The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Dr Katherine Gibney

Dr Katherine Gibney is an infectious diseases physician, public health physician and medical epidemiologist. She has a particular interest in infections in immigrants and returned travellers, vector-borne diseases and gastrointestinal infections, and Indigenous health. Katherine works at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Doherty Institute, and has an appointment in Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance, Victorian Department of Health. She completed a PhD at Monash University examining the burden of selected infectious diseases in Australia and the national infectious diseases surveillance system.

  • Key Achievements
    • Katherine graduated from medicine in 2001 and received a Masters of Public Health in 2007. She completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program between 2009 and 2011 – a two-year applied epidemiology fellowship in the arboviral diseases branch of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). She completed infectious diseases training (FRACP) in 2010 and public health training (FAFPHM) in 2015. She was awarded a PhD from Monash University in 2016.

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    • Saliva for diagnosis of COVID-19 in primary care, paediatric and out of hospital settings (The Spit Study)

      Rapid diagnosis and isolation of COVID-19 cases and identification and quarantine of their close contacts is essential if we are to control COVID-19 in the community.  

      Currently, to diagnose someone with COVID-19, a swab is collected from the throat and deep within the nose. Swabbing is uncomfortable and health care workers (HCWs) collecting the swab must use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, eye-shields and masks, to avoid being infected themselves. The staff costs, requirement for PPE, and discomfort to the patient would be reduced considerably if the diagnosis could be made from a saliva sample, requiring people to spit into a tube. Using saliva to diagnose COVID-19 would make it easier to test people across a wide range of settings.   

      This study aims to find out whether testing saliva for SARS-CoV-2 is as reliable as nose and throat swabs in a range of settings, including primary care, among children, and outbreak settings. We will find out how practical it is for people to collect a saliva sample and if they prefer this to the throat and nose swab.

      Principal Investigator: Dr Katherine Gibney

    Research Groups
    • McVernon Group

      Jodie McVernon’s group uses established and emerging biostatistical, epidemiologic and modelling methods to address infectious diseases questions of public health relevance. We bring a suite of collaborators from animal health and ecology to provide a ‘One Health’ perspective on emerging human pathogens.

      Lab Team

    • Tong Group

      Steve’s group conducts clinical trials to optimise the treatment of infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other bacterial pathogens. He also investigates the epidemiology and genomics of streptococcal infections, hepatitis B, influenza, and antimicrobial resistance in Australian Indigenous communities.

      Lab Team