Researcher biography

Professor Kate Schroder heads the Inflammasome Laboratory and is Director of the Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), University of Queensland, as an NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Fellow. Kate's graduate studies defined novel macrophage activation mechanisms and her subsequent postdoctoral research identified surprising inter-species divergence in the inflammatory programs of human versus mouse macrophages. As an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow in Switzerland, Kate trained with the pioneer of inflammasome biology, Jürg Tschopp. The IMB Inflammasome Laboratory, which Kate heads, investigates the molecular mechanisms governing inflammasome activity and caspase activation, the cellular mediators of inflammasome-dependent inflammation, and mechanisms of inflammasome inhibition by cellular pathways and small molecule inhibitors.

Kate is a co-inventor on patents for small molecule inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome, currently under commercialisation by Inflazome Ltd. Inflazome Ltd was recently acquired by Roche in a landmark deal – one of the largest in Australian and Irish biotech history. The acquisition gives Roche full rights to Inflazome's portfolio of inflammasome inhibitors. Two of the company's drug candidates are in clinical trials for the treatment of debilitating conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease.

Kate has authored more than 100 publications, featuring in journals such as Science, Cell, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Nature Chemical Biology, Journal of Experimental Medicine and PNAS USA, and her work has been cited more than 17,000 times. Kate is an Editorial Board Member for international journals including Science Signaling, Clinical and Translational Immunology and Cell Death Disease. She is the recipient of the 2019 ANZSCDB Emerging Leader Award, 2019 Merck Research Medal, 2014 Milstein Young Investigator Award, 2013 Tall Poppy Award, 2012 Gordon Ada Career Award, 2010 QLD Premier's Postdoctoral Award, and the 2008 Society for Leukocyte Biology's Dolph Adams Award.

INFLAMMASOME LABORATORY RESEARCH

During injury or infection, our body's immune system protects us by launching inflammation. But uncontrolled inflammation drives diseases such as gout, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and cancer. The Inflammasome Lab is defining the molecular and cellular processes of inflammation. We seek to unravel the secrets of inflammasomes – protein complexes at the heart of inflammation and disease – to allow for new therapies to fight human diseases.

The Inflammasome Laboratory integrates molecular and cell biology approaches with in vivo studies to gain a holistic understanding of inflammasome function during infection, and inflammasome dysfunction in human inflammatory disease. Current research interests include the molecular mechanisms governing inflammasome activity and caspase activation, the cellular mediators of inflammasome-dependent inflammation, and inflammasome suppression by autophagy and small molecule inhibitors.