Kate Markey, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Kate Markey, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Kate Markey, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Assistant Professor, Translational Science and Therapeutics Division, Fred Hutch
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Medical Oncology

“Doing both research work and clinical work helps me be better at both. On the patient side, we don't always have all the information, because there are always uncertainties. I try to help my patients clearly understand what we know and what we don’t know, as well as what data we need to solve the problem in front of us. I think it’s really important to communicate these things clearly, and make sure people are able to be fully involved in decision-making around their care.”

— Kate Markey, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Why did you choose to be a physician-scientist?

When I was first exposed to research, I was an undergraduate engineering student helping a new professor set up their first lab, I realized I loved the medical application of research. I developed an interest in immunology — particularly stem cell, transplant and cancer therapy — and this aligned with my learning as a junior medical student. As my training continued, I began to care for cancer patients. I was thrilled that I would not only be able to care for cancer patients and continue the research, but that I could see my research applied and take my clinical observations back to the lab to focus on clinically relevant problems.

What is it like to work both with patients and in research?

What I like about the research side is that we get all the information. Working with all the data enables us to be absolutely sure about what we are finding. It’s really satisfying because you're solving problems no one has ever solved before. If you’re missing some data, you can design another experiment to find the answer you need – medical research is a very creative task! Also, the problems I see with patients on the clinical side directly inform the research questions I think are important. For example, I have patients who are suffering severe infections after transplant because their immune systems haven't recovered well, so one of my research areas is focused on immune reconstitution and how we can make that better.

What is driving your current research?

I’m interested in how the intestinal microbiome interacts with transplant complications. The gut is fascinating, with trillions of bugs sitting on an intestinal surface area equivalent to two tennis courts. Subduing the patient’s immune system in preparation for transplant wreaks havoc on this biome. The treatments that people have before transplant (for example, leukemia induction therapy) and the transplant process itself are both linked with damage to the intestinal microbiome. This is probably due to big changes in diet, antibiotic treatment and chemotherapy itself. I want to learn how to treat target the intestinal microbiome in the future to improve patient outcomes. Perhaps we can help the microbiome recover faster, or maybe we can do less damage to the microbiome during treatment so that patient recovery is faster and more successful.

Provider Background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Impact of Gut Microbiota on Patient Health During Hematopoietic-Cell Transplantation

Dr. Kate Markey studies the intersection between the microorganisms in patients' intestines — the gut microbiome — the immune system, and the outcomes of immune-based cancer treatments. These include bone marrow transplantation and cellular immunotherapies. One focus area of her research is graft-vs.-host disease, or GVHD, in which immune cells from the donor attack the patient's healthy cells. She is learning how the microbiome interacts with the immune system to influence the development of GVHD and the effectiveness of transplant in controlling cancer. Dr. Markey is also a physician who cares for patients undergoing transplant. She uses data and observations from the clinic to inform her laboratory research, which in turn is aimed at improving patient care.

Diseases Treated

Malignant Blood Disorders

Non-malignant Blood Disorders

Solid Organ Malignancies



Education, Experience and Certifications

Doctor of Philosophy, Immunology

University of Queensland, Australia

Medical Degree

The University of Queensland Medical School

Masters in Clinical Research

Monash University, Australia

Undergraduate Degree

Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland, Australia

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Read our Patient Guide to Clinical Trials


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

View Dr. Markey's Publications

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