Personal details

Dr Elke Hacker
Project Manager
Faculty of Health,
School of Public Health & Social Work
Discipline *
Public Health and Health Services
+61 7 3138 9674
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Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland), Graduate Certificate in Education- Higher Education (University of Queensland), Bachelor of Science Hons (University of Queensland)

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Elke Hacker is a world-leading post-doctoral researcher in the skin cancer field at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. Over the last ten years she has expanded her research from animal models to human clinical studies which have generated results that improve our understanding of the interplay between sun exposure, genetic-susceptibility and skin cancer risk.

Dr Hacker’s awards include a NHMRC training fellowship (2009-2013, $285,000) and more recently, an Advance Queensland mid-career fellowship (2017-2020, $600,000).  She has also received two successful cancer council project grants as lead investigator, including ‘New Technologies in Skin Cancer Prevention’ (2015-2017, $200,000) and ‘The response of human melanocytes in vivo to sunlight’ (2011-2013, $182,500). Dr Hacker was awarded internal grants from QUT including IHBI Collaborative Research Grants (2010, 2016) and recently the QUT Strategic Pilot Grants in June 2018. This work has and continues to involve the development, implementation and completion of randomised controlled trials, as well as feasibility, focus groups and pilot studies testing new and innovative technologies in skin cancer prevention. She has also published over 30 research articles in leading journals and has an H-index of 14.

Dr Hacker has an international reputation for leading collaborations which further define the pathways to melanoma, whilst examining the relationship between germline and somatic mutations in a series of melanomas collected from Spanish, Australia and Austrian patients. Her work has evolved from exploring carcinogenesis to examining preventative approaches including post-sunburn treatments with DNA repair enzymes that could protect against skin cancer. Dr Hacker’s research examining the impact of sunscreen and sunscreen reminder technology are both listed in the top 5% of research outputs scored by Altmetric.

Dr Hacker’s latest research involves testing emerging technologies such as wearable UV indicators, smart phone applications (or ‘Apps’), virtual reality and Internet of Things (i.e. interrelated computing devices) platforms. Her recent work is focused on testing technology to prevent skin cancer and continues to create solutions to reduce the burden of this disease on the community.

This information has been contributed by Dr Elke Hacker.


Honours, Awards, Distinctions

2005- Recipient of the Thenie Baddams Award from the Australian Federation of University Women

2007- Australian Society for Medical Research QLD Premier’s Awards Postgraduate Student Runner Up.

2008-University of the Sunshine Coast Outstanding Alumni recipient

2009-International Congress of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Young Scientist Fellow, China

2010- Australian Institute of Policy and Science, Queensland Tall Poppy Science award recipient.

2011-European Society for Photobiology fellowship recipient, research findings were presented at ESP congress in Geneva.

2020- Innovation in Science Women in Technology award

Competitive Grants and Fellowships

Fellowship: (2017-20) Advance QLD-Testing New Technology $600,000

Project Grant: QUT (2018-19) CIA Smart Sunscreens, $20,000

Project Grant: QUT (2018-19) CIA Understanding the biological responses to sun exposure, $10,000

Project Grant: CCQ (2015-17) CIA-New Technologies in Skin Cancer Prevention, $200,000

Fellowship: (2009-12) NHMRC-Training Australian Based, $285,000

Project Grant: CCQ (2010-12) Sole CIA The response of human melanocytes to sunlight, $182,500

Project Grant: QUT (2012) Sole CIA The impact of sunscreens containing nanoparticles, $29,871

Project Grant: (2012) CIA-Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, $6,600

International Presentations

Dr Hacker’s research has warranted presentations at international meetings, which started early in her career, when she was awarded a Cancer Council Travel grant to present at the 19th International Pigment Cell Conference in the USA and the 6th World Congress on Melanoma, Vancouver, Canada.

In 2007 Dr Hacker was awarded a Queensland Institute of Medical Research Travel Grant to attend the conjoined 5th International Melanoma Research Congress and 11th International Pigment Cell conference in Japan.

Dr Hacker has continued to raise her international profile by presenting at the World Congress on Melanoma in Austria in 2008, in Sydney in 2010 and in France in 2011. Dr Hacker was invited to attend the Molecular Biology Young Scientist program in 2009 and the International Congress of Biochemistry in Shanghai, China as well as present at the European Society for Photobiology conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 2011. Dr Hacker has continued to foster these international networks presenting at the 2nd International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention in Germany, the 15th Congress of the European Society for Photobiology in Belgium and the Australasian Society for Dermatology Research Meeting in Sydney during 2013.

Her research examining preventative approaches to skin cancer was presented at the 3rd International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention in Melbourne during 2015. During 2016, Dr Hacker presented the findings from the Skntec study at the Australasian Melanoma Conference in Sydney and was an invited speaker at the Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia Annual Scientific meeting in Melbourne.

In 2019, Dr Hacker attended the University of Waterloo in Canada undertaking a 6-week research project with frequent presentations of her research to other groups across the University of Waterloo.

This information has been contributed by Dr Elke Hacker.


For publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.