Dr Nienke Zomerdijk

Research Fellow

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine


Dr Nienke Zomerdijk is an Early Career Research Fellow in the First Nations Cancer and Wellbeing Research team at the University of Queensland (2023-present), with expertise in the psychosocial aspects of haematological malignancies and stem cell transplantation.

Prior to this, she was the inaugural Research Fellow in Psycho-Oncology jointly appointed between the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance (2019-2023). Nienke earned her doctorate from the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine in 2019, carried out within the haematology departments of the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital and Westmead Hospital in Sydney.

Nienke's diverse research portfolio in haematology spans various topics, including investigating the psychological impacts of COVID-19 on haematology patients and their healthcare professionals, exploring the psychological aspects family stem cell donation, and examining the burden of haematological malignancies specifically in First Nations Australians.

She has a strong record of collaborations with key community organisations, such as the Leukaemia Foundation, and has served as a member of the National Blood Cancer Optimal Care Pathways Working Group for two haematological cancer subtypes. Nienke is a member of the Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG) Scientific Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of the PoCoG Early Career Special Interest Group.

As a whole, Nienke's contributions to the psycho-oncology field have received growing recognition, including numerous awards such as the International Psycho-Oncology Society Congress Award in 2021 and the Margot Prior Early Career Research Award in Clinical Science in 2022. She has published a book chapter and over 20 peer-reviewed publications, including systematic reviews. She has attracted over $1 million in grants funded by Cancer Australia, the Leukaemia Foundation, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, and the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital Foundation as a CI.

Research Impacts

In 2022, Nienke was awarded an Early Career Research Grant from the University of Melbourne for her project, Mitigating the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood cancer patients and their healthcare workers. The results of this project informed the international COVID-19 Blood Cancer Coalition Impact Statement (2022), led to media invitations including the ABC Program 'Big Ideas (2021), and directly impacted Leukaemia Foundation's telehealth care delivery during COVID-19.

Currently, Nienke is co-leading a newly funded program of research in collaboration with Prof Gail Garvey. This program aims to comprehensively understand the physical and psychosocial burden of haematological cancers in First Nations Australians. The findings from this research will inform a National Roundtable discussion, where crucial research, policy, and clinical practice priorities for improving the wellbeing of First Nations Australians affected by haematological cancers will be determined. This research study represents the first national epidemiological study of haematological cancers in First Nations Australians. It addresses significant data gaps and will support the development of an informed strategy to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This new program is conducted in partnership with the Leukaemia Foundation, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff members from the University of Queensland’s First Nations Cancer and Wellbeing Research team.


View all Publications


Book Chapter

  • Zomerdijk, Nienke and Turner, Jane (2021). Psychological issues and care of cancer survivors. Survivorship Care for Cancer Patients: A Clinician’s Handbook. (pp. 345-370) edited by Stefan Rauh. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-78648-9_17

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs