Dr Kate Secombe, 2022–23

Kate Secombe

Dr Kate Secombe

Kate completed her PhD in the Adelaide Medical School and was most recently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, where she investigated the gut microbiota in the development of autoimmune disease. Kate is excited to learn how her scientific skills can be used to inform evidence-based policy in the APS.

What were you researching before you started as a Science Policy Fellow?

My research was focused on understanding how the population of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiota, is involved in the development of disease. I investigated how the gut microbiota might influence the development of side effects from particular cancer treatments, and more recently I was also working on determining the role of the gut microbiota in children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes. 

How has your research background helped you contribute to policy development?

My research background gave me a range of skills in things like communicating complex concepts, working with data and working both independently and in a team. These have all been useful in my role so far. In addition, my research skills have been really useful in finding and synthesising information about different policies in Australia and overseas and determining how this information could be useful for my policy area. 

How has the program changed your career aspirations?

The Science Policy Fellow Program has opened my eyes to the multitude of roles people work in to enable science, research and innovation in Australia, and how lots of different pieces of the puzzle are required to ensure Australia is a world leader in this area. I am excited to continue learning about this and further developing my skills in policy development. 

What is your favourite part about working in a policy role in the Australian Public Service?

I have enjoyed working with a supportive team that has encouraged me to give lots of different things a go – I have been exposed to many facets of the work of the APS.