The Flu Fighter

Dr Kirsty Short

As we exit one of the worst cold and flu season’s in recent memory, UQ post-doctoral researcher Dr Kirsty Short is continuing her mission to uncover the secrets of the influenza virus.

An NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellow at the School of Biomedical Sciences, Dr Short is focused on severe flu infections and the role chronic disease plays in the severity of illness.

“We’re trying to understand flu infections that are more severe.
Not just when you're home from work for a week and then you recover, but when people are getting hospitalised, when people are dying from the flu.

“We’re particularly interested in the role that chronic medical conditions like diabetes, obesity and asthma play in disease severity.”

Dr Kirsty Short

With a passion for travel, Kirsty’s work has enabled her to see the world, undertaking post-doctoral research at The Erasmus University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands.

“I love travelling and I love learning different languages so the opportunity to learn from some of the best virologists in the world while living in the Netherlands was an amazing opportunity.”

Kirsty returned to Australia to work as a post-doctoral researcher to continue her research at UQ and said she was impressed by the support on offer for young researchers.

“What I like about UQ is that I think they have a lot of support for younger scientists, and that's so, so important.

“When you're at the early stages of your career and you're really trying to break in and make a name for yourself, it's so important to have that university-based support, and I think that's something that UQ is really investing in.”

Four years after completing her PhD, Kirsty has had time to reflect on what it is that she loves about a career in research and has some words of advice for students considering a research degree.

“What I like about research is the independence you have, the freedom you have, and the intellectual challenge.

Dr Kirsty Short

“There are very few jobs where you can say 'I want to understand 'this' about the world, and that's what I'm paid to do'.

“My advice would be to find the problem you want to solve and work hard to uncover the answer.

“When you're in the lab and you see a result, and you know at that point in time, you are the only person in the world who knows that. There's nothing more exciting, for me at least.”

Dr Kirsty Short

Dr Kirsty Short is one of seven early career researchers profiled for UQ’s 2017 Research Week. To meet the other researchers and learn more about higher degrees at UQ, visit the Research Week page.

Watch Kirsty's Story