/​g​b​b​.​12694

Chilver MR, Keller AS, Park H, Jamshidi J, Montalto A, Schofield PR, Clark CR, Harmon-Jones E, Williams LM, Gatt JM. (2020). Electroencephalography profiles as a biomarker of wellbeing: A twin study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 126: 114 – 121https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​j​p​s​y​c​h​i​r​e​s​.​2020​.​04.010

Gatt JM, Burton KLO, Routledge KM, Grasby KL, Korgaonkar MS, Grieve SM, Schofield PR, Harris AWF, Clark CR, Williams LM. (2018). A negative association between brainstem pontine gray matter volume, wellbeing and resilience in healthy twins. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Jun 20; 43(6): 386 – 395https://​doi​.org/10.1503/jpn.170125

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. https://​doi​.org/​10​.​1016​/​j​.​p​s​y​c​h​r​e​s​.​2018​.​03.042

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. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2016.1232242

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. DOI: 10.1038/tp.2017.204

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

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. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.08.053

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: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.08.021

Korgaonkar MS, Ram K, Williams LM, Gatt JM, Grieve SM. (2014). Establishing the resting state default mode network derived from functional magnetic resonance imaging tasks as an endophenotype: A twins study. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 3893 – 3902. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22446