Student Profile - Hannah Pearce

Hannah completed her PhD in 2017. She was a PhD student in the Department of Immunology, and her research looked at using gene therapy to prevent the build up of plaque in blood vessels. Hannah was supervised by Prof Christoph Hagemeyer in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases. This interview was originally published during Hannah's PhD.

What is your research about?

I'm looking at a gene therapy which could be used in the prevention of plaque build up in the blood vessels and this would prevent a lot of cardiovascular disease. We're also looking at targeting the gene therapy specifically to the plaque so it is more effective and has less side effects.x.

Who is your supervisor and why do you like them?

Prof Christoph Hagemeyer. He's a really approachable supervisor, he's the kind of person who is happy for you to drop into his office if you need help with something.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their PhD?

Think about your research in project management terms. Don't do anything that will take a long period of time without really making sure that it's worth doing, and always think about how you use your time.

What do you do in your spare time?

I do a bit of rock climbing. If I have time to get out there, I usually go up to Arapiles which is just north of The Grampians.

What will you do when you finish your PhD?

I hope to try and get a Postdoc position. In an ideal world it would be overseas and in the Biotech industry .

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I would have to say Arapiles.

What did the 3MT teach you?

I had already done a bit of lay presenting so that wasn't that new, but the three minute aspect of the competition was quite challenging.


Hannah graduated in May 2017. The title of her thesis is "VCAM-1 targeted AAV6 gene therapy for atherosclerosis treatment". Hannah was supervised by Dr Christoph Hagemeyer and Prof Karlheinz Peter (Baker Institute).