Associate Professor Kate Sutherland

Associate Professor Kate Sutherland



Photo of Associate Professor Kate Sutherland


Associate Professor

BSc (Hons) PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head

Lab focus: Tumour heterogeneity in lung cancer

My research laboratory is dedicated to understanding what factors influence heterogeneity in lung cancer with the aim of designing precision medicine approaches for patients.

Our ultimate aim is to directly translate our research findings into the clinic. To this end, we have generated valuable preclinical models to evaluate novel treatment strategies for lung adenocarcinoma and small cell lung cancer patients.

Research interest

My laboratory generates preclinical models of lung cancer and employs diverse disciplines such as molecular biology, clinical oncology, immunology and metabolomics to prioritise clinically relevant questions.

One major interest is the development of novel preclinical models that closely resemble human lung cancer. Genetic alterations found in human lung cancer patients can be replicated in our models using Cre-LoxP recombination and CRISPR/Cas9 technology. We also have the ability to direct cancer-associated mutations to specific lung epithelial cell populations, which enables us to interrogate potential cells-of-origin.

Through flow cytometric studies we have developed methods to interrogate the immune microenvironment of lung cancer. We are interested in understanding mechanisms of immunosurveillance with the aim of exploiting this knowledge to harness the immune system to treat lung cancer.

We are also interested in tumour heterogeneity and how this heterogeneity influences metastatic dissemination in lung cancer. We have developed sophisticated preclinical models that mimic the metastatic behaviour of the human disease. Current efforts are focused on testing novel treatment strategies to control cancer spread.

Two female scientists in a laboratory

Dr Sarah Best and Dr Kate Sutherland have discovered distinctive characteristics in some lung cancers that could lead to personalised therapies.

Two female scientists in the lab, looking at specimen tubes

Dr Kate Sutherland and Dr Sarah Best have revealed a unique molecular signature in the blood that could be used to detect aggressive lung cancers with a simple blood test.