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Welcome. This website provides an overview of research in the Zlab. The Zlab is the developmental and clinical science research program coordinated by Professor Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck. We are located at Griffith University in the School of Applied Psychology and the Griffith Centre for Mental Health, Gold Coast, Australia.

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About Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck

I conduct and supervise research on important times of life for the development of interpersonal problems and psychopathology, as well as for mental health, growth, resilience and recovery - working with children, teenagers, young adults, families and peer groups. This research concentrates on the impact of social relationships (online or offline) and the development of coping, emotion regulation, rejection sensitivity and other social cognitive beliefs. I also concentrate my research on some of the major concerns of adolescents: appearance, social media and immersion in technology, virtual worlds, parents and friends. Other primary areas of expertise are the role of parents in child and youth development, particularly considering trauma in the family and parents who face considerable challenges. In addition, I study how intimate relationships, sexuality, identity and autonomy develop; and the impacts of offline and cyber rejection experiences, aggression and abuse on the development of problems and resilient responding. Finally, I direct the Family Interaction Program (FIP). Established in 2002, FIP is a center providing critical parenting and support programs for vulnerable families and children (Phone: (07) 56789105), and a source of evidence on the effectiveness of parenting support programs, such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, PC-Care, and Circle of Security. Originally from the US, my collaborators and I have attracted more than $30 million in external research funding since coming to Australia in Sept 2001 and I have published more than 300 books, book chapters, and journal articles. I am an award-winning PhD supervisor, and I concentrate a great deal of time on supervision of postgraduate students and research fellows.


More details:

Professor Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck (pictured above) completed her PhD in Applied Developmental Psychology (Systems Science/Psychology) at Portland State University (Oregon, USA) in Sept 1998. She has been with the School of Applied Psychology at Griffith University since Sept 2001.





Prior to moving to Griffith University in Australia, Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck was a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoctoral fellow in a multidisciplinary training program at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, from 1999-2001. At U of M she worked with Faculty at the Life Course Center (Department of Sociology) and the Institute of Child Development.


Prior to her postdoctoral fellowship, she was a Senior Researcher from 1998-1999 at the Oregon Health Department in Program Design and Evaluation Services working on applied research projects related to teen parenting, reproductive health, and health care access. In addition, while completing her PhD studies and research she worked as a Senior Research Associate from 1992-1999 at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) (Evidence-based Practice Center). At OHSU she was fortunate to work with world leaders, including Dr. Mark Helfand, on health care access, decision-making, screening for a range of mental and health conditions, and best treatment practice across a range of areas – prenatal care, thyroid disease, cervical cancer, colon disease, traumatic brain injury, and adolescent antisocial and sexual risk behavior.  Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck also has more than 15 years experiences working within domestic violence support agencies, providing services, support and advocacy services to children and adults with a history of sexual abuse, and working as a rape victim advocate.


Currently at Griffith University, she is the Director of the Family Interaction Program, a lead in the newly established Griffith Centre for Mental Health, a member of the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland, and co-lead (with Dr. Kathryn Modecki) of the Dynamics in Youth Development Research Group. She also served as elected Professor representative to the Griffith University Research Committee (2020-2022) and is the elected Treasurer of the International Society for Research on Behavioral Development (2021-2024). She is a past Associate Editor of the International Journal of Behavioral Development (IJBD, 2016-2022), Past Co-editor of Journal of Adolescence (2010-2016) and past Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Psychology. She held the roles PhD Program Director and Acting Deputy Head of School (Research) between 2016 and 2019. Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck is currently on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Sex Research, Social Development, the Journal of Adolescence, and the Educational and Developmental Psychologist.  In the past, she has been a member of the editorials boards of Journal of Youth and Adolescence and Journal of Research on Adolescence.


Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck currently holds grants totaling approx $23million from Queensland Department of Child Safety, Multicultural Affairs and Youth Justice; Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Rotary, and the Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF). She is also on the consultative committees for multiple other USA-based, European-based and Asia-based research grants. In the past she has held grants from the ARC, Rotary Health Fund, Rotary Mental Health Intervention Fund, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, and National Institutes of Health. In total, her research has been supported with grants totaling more than $35million since 2002. She is also a co-investigator on Growing Minds Australia (GMA), an exciting new child and youth clinical trials network funded in 2021 by the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission (lead Professor Mark Dadds).


Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck has published more than 300 empirical and review papers, book chapters, monographs and edited books. She is Director of the Family Interaction Program at Griffith University, which includes a number of research programs and interventions (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Circle of Security, SYN*APPS) to support Gold Coast-area families.


Dr. Zimmer-Gembeck has been awarded multiple research publication awards for high impact, the Society for Research on Adolescence Senior Mentor Award (2023), the Health PVC Award for Research Excellence (2017), as well as the GU Health Group Award for Research Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision (2013). She is currently supervising 1 postdoctoral fellow and 13 PhD students. In addition, she has supervised the research of 48 doctoral students (39 PhD, 9 Clinical Psychology DPsych), 9 Master’s in Clinical Psychology, and 36 honours students to completion. She leads a team of about 10 staff who work as research assistants and psychologists within The Family Interaction Research Program (FIP) and on other research projects.


Professional Affiliations


American Psychological Association (APA)

International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD)

Society for Prevention Research (SPR)

Society for Research in Adolescence (SRA)

Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)

Psychology of Relationships Interest Group (APS)

International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (ISRCAP)

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Please get in touch if you are interested in more information about Griffith University, School of Applied Psychology or the ZLab research.

+61 07 56789085

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