Our People

Jodi Thea Thomas

Dr | Research Officer

Genetic Epidemiology

+61 7 3362 0257



Jodi Thomas is a postdoctoral research officer in the Mental Health and Neuroscience Program at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Her current research focuses on identifying and understanding genetic and environmental influences, and their interplay, on depression. Broadly, Jodi’s research centres on the intersection of neuroscience, behaviour and genetics, and she has a particular interest in the role of genetic and environmental factors on behaviour.

Jodi graduated as the most outstanding student in the Sciences Division from the University of Otago (New Zealand) with a BSc in Neuroscience and Zoology in 2015. In the following year she completed a BSc (Hons) in Neuroscience with the highest level of overall attainment in Neuroscience at the University of Otago. Her honours research, and following work as a research assistant, investigated the neuroendocrine regulatory and molecular mechanisms underlying socially-induced female to male sex change in fish. After receiving a highly competitive research scholarship from James Cook University, she moved to Australia to commence a PhD in 2018. Here, she used experimental and molecular techniques to investigate the neurobiological and behavioural effects of climate change on a squid, in collaboration with the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (Japan).



2023 – Current: Research Officer









  • Neuroscience
  • Behaviour
  • Statistical genetics
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Environmental change, including natural disasters



Thomas J.T., Huerlimann R., Schunter C., Watson S-.A., Munday P.L., Ravasi T (2023). Transcriptomic responses in the nervous system and correlated behavioural changes of a cephalopod exposed to ocean acidification. Authorea. DOI: 10.22541/au.169052790.09398364/v2

Thomas J.T., Spady B.L., Munday P.L., Watson S.-A. (2021). The role of ligand-gated chloride channels in behavioural alterations at elevated CO2 in a cephalopod. Journal of Experimental Biology. 224, jeb242335. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.242335

Thomas J.T., Munday P.L., Watson S.-A. (2020). Toward a mechanistic understanding of marine invertebrate behaviour at elevated CO2. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7, 345. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00345

Thomas J.T., Todd E.V., Muncaster S., Lokman P.M., Damsteegt E.L., Liu H., Soyano K., Gleonnec F., Lamm M.S., Godwin J.R., Gemmell N.J. (2019). Conservation and diversity in expression of candidate genes regulating socially-induced female-male sex change in wrasse. PeerJ. 7, e7032. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7032

Todd E.V., Liu H., Lamm M.S., Rutherford K., Godwin J.R., Thomas J.T., Gemmell N.J. (2017). Female mimicry by sneaker males has a transcriptomic signature in both the brain and gonad in a sex changing fish. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 35, 225-241. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msx293



  • 2021 – Current: STEM Women
  • 2018 – Current: New Zealand Ocean Acidification Society



  • 2018 – 2022: PhD
    • ‘The neurobiological effects of ocean acidification on a cephalopod’
    • James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  • 2016: BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience (Endorsed with First Class)
    • ‘Investigating potential early regulators of teleost sex change: A candidate gene approach in the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum)’
    • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 2016: BSc in Neuroscience and Zoology
    • University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand



  • 2023 – Current: Member, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, QIMR Berghofer
  • 2023: Judge, Student symposium, QIMR Berghofer
  • 2020 – 2022: Working Group Leader, Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
  • Peer Reviewer: Scientific Data, Science of the Total Environment, Royal Society Open Science, Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology



  • 2021: Best student oral presentation, Physiomar International Conference
  • 2021: Semi-finalist, Three minute thesis, Asia-Pacific Competition. Winner, Three minute thesis, James Cook University Finals. Winner, Three minute thesis, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies Finals
  • 2020: Travelling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists (Journal of Experimental Biology)
  • 2020: David Yellowlees Excellence in Research Award
  • 2018: Prestige Research Training Stipend, James Cook University
  • 2017: Runner Up Summer Student Speaker Awards, The Otago Medical School Research Society
  • 2016: Neuroscience Prize, Highest level of overall attainment in Neuroscience at fourth year, University of Otago
  • 2016: Summer Research Scholarship, Health Science, University of Otago
  • 2016: Department of Anatomy Postgraduate Travel Fund, University of Otago
  • 2016: First prize for oral presentation, Zoology Postgraduate Symposium, University of Otago
  • 2015: Premier Undergraduate Prize (Science), Most outstanding student completing a first undergraduate degree in the Science Divisions, University of Otago
  • 2015: GH Satchell Prize, General excellence in Zoology at third year, University of Otago
  • 2014: The University of Otago Women’s Scholarship
  • 2014: Summer Research Scholarship, Marine Institute, University of Auckland
  • 2013: University of Otago Scholarship in Science
  • 2012: The University of Otago Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship