Hannah Wardill

Dr Hannah Wardill

NHMRC Externally-Funded Research Fellow C

School of Biomedicine

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr Hannah Wardill is a dynamic researcher working to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with or beyond cancer. Her research program, involving both laboratory-based and clinical research, aims to prevent the long-term physical, emotional and economic disadvantages of cancer and its treatment by developing innovative supportive care solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of the patient.

After completing her PhD at the University of Adelaide and receiving Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Research Excellence, Hannah secured an NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical training fellowship allowing her to relocate to the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Here she led a program of research dedicated to understanding how the microbiota contributes to chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, graft versus host disease (GvHD) and blood stream infection in both paediatric and adult cancers.

Hannah has recently returned back to Australia and now leads the Supportive Oncology Research Group - a multidisciplinary group dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by cancer. Since forming her group, Hannah has attracted >$10M in competitive funding, including $4.2M from the Medical Research Future Fund to led two landmark trials in Australia:
- The CANCAN Trial - investigating the efficacy of medicinal cannabis to control side effects of treatment in people with advanced cancer, and
- The GENESCREEN Trial - an nation-wide trial of N=5000 Australians aiming to implement genotype-guided dosing in people scheduled to receive certain types of chemotherapy.

More information on these trials can be found here:
- CANCAN: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/news/list/2021/05/13/medicinal-cannabis-research-receives-15m-boost
- GENESCREEN: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/newsroom/news/list/2023/12/06/chemotherapy-screening-test-to-save-lives

Hannah has formed strong relationships with industry, partnering with BiomeBank to conduct Australia's first trial of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in people with blood cancer. She also has strong ties with nutrition powerhouse, Danone Nutricia, working to identify uses for their novel clinical nutrition products in supportive oncology. Ultimately however, Hannah's research is based on a strong foundation of consumer engagement, working with lived experience experts to identify unmet needs and collaborate on new projects. In recognition of her commitment to consumer engagement, Hannah represents the University of Adelaide on the Health Translation SA Consumer Engagement Committee and established the Patient Partnership Committee for the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer.

Hannah strives to be a supportive and nurturing supervisor, providing a positive environment for both staff and students to learn new skills and become confident in a variety of areas. She has supervised 11 honours students through to completion, with 3 topping their cohort, and 5 Masters/PhD students through to completion, with the Supportive Oncology Research Group currently home to 3 staff members, 1 postdoc and 6 HDR students.

In recognition of her contribution to the field of supportive cancer care, Hannah has been awarded the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer International Investigator Award, was named the South Australian Young Achiever, the Qiagen Microbiome Award winner, South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year and the 40Under40 Award for Social Impact.

Overview 

Dr Wardill completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide, under the guidance of A/Prof Joanne Bowen, Prof Rachel Gibson and Prof Richard Logan, completing her doctoral thesis in 2016. During her PhD she developed and validated the first TLR4 knockout mouse model of irinotecan-induced mucositis, and in doing so, clearly demonstrated the impact of innate immune signaling and microbial dysbiosis on mucosal barrier injury and clinical toxicity. She was subsequently recognised for her contribution to the field of supportive oncology, named the 2016 MASCC Young Investigator of the Year and awarded the University Medal for Doctoral Research Excellence. 

After a short postdoctoral position at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Hannah secured an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and relocated to the Netherlands where she undertook training in supportive care in haematological malignancies, leading he world'd first trial of Anakinra to prevent febrile neutropenia in HSCT recipients.

While in the Netherlands, Hannah continued to maintain a program of research in Adelaide, working with global microbiome-science leaders, BiomeBank, to establish an autologous faecal transplantation service for people with blood cancer. This project has received funding support from two major hospitals across South Australia and has lead to numerous international collaborations across the Netherlands, Germany and the US. In 2020, Hannah returned to Adelaide where she now leads the Supportive Oncology Research Group at SAHMRI. 

National and international standing

Hannah has been a member of the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer, the largest professional society dedicated to supportive cancer care. Hannah has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors, recognising her immense contribution to the Society and her International reputation in this research area. Key responsibilities Hannah holds at MASCC include:

  • Vice Chair of the largest study group (Mucositis Study Group)
  • Chair of the inaugural Patient Partnership Committee 
  • Vice Chair of the Data Sharing Working Group 
  • Member of the DPYD PGx Dosing Working Group 
  • Lead of the Social Media Task Force 
  • Member of the MASCC Mucositis Study Group Guidelines Committee 

Nationally, Hannah is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Primary Care Collaborative Cancer Clinical Trials Group (PC4) and Chair for the Gut Dysfunction Node of the Cancer Symptoms Trials Group (Palliative Care Clinical Trials Collaborative) - each of which are funded by Cancer Australia. Hannah is also the Supportive Care / Survivorship lead for the South Australian Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (SACCC) and a member of the Bragg's Comprehensive Cancer Centre (BCCC) Survivorship Committee. At the University of Adelaide, Hannah acts as the Academic Lead for the FAME Healthy Societies Scheme, working with the DVCR to enable cross-faculty collaborations that address major health challenges in our community. 

Community engagement

As a 2021 Superstar of STEM and South Australian Tall Poppy, Hannah has a strong commitment to engaging the general community with scientific discovery. She has received significant media training through outlets such as Fresh Science and Thinkwell, which enable her to effectively communicate complex scientific research with lay audiences of many ages. This has been demonstrated through her involvement with Science Alive, an interactive event for children held yearly, and her volunteer work with Lynch Syndrome Australia. Hannah also founded and maintains a blog pooisnottaboo.com which aims to provide scientifically accurate, yet exciting content about the advances in our understanding of the gut microbiome. Connect with her on Twitter @hannahrwardill @SuppOncRG! 

 

Contribution to field of research 

Dr Wardill has an impressive publication track record for someone of her career stage, with numerous peer-reviewed research publications in top-tier oncology (e.g. Journal of Clinical Oncology), gastroenterology (e.g. Gut) and neuroscience journals (e.g. Brain Behaviour and Immunity). These publication include invited reviews, opinion pieces, mechanistic hypotheses, primary research (preclinical and clinical) and clinical practice guidelines. Hannah has also been invited to contribute to publicly available platforms such as eHospice, The Conversation and Future Oncology, as well as being invited to contribute to a book chapter. 

ORCID: 0000-0002-6613-3661

Active projects for prospective collaborators and students: 

Project 1

Title: The MyWELL Study 

Description: People living with myeloma and its pre-cancerous stage, smouldering myeloma, have the lowest quality of life of any cancer type. This reflects the high symptom burden associated with these diseases and the anxiety of living with an incurable cancer. The MyWELL Study is being conducted in collaboration with the Myeloma Research Laboratory and BeWellCo, aiming to co-design a myeloma-specific mental health intervention to improve quality of life for people living with myeloma. 

Location: SAHMRI

Available for: Honours / Masters / PhD (preferably with an interest in psychology/mental health)

 

Project 2

Title: GENESCREEN Trial 

Description: Some chemotherapy drugs require a specific enzyme, encoded by the DPYD gene, to be effectively cleared from the human body. However, 6-8% of the Caucasian population have mutations in this gene which render the enzyme partially or entirely impaired. These people are unable to effectively clear chemotherapy from their body, and as a result, have a very high risk of developing lethal toxic reactions. The GENESCREEN Trial aims to determine the frequency of these mutations in an Australian population (with appropriate representation from Indigenous Australians), and evaluate the feasibility of performing genetic testing to identify these people and adapt their chemotherapy accordingly. 

Location: SAHMRI 

Available for: Masters / PhD (preferably people with an interest in genetic, clinical oncology, health services). Substudies also exist in the psychological impact of genetic testing in people with cancer and the health economics of this test. 

 

Project 3

Title: The CANCAN Trial 

Description: The Supportive Oncology Research Group is currently conducting a Phase II trial investigating the efficacy of medicinal cannabis to control the symptoms and side effects of chemotherapy in people with advanced cancer. A range of outcome measures will be collected across a range of symptoms and side effects, offering numerous HDR project opportunities. In addition, numerous patient biospecimens will be collected including blood, faecal samples and saliva, offering numerous subsidies to investigate the pharmacokinetics of cannabis in people with cancer, the interaction between the microbiome and the endocannabinoid system and genetic factors that dictate the response to cannabis. We can explore opportunities that suit you and your skills/interests.

Location: SAHMRI

Available for: Masters / PhD  

 

 

 

 

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - 2025 Hospital Research Foundation Group Research Fellow (Level C) The University of Adelaide
    2020 - 2020 Postdoctoral Researcher The University of Groningen (University Medical Centre Groningen)
    2018 - 2022 NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical Research Fellow The University of Adelaide and The University of Groningen
    2017 - ongoing UniSA Online Tutor The University of South Australia
    2016 - 2017 Postdoctoral Researcher South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2021 Award SA Tall poppy of the Year Australian Institute of Policy and Science Australia -
    2020 Award Executive Dean's Early Career Researcher Award The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2020 Award 40 Under 40 Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship In Daily / Soltice Media Australia -
    2020 Award 40 Under 40 Award for Social Impact In Daily / Solstice Media Australia -
    2020 Award MedTech's Got Talent 2020 Winner MedTech Actuator Australia $10,000
    2019 Award Women's Research Excellence Award Winner The University of Adelaide Australia 5000
    2018 Award Qiagen International Microbiome Award Winner 2019 Qiagen Germany 79,116 USD
    2018 Award Future Science Group ECR Award Future Science Group United Kingdom -
    2018 Award L'Oreal Women in Science (Finalist) L'Oreal Australia -
    2017 Award SAHMRI Early Career Research Prize - - -
    2017 Award SAHMRI Shark Tank Prize - - -
    2017 Award South Australia Science Excellence Awards (PhD Excellence) Finalist South Australian Department of Industry and Skills Australia -
    2017 Award SA Science Excellence Awards Finalist (PhD Excellence) - - -
    2017 Award You Can Innovate Award Finalist - - -
    2017 Award University Medal for Doctoral Research Excellence University of Adelaide Australia -
    2016 Award Dean's Commendation for Research Thesis Excellence - - -
    2016 Award Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology ‘Best Oral Presentation’ - - -
    2016 Award MASCC/ISOO Young Investigator of the Year - - -
    2016 Award Channel 9 Young Achiever Award; Science and Technology - - -
    2016 Award Fresh Science SA Winner - - -
    2015 Award Australian Society for Medical Research Campion-Ma-Playoust Memorial Award - - -
    2015 Award Florey Medical Research Foundation Prize; Best Poster - - -
    2015 Achievement Channel 9 Young Achiever Award; Science and Technology Runner Up - - -
    2015 Scholarship Florey Medical Research Foundation Doctor Chun Chung and Madam So Sau Lam Memorial Postgraduate Award - - -
    2014 Award Florey Medical Research Foundation Prize; Best Poster - - -
    2014 Achievement Channel 9 Young Achiever Award; Science and Technology Finalist - - -
    2013 Scholarship Australian Postgraduate Award - - -
    2012 Award Highest Honours Grade; School of Medicine - - -
    2012 Award Bachelor of Health Sciences, Executive Dean's Certificate of Merit - - -
    2012 Award Best Honours Poster Presentation - - -
    2012 Recognition Mace Bearer - - -
    2011 Award Highest Aggregate Grade in Major: Physiology (School of Medicine) - - -
    2011 Award Highest Aggregate Grade in Major: Anatomical Sciences (School of Medicine) - - -
    2011 Award Highest Aggregate Grade in Major: Reproductive Biology (School of Medicine) - - -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2013 - 2016 University of Adelaide Australia PhD, Medicine
    2012 - 2012 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours)
    2009 - 2011 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Health Sciences
  • Research Interests

Hannah has attracted >$12M in competitive funding, both as lead applicant and collaborator, including grants awarded by Cat1 funders such as MRFF, NHMRC, and ACRF. Below is a snapshot of key grants Hannah has been awarded in the past 5 years. 

Adelaide Brain Cancer Treatment and Imaging Consortium, $4M Australian Cancer Research Foundation.  

DPYD and UGT1A1 genotyping for fluoropyrimidine and irinotecan dose personalisation to reduce severe toxicity, $2.73M Medical Research Future Fund Project Grant (Genomics Mission). 

The microbiome and cognitive and psychological symptoms in adolescents and young adults undergoing cancer treatment, $499,011 NSW Health.

Protecting vitamin D levels to prevent chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal mucositis, $807,367 NHMRC Ideas Grant. 

The ASPIRE Trial, $248000 (USD) Pfizer ASPIRE Project Grant.

Does the gut microbiota play an important role in mediating the painful side effects of bortezomib? $198,559 The Hospital Research Foundation Group Project Grant. 

Adapting an FMT protocol to restore the gastrointestinal microenvironment in HSCT recipients (the HSCT-Biome Trial), $570,000 The Hospital Research Foundation Group Fellowship.  

Developing a risk assessment model to predict which side effects a patient will develop, $480,000 Cancer Council SA Beat Cancer Early Career Fellowship (awarded, but not accepted due to competing fellowship offers). 

CANnabinoids in CANcer therapy (CANCAN) trial, $1.47M Medical Research Future Fund (Consumer Driven Research Scheme).

Predicting side effects in children with cancer, $412,952 NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship. 

Undergraduate Teaching 

Throughout my postgraduate training and postdoctoral research, I have been actively involved in the teaching, supervision and mentoring of undergraduate and honours students. I have delivered lecture modules on Mucositis, gastrointestinal physiology and the oral cavity, have been intimately involved in the re-work of Human Biology 1A/B, been appointed as a MBBS case-based learning tutor, and am a member of the Indigenous Tutor Assistance Scheme. To date, I have been involved in the following courses (in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) as a tutor or project supervisor: Human Biology I, Essentials of Pathology III, Cellular and Systems Neurobiology III, Cells Tissues and Development II, Biology of Disease II, Investigative Cell Biology III, Comparative Reproductive Biology of Mammals III, Comparative Neuroanatomy III, Structural Cell Biology III. 

My teaching has also been complimented by attendance of the 'BEST' Program: Becoming an Effective Supervisor and Teacher, a one-day Learning and Teaching course for Sessional Teachers, Tutors and Academic Staff of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. 

Online Education 

In 2015, I was invited to take part in the production, editing and delivery of the University's first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), delivered through EdX and organised by Prof Mario Ricci. In its first year, there were over 5000 students enrolled. I helped with the production of interactive elements of the course, as well as reviewing the course content. I am now involved in moderation of the discussion board. In line with these roles, I also produced a literature review on current e-Assessment strategies that have been implemented in medical/health related tertiary education. This has been identified as a key area for growth by the Vice Chancellor and will be reviewed by the board for e-Assessment within the University of Adelaide. In 2018, I have also been appointed as a UniSA Online Educator (Health Sciences Course) as part of their new UniSA Online Initiative which aims to provide an entire course online, thus targeting a new student demographic. 

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Spinal Quantitative Imaging with Super High-field strength MRI for accurate non-invasive spinal cord tumour diagnosis (The SQUISH spine project) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Reeya Chetan Patel
    2023 Principal Supervisor Neuropsychological complications of chemotherapy and the involvement of the endocannabinoid system. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Olivia Marie Bellas
    2023 Principal Supervisor Fecal microbiota transplantation as an adjunctive supportive care therapy for haematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Anna Li
    2023 Co-Supervisor Modelling mutations in juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia and chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Kelly Lim
    2022 Principal Supervisor Modelling neurotoxicities following paediatric cancer treatments to improve cognitive outcomes and quality of survival Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Maya Rochelle Davies
    2022 Co-Supervisor The microbiome in cancer treatment toxicity in the gut Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Claire Patricia Vieyra
    2022 Co-Supervisor Exploring the effect of diet and gut microbiota on breast cancer using the Dark Agouti Mammary Adenocarcinoma (DAMA) model. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Ifeoma Julieth Dikeocha
    2022 Co-Supervisor The CANnabinoids in CANcer Therapy (CANCAN) trial: Using patient-reported outcomes to assess the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in alleviating chemotherapy-induced gut distress symptoms Master of Philosophy (Public Health) Master Full Time Miss Katrina Cao
    2021 Co-Supervisor Mechanisms of bortezomib-induced gut dysfunction and novel strategies to mitigate its impact in people with multiple myeloma. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jacqui Steele Scott
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor The Role of TLR4 in Chemotherapy-Induced Toxicity, Immunity and Tumour Growth Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Elise Ellen Crame
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor The Microbiota Gut Brain Axis in the Neuropsychological Complications of Chemotherapy Treatment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Courtney Brooke Subramaniam
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2018 - ongoing Member Information and Communication Committee Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer Australia
    2017 - ongoing Co-Chair Social Media Working Group The Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer -
    2016 - ongoing Co-Chair Mucositis Study Group - Guideline Developemnt Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Secretary Consumer Engagement Committee Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer Canada
    2021 - ongoing Member Consumer Engagement Committee Health Translation SA Australia
    2021 - ongoing Co-Chair Mucositis Study Group Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer Canada
    2020 - ongoing Member EMCR Committee SAHMRI Australia
    2020 - ongoing Co-Founder Australasian Human Microbiome Network AHMRN Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member Information and Communication Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer United States
    2017 - ongoing Chair Social Media Engagement (Mucositis Study Group) Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer United States
    2017 - ongoing Co-Chair Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer: Update of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Mucositis (Risk Prediction) - -
    2016 - ongoing Member Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer; Mucositis Study Group - -
    2016 - ongoing Member Future Leaders Group - -
    2016 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Medical Research - -
    2015 - ongoing Member Neurological Complications Study Group Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer Canada
    2013 - ongoing Representative School of Medicine Board - -
    2013 - ongoing Representative School of Medicine HDR Committee - -
    2013 - 2016 Member Health Sciences Postgraduate Association (HESPA) - -
    2012 - ongoing Member Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer - -
    2012 - ongoing Member Golden Key International Honour Society - -
  • Position: NHMRC Externally-Funded Research Fellow C
  • Email: hannah.wardill@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: SAHMRI, floor 7 South
  • Org Unit: Medical Sciences

Connect With Me
External Profiles