QAEHS in Focus: Katja Shimko

1 Dec 2020

QAEHS in Focus shines the spotlight on QAEHS staff and students to showcase the expertise and talent within our Centre.

Katja ShimkoWhy did you choose QAEHS to study with?

For my Master of Research degree I undertook a 6 month research project back in 2017. The project that I was most interested in happened to be at QAEHS. After those 6 months, I knew that I wanted to come back and do my PhD at QAEHS. There are always so many different projects that people work on and I love that collaboration is a big part of the centre.

What is your research about?

Performance- and image-enhancing drug (PIED) use has been described as a public health issue, but the only methods that are currently being used to estimate and surveil this are single point-in-time measurements of a limited number of people (questionnaires, needle syringe programs, anti-doping testing, etc.). I am investigating if wastewater analysis/ wastewater-based epidemiology can be used as a complimentary tool to objectively assess and monitor the use of PIEDs within the general community, covering larger populations.

How do QAEHS academics assist with the development of your research?

The support structure and academics at QAEHS are amazing. They always find time in their busy schedules to help us students. We are also pretty fortunate when it comes to laboratory equipment, which helps a lot with our research. This way we can expand our lab skill set and run many different types of experiments. We also have academics from various backgrounds to share knowledge with, which facilitates interdisciplinary work.

What has been the best advice you have received about coping with the move to Brisbane?

Almost every international student will tell you this – get a place with air conditioning (or get a portable AC unit)! No one ever told me this, but in the winter you might actually need a heater, especially if you live in a Queenslander.

What is your favourite movie?

I don’t have a favourite movie, I watch more series, but for action I’d say Mad Max Fury Road, comedy Eurotrip and general V for Vendetta and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Random fact you would like to share about yourself.

Booking flights (especially months in advance) stresses me out. I guess that is one good thing COVID has done for me. I like cottage cheese with pineapple.