Student Profile - Kathryn Hackman

Kathryn speaks about her research at the 3MT competition this year. She won the school heat for the Central Clinical School, and earned third place at the Faculty final.

Dr Kathryn Hackman is an endocrinologist in the Alfred Department of  Endocrinology and Diabetes, and a PhD student in the Central Clinical  School. Her research is looking at the relationship between diabetes and lung transplants. Her supervisors are Professor Leon Bach and Professor Greg Snell.

What is your research about?

I’m looking at diabetes in lung transplant recipients at The Alfred. The Alfred performs all the lung transplants for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, so we’re actually the biggest transplant centre in Australia. I also work in the Endocrinology and Diabetes department. A lot of patients who have lung transplants end up getting diabetes as a consequence of their immune suppressing medication. My research involves assessing everyone who has had a lung transplant and seeing who did and didn’t have diabetes, and how it affected their survival after their transplant. I’ve also been screening all the patients now coming up for a transplant to see if they have diabetes even before they have their operation and then looking at the rates of new onset diabetes after their transplants.

Who is your supervisor and what is the best thing about them?

My main supervisor is Leon Bach who is in the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, and my other supervisor is Greg Snell who is the head of the Transplant Unit. I hadn't done much research before I started my PhD so choosing the right supervisor was important. You really rely on your supervisors to give you guidance.

What was your first job ever?


Apart from babysitting…packing Easter eggs in a factory. It wasn’t terrible, but I prefer what I’m doing now!

What will you do when you finish your research?

I hope to take on more clinical work, which I’m doing a bit of already. I’m already an endocrinologist so I want to see more patients because I miss that patient contact a little bit. I am also tempted, surprisingly to go on with a bit more research.

What do you do when you aren’t researching?

When I’m not working, I definitely like travelling. But when I don’t have that much time, I like going away for the weekend or camping.

What is your favourite place in the world?

There’s too many! I‘ve had some fantastic holidays in Italy. And we’ve had a great ski trip in Chamonix, those two are my highlights.