People in Profile: Kate O’Connor

Meet Kate — pancreatic cancer researcher, runner, and Ironwoman hopeful (the superhero, not the triathon).

Kate O’Connor has been a gastrointestinal pathology fellow at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) since July 2013, working under supervisors Dr. David Schaeffer and Dr. David Owen. Her work in gastrointestinal pathology focuses on pancreatic and liver pathology including transplant pathology. Prior to VGH she studied Medicine at University College Cork, Ireland, and completed her pathology residency in Cork and Dublin. O’Connor now happily considers Vancouver her home away from home.

Q: What is your research area of interest?
Pancreatic cancer and its prognostic parameters is my main area of research. I’ve always been interested in pancreatic pathology.  Having spent time as a hepatobiliary surgical intern before I began my pathology residency, it really gave me insights into the exceptionally poor prognosis of this disease and the need for more research and treatment developments in this area.

Q: What has been the proudest moment of your career thus far?
My proudest moment to date would probably be moving to Vancouver and beginning my fellowship in a new country. It is exciting to spend time gaining experience in gastrointestinal pathology and pancreatic research.

Q: How do you like to spend your non-working hours and what do you think of Vancouver so far?
I enjoy running and I’ve recently joined a dodge ball team! I love Vancouver because of the similarities between it and Ireland, except Vancouver has far superior summers. I love the city atmosphere in Vancouver and living in a place where you have the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other.

Q: If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?
Ironwoman (the female version of Ironman) — I wouldn’t have to live a lie because my identity is out in the open and I would also be a billionaire.

Q: If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be and why?
Jamie Oliver because he could also do the cooking.  Boo the famous dog because I want to see is he real or in fact a teddy bear. Oprah Winfrey because she would have some interesting stories and you know you’ve made it in life when you are friends with Oprah.

Q: What would you do if you weren’t a researcher?
I’d love to be a professional tennis player, even though I can’t really play tennis.  Realistically though I probably would have done law if I hadn’t done medicine.

Q: What’s your healthiest habit?


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