ECR honoured with two Premier's Awards

Dr Kate McArthur receiving her award from Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos MP.
Dr Kate McArthur receiving her award from Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos MP.

Dr Kate McArthur’s adoption of the revolutionary new imaging technique called lattice light sheet microscopy to make a fundamental discovery in cell biology has seen her take home two accolades at the recent Victorian Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research.

Dr McArthur was recognised for her doctoral research into how dying cells hide from our immune system, which was published in Science in February 2018. She was named the winner of her category, securing the Basic Science Award, and the overall winner of the Premier’s Excellence Award.

The human body eliminates billions of functionally exhausted or damaged cells through a ‘cell suicide’ program. This continuing process is essential to the development and day-to-day health of tissue and organs. It occurs ‘silently’ as not to trigger any immune system ‘alarms’.

In a world first, Dr McArthur observed DNA from inside mitochondria (mtDNA) escaping into the cell’s cytoplasm. This is the first documented example by which mtDNA escapes the mitochondria. mtDNA is a potent pro-inflammatory danger signal implicated in the development of a wide range of human pathologies, including inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

“This is a real honour. I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done, and so happy to see it – and basic science research more broadly – recognised so positively,” Dr McArthur said.

Professor Benjamin Kile, Head of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology and Dr McArthur’s PhD supervisor is extremely proud of her accomplishment.

“Kate’s work has opened up a whole range of new research questions. There is no question she is heading for a very bright future in medical research,” Professor Kile said.

“A brilliant scientist, great role model, and a passionate and articulate scientific communicator, you couldn’t find a more worthy recipient or a better ambassador for Victoria’s research sector,” he said.

The Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research honour the outstanding work and discoveries of up-and-coming health and medical researchers in the early stages of their career.

A total of 24 finalists were shortlisted for the award categories in the areas of clinical, public health, basic science, health services research and a category recognising an Aboriginal research in any category of health and medical research. Find out more about each finalist’s research project.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.