Inflammation researcher recognised with prestigious medal

4 April 2019

An IMB researcher investigating the underlying biology of a range of inflammatory diseases has been awarded a prestigious medal.

Associate Professor Kate Schroder has been awarded the Merck Research Medal for 2019, presented by the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to an outstanding member, to recognise excellence in Australian biochemistry and molecular biology.

Associate Professor Schroder is an expert on the inflammasome, a molecular machine that triggers immune cells to respond when we have an infection or injury.

The inflammasome is crucial to protect our bodies from infection but it is also a key driver of unhealthy inflammation in many human diseases, such as gout, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease and cancer.

Professor Ian Henderson, IMB Deputy Director (Research) congratulated Associate Professor Schroder on being recognised for her achievements.

“Kate has established a world-class research team at IMB, exploring the molecular and cellular processes of the inflammasome with the goal of developing new drugs to fight infection and inflammatory disease,” he said.

“Kate served on the Scientific Advisory Board of start-up company Inflazome, which is dedicated to delivering new medicines that stop inflammation, and last year raised $63 million in Series B financing.

“Previous winners of the Merck Medal include UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj in 1992, IMB Director Professor Brandon Wainwright in 1991 and Professor Glenn King in 1997. Clearly, those who win this medal in their early career go on to great things, and I look forward to seeing Kate’s continued achievements.”

More recently, Associate Professor Brett Collins won the award in 2016, Professor Bostjan Kobe, an IMB affiliate, received it in 2010, while Professor Jennifer Martin was an IMB group leader when she won the award in 2005.

Recently the Schroder Lab discovered how the inflammasome machinery switches off in healthy cells, and are now investigating why it doesn’t turn off in diseases.

Associate Professor Schroder will present the Merck Medal Lecture and be awarded her medal at the annual ASBMB conference in Perth later this year.