Kate Hammer

Associate Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M504), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr Kate Hammer completed her undergraduate studies at Murdoch University before undertaking a postgraduate Diploma of Science in Microbiology at The University of Western Australia. She then worked as a Research Assistant in the Tea Tree Oil Research group at UWA before completing her PhD on the antifungal activity of tea-tree oil. She began a Teaching and Research position at UWA in 2015 and coordinates a number of undergraduate and postgraduate units, and continues to research the antimicrobial activity of natural and novel products.  

Funding overview

  • CRC for Honeybee Products
  • AgriFutures Australia (formerly Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation)
  • Raine Medical Research Foundation

Current projects

Dr Connie Locher, Pharamcy, UWA
Dr Gavin Flemmatti, Chemistry, UWA
Dr Christine Carson, Microbiology, UWA
Professor Thomas Riley, Microbiology, UWA

Teaching overview

Dr Hammer is unit coordinator for a number of undergraduate and postgraduate Microbiology units.


Dr Hammer is currently researching the antibacterial activity of Australian honeys, in particular those from Western Australia.

She has previously investigated the possibility that Gram positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus, could become resistant to Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. Her tests showed that the bacteria do not acquire resistance to tea tree oil, probably because it is such a complex essential oil. Tea tree oil has over 100 components, which may make it very difficult for organisms to evolve coping mechanisms.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research expertise keywords

  • Antifungal agents
  • Antibacterial agents
  • Antimicrobial agents
  • Bioactive plant compounds
  • Alternative therapies—infectious diseases
  • Medicinal properties of native plants
  • Plant essential oils
  • Tea tree oil
  • Honey—antimicrobial activity
  • Infectious diseases—alternative therapies


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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