Dr Hannah Rose Wardill
Imagine if you had to plan your life around uncontrollable, unpredictable and unbearable bouts of diarrhoea... sounds pretty awful. My research tackles the causes, detection, prediction and prevention of diarrhoea. I started off my career in poo in 2013, enrolling in a PhD at the University of Adelaide, where I studied the development of diarrhoea caused by chemotherapy treatment for cancer. This was when I realised my ... unconventional ... love for the gut and its contents, and found great satisfaction in improving a cancer patient's journey through treatment.
After finishing my PhD, I moved to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, working as a postdoctoral scientist in an inflammatory bowel disease laboratory. Here I was able to apply my knowledge to a new field, and started to work alongside some incredible gastroenterologists and scientists conducting the first randomised clinical trial into the use of Faecal Microbiota Transfer for Ulcerative Colitis. I continued to dabble in my original research field, looking at new ways of predicting which patients would go on to develop diarrhoea during chemotherapy treatment, enabling doctors to tailor their treatment accordingly, and I am also looking at translating this knowledge to understand the importance of the microbiome in children undergoing highly toxic chemotherapy for leukaemia. This is what will soon take me to the Netherlands where I will be taking up my new position as an NHMRC Biomedical Research Fellow at the University Medical Centre Groningen.
Finally, to keep things interesting, I am also working with members from the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing to develop new and improved ways of detection infections in the gut using fibre optic technology, with the hope of detecting these infections earlier and improving treatment outcomes for patients undergoing cancer treatment.