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Personal profile


Kate completed her PhD on immunopeptidomics at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of A/Prof Nicholas Williamson and Prof Anthony Purcell, graduating in July 2018. During her PhD she published a paper based on her early work using HLA peptide purification and analysis by mass spectrometry (Scull, K.E. et al. Secreted HLA recapitulates the immunopeptidome and allows in-depth coverage of HLA A*02:01 ligands. Mol. Immunol. 51, 136-142 (2012)). She then transitioned from wet lab work to proteomic bioinformatics for the latter part of her PhD.

She currently works in Monash University's Immunoproteomics Laboratory led by Prof Purcell, which is part of the Infection and Immunity Program of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. She writes computer programs primarily in C and Java to assist with analysis of mass spectrometric immunopeptidomics datasets. These data present unique challenges for discovery-focussed peptide identification due to the complex and unusual nature of the immunopeptidome, which renders a conventional proteomics analysis insufficient (arguably, even inappropriate). Yet, the presentation of peptides by HLA for surveillance by cells of the immune system plays a pivotal role in health and disease, and a better understanding will provide insights which may yield benefits such as treatments and vaccines in infection, cancer and autoimmune contexts. Therefore, for example, Kate is working on an 'immunopeptidogenomics' computational pipeline/workflow, which aims to allow more routine discovery of peptides derived from unusual RNA translation.

She also works on website design projects, including one which aims to make the Purcell lab's large stores of experimental data more accessible and searchable, to help extract the most value from it. For these projects she has become familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, Java servlets, JSP, JSTL and EL (deployed with Apache Tomcat), among other handy tools.

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 27 Jul 2018

Arts, Bachelor, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 14 Mar 2009

Science, Bachelor (Honours), University of Melbourne

Award Date: 14 Mar 2009

Research area keywords

  • Human Leukocyte Antigen
  • Immunopeptidomics
  • Bioinformatics