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Personal profile


Gemma is an NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow in the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) and she leads the Body Image Research Group at MAPrc. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology (University of Adelaide), Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Microbiology and Immunology (University of Adelaide), a Masters degree in Oncology (University of Cambridge), a Diploma in Languages in Japanese (University of Adelaide), a Graduate Diploma in Psychology (University of Adelaide), a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences Honours degree in Psychology (Flinders University) and a PhD in Clinical Psychology (Flinders University). Her research career in both Medical Science and Mental Health has seen her study and work in Australia, Japan and the UK. 

Gemma was awarded a PhD from Flinders University in Adelaide which investigated the psychological predictors and outcomes of female genital body image concerns and cosmetic genital surgery. She worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and Academic at Curtin University in Perth and extended this genital self-image research to other genders. She continues this intensive genital self-image research program across the gender spectrum at MAPrc. 

Gemma then commenced an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship (part-time) at MAPrc at Monash University. Gemma and her Body Image Research Group at MAPrc investigate the factors leading to body image and related mental health concerns and novel therapeutic interventions using digital technologies (such as chatbots and apps) to address these concerns. Gemma leads collaborative projects with Australia's national body image and eating disorder support organisation, The Butterfly Foundation, including "KIT", the world's first positive body image chatbot

Gemma's research has received extensive coverage on mainstream media and she makes regular appearances on television. She was named one of ABC Radio National's Top 5 Under 40 Scientists in 2017 and also was invited to deliver a TED talk in Brisbane in 2017. More recently, she was named as a Rising Star for the Association for Psychological Science (2021), one of The Educator's Rising Stars (2020), Australian Psychological Society Early Career Researcher Awardee (2020), a national finalist for a Eureka Prize (2020) and also for the CRC Association Early Career Researcher Showcase (2020), received a national AMP Tomorrow Maker Award (2019), was named as a national finalist for the Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award (2019), and was a Young Tall Poppy Award winner for Victoria (2018). She has also served as a host on Triple R's Radiotherapy program since 2018.  

In addition, Gemma is a registered clinical psychologist and has had clinical experience in the public and private sectors in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne. She leads her own private practice (part-time) and her particular areas of clinical interest are body image concerns, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder and related mental health conditions. She is a Board Approved Supervisor with the Psychology Board of Australia. Furthermore, she serves on the Executive Committees of the Australia & New Zealand Academy of Eating Disorders (ANZAED) and the Australian Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ASPOG). She is also the Chairperson of the ANZAED Membership Committee.  

You can follow Gemma's latest research and other activities on Twitter @gemmasharp11

Gemma is currently editing a special topic issue "Innovations in women's body image: What does the future hold?" for Frontiers in Global Women's Health

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research area keywords

  • Body image
  • Eating disorders
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Social Media
  • Social media and digital education
  • Chatbot
  • Education Research
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Intervention
  • internet research
  • Adolescents and Young Adults
  • Surgery
  • Sexual Health


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