Katie studied Chemical and Biological Engineering at UQ, graduating in 2008 as Valedictorian and University Medallist. She is now working towards a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA.
After leaving high school, Chemical and Biological Engineering appealed to Katie as a field that applies the tools of mathematics, in conjunction with an understanding of chemistry and biology, to address problems in health and the environment. While at UQ Katie sampled several areas of research; including a project that simulated metabolic pathways to create strategies for the biological production of basic chemicals. She became a member of the newly-formed Engineers Without Borders student chapter and took an opportunity to attend ETH Zurich’s “Youth Encounter on Sustainability” workshop in Switzerland.
In 2008, she was awarded a Sir General John Monash Foundation Scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies outside of Australia. Katie’s Ph.D. studies the dynamics of gene regulation. The research applies quantitative tools to learn about patterns of mRNA production from DNA; a fundamental biological process, which is also involved in diseases such as cancer. Continuing a life-long love of endurance sports, MIT also introduced Katie to the sport of cycling. This led to wins at the 2012 National Collegiate Cycling (Division II) Road Race and Team Time Trial, and travelling around the most picturesque parts of the United States to ride bikes with friends.