Dr Giselle Newton

Research Fellow

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Research Fellow

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Dr Giselle Newton (she/her) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Digital Cultures and Societies in the Faculty of Humanities Arts Social Sciences. Giselle holds an appointment as Adjunct Associate Lecturer at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney. Giselle is a co-convenor of the Australian Sociological Association Thematic Group on Families and Relationships, and is an Associate Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. Giselle was awarded the Early Career International Visiting Fellowship, University of Sheffield for 2024-25.

Giselle is a digital health sociologist whose research focuses on understanding how digital, reproductive and genetic technologies (re)shape individuals’ relationships and everyday lives. In her work, Giselle considers processes of participation, representation and listening in the context of policy and legislative reform. Giselle is also interested in digital, qualitative and creative research methods and ethics, and has lead research training on these topics. Giselle has published in journals such as Sociology, Sociology of Health & Illness, Social Media + Society, Media International Australia, and Journal of Pragmatics.

Giselle's PhD study explored how digital technologies such as social media and direct-to-consumer DNA testing have afforded donor-conceived people new opportunities to bond, sleuth, educate and strategise. Giselle’s thesis won Dean’s Award for Outstanding PhD Theses in 2022.

Current projects:

  • DNA datascapes: how individuals seek information about family via direct-to-consumer DNA testing
  • How alcohol and gambling companies target people most at risk with marketing for addictive products on social media, using the Australian Mobile Ad Toolkit (contract research project commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education Limited, with A/Prof Nic Carah and Lauren Hayden)

Currently supervising:

  • Lauren Hayden (PhD candidate, UQ) - Digital advertising and cultures of alcohol consumption on social media platforms (with A/Prof Nicholas Carah, Prof Daniel Angus)
  • Cushla McKinney (Master of Genetic Counselling student, UTS) - The impact of direct-to-consumer DNA testing on genetic counselling practice (with Dr Lisa Dive, A/Prof Aideen McInerny-Leo, Dr Vaishnavi Nathan).
  • Diya Dilip Porwal (Master of Genetic Counselling student, UTS) - Experiences of carrier screening and genetic testing in gamete donors (with Julia Mansour and Dr Lisa Dive).

Past projects:

  • On target: Understanding advertising in the fertility sector with data from the Australian Ad Observatory, a winter research collaboration (with Romy Wilson Gray and Maria Proctor).
  • Everyday belongings: how Australian donor-conceived adults’ use digital technologies to bond, sleuth, educate and strategise.
  • Understanding care endings: Sociological and educational approaches to support pathways out of caring

Giselle has coordinated and lectured across undergraduate and postgraduate programs in courses in humanities, social sciences and health. She was course coordinator for COMU2030 Communication Research Methods in 2023 and lecturer in HHSS6000 HASS Honours Research Design.

Areas of supervision: Giselle welcomes research proposals focused on social research in digital identities and cultures; family relationships and practices; DNA and genetic testing/screening; reproductive health and donation.

Research Impacts

As a donor-conceived person herself, Giselle's research is grounded in advocacy regarding access to information about family and health for all donor-conceived people worldwide. Giselle was an invited delegate to the 30-year anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child at the United Nations with group of donor-conceived advocates. Following this monumental event, delegates devised the International Principles for Donor Conception and Surrogacy, world-first minimum standards in donor conception. At a national and state level, Giselle has contributed to several legislative reviews, inquiries and consultations on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Donor Conception, Mitochondrial Donation, Genetic Testing, and Data Privacy.


View all Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)