Young UQ flu researcher gives science a voice

10 Jun 2016

University of Queensland immunologist Dr Kirsty Short has been identified in a nationwide hunt for leading early-career researchers with a flair for communicating their work.

Dr Short, who is researching why the flu hits some people so hard, has been named in the national broadcaster’s Top 5 Under 40.

The project is an initiative of ABC RN and the University of New South Wales to give Australia’s next generation of science communicators a voice.

Dr Short and other winners will undertake a 10-day media program as ‘Scientists in Residence’ at RN next month.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to be able to learn how to best explain my research to a wider audience, which is a really important aspect of science today,” Dr Short said.

Dr Short, from UQ’s School of Biomedical Sciences, has a particular interest in severe influenza infections.

“For instance, we know that people with asthma are more susceptible to severe flu, and this was particularly evident in the 2009 swine flu pandemic.

“I want to improve our understanding of why this is the case, and how the virus damages the lungs.

“Hopefully we can help to reduce the number of people who are hospitalised with severe flu, and the number of deaths each flu season.

“There is always strong public interest in influenza and participating in Top 5 Under 40 will ultimately help me to harness this to inform my research and make sure it is as relevant as possible.”

Dr Short was chosen as one of six winners in this year’s program from close to 150 applicants.

Contact: Dr Kirsty Short, UQ School of Biomedical Sciences,