Dr Hannah O'Farrell

Research Fellow


BSc, University of Queensland, 2015; BSc (Hons), University of Queensland, 2016; PhD, University of Queensland, 2021


Brisbane – Centre for Children’s Health Research


Dr Hannah O’Farrell is an early career researcher working as a post-doctoral scientist employed by the Menzies School of Health Research. She was awarded her PhD in November 2021, in which she investigated the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in COPD and lung cancer in adults. Hannah was the first to demonstrate the biomarker potential of plasma EV miRNAs in discriminating patients with lung cancer from healthy smokers, healthy controls and patients with COPD, as well as compare the toxicity of e-cigarettes to tobacco cigarettes in airway epithelium from patients with COPD.

Hannah has contributed to the field of molecular biomarkers by utilising cutting-edge technologies in respiratory disease (the use of EVs and the bioactive cargo they contain) in order to better understand the links between microbiota and lung disease initiation, as well as identify novel disease biomarkers.

As an early career researcher with a unique skill-set, combining laboratory molecular biology skills and linked clinical work, Hannah is now applying her technological expertise to paediatric lung disease.

  • Chang, A. B., Morgan, L. C., Duncan, E. L., Chatfield, M. D., Schultz, A., Leo, P. J., McCallum, G. B., McInerney-Leo, A. M., McPhail, S. M., Zhao, Y., Kruljac, C., Smith-Vaughan, H. C., Morris, P. S., Marchant, J. M., Yerkovich, S. T., Cook, A. L., Wurzel, D., Versteegh, L., O'Farrell, H., . . . Grimwood, K. (2022). Reducing exacerbations in children and adults with primary ciliary dyskinesia using erdosteine and/or azithromycin therapy (REPEAT trial): study protocol for a multicentre, double-blind, double-dummy, 2×2 partial factorial, randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open Respir Res, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjresp-2022-001236 
  • Chang, A. B., Toombs, M., Chatfield, M. D., Mitchell, R., Fong, S. M., Binks, M. J., Smith-Vaughan, H., Pizzutto, S. J., Lust, K., Morris, P. S., Marchant, J. M., Yerkovich, S. T., O'Farrell, H., Torzillo, P. J., Maclennan, C., Simon, D., Unger, H. W., Ellepola, H., Odendahl, J., . . . Grimwood, K. (2021). Study Protocol for Preventing Early-Onset Pneumonia in Young Children Through Maternal Immunisation: A Multi-Centre Randomised Controlled Trial (PneuMatters). Front Pediatr, 9, 781168. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2021.781168 
  • Marchant, J. M., Cook, A. L., Roberts, J., Yerkovich, S. T., Goyal, V., Arnold, D., O'Farrell, H. E., & Chang, A. B. (2021). Burden of Care for Children with Bronchiectasis from Parents/Carers Perspective. J Clin Med, 10(24). https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10245856 
  • O'Farrell, H., Harbourne, B., Kurlawala, Z., Inoue, Y., Nagelberg, A. L., Martinez, V. D., Lu, D., Oh, M. H., Coe, B. P., Thu, K. L., Somwar, R., Lam, S., Lam, W. L., Unni, A. M., Beverly, L., & Lockwood, W. W. (2019). Integrative Genomic Analyses Identifies GGA2 as a Cooperative Driver of EGFR-Mediated Lung Tumorigenesis. J Thorac Oncol, 14(4), 656-671. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2018.12.004 
  • O'Farrell, H. E., Bowman, R. V., Fong, K. M., & Yang, I. A. (2021). Plasma Extracellular Vesicle miRNAs Can Identify Lung Cancer, Current Smoking Status, and Stable COPD. Int J Mol Sci, 22(11). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115803 
  • O'Farrell, H. E., Brown, R., Brown, Z., Milijevic, B., Ristovski, Z. D., Bowman, R. V., Fong, K. M., Vaughan, A., & Yang, I. A. (2021). E-cigarettes induce toxicity comparable to tobacco cigarettes in airway epithelium from patients with COPD. Toxicol In Vitro, 75, 105204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2021.105204 
  • O'Farrell, H. E., Shaw, J. G., Goh, F., Bowman, R. V., Fong, K. M., Krause, L., & Yang, I. A. (2019). Potential clinical utility of multiple target quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) array to detect microbial pathogens in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Journal of thoracic disease, 11(Suppl 17), S2254-s2265. https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2019.10.39 
  • O'Farrell, H. E., & Yang, I. A. (2019). Extracellular vesicles in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Journal of thoracic disease, 11(Suppl 17), S2141-S2154. https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2019.10.16 
  • Parris, B. A., O'Farrell, H. E., Fong, K. M., & Yang, I. A. (2019). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer: common pathways for pathogenesis. Journal of thoracic disease, 11(Suppl 17), S2155-s2172. https://doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2019.10.54 
  • Taylor, S. L., O'Farrell, H. E., Simpson, J. L., Yang, I. A., & Rogers, G. B. (2019). The contribution of respiratory microbiome analysis to a treatable traits model of care. Respirology, 24(1), 19-28. https://doi.org/10.1111/resp.13411