Professor Kate Schroder heads IMB’s Inflammasome Laboratory, which she set up in 2013. It was a return home for her, having completed her PhD at IMB in 2005, before moving to Switzerland to work with a famous Swiss immunologist.
It was when working under Professor Jürg Tschopp that she became hooked on the biology of inflammasomes – inflammation-generating molecular machines that trigger immune cells to respond to an infection or injury.
She is unravelling the secrets of these protein complexes. The work is paying off, with potential new therapies about to be rolled out in clinical trials through a startup company based in part on Professor Schroder’s research.
The company, Inflazome Ltd, attracted one of the largest investments in Australian university intellectual property when it raised A$22 million in its first round of funding and A$63 million in its second round recently.
The capital is being used to develop compounds that are designed to switch off the inflammasome – to turn off unhealthy inflammation in disease.
This could be a gamechanger in treating inflammatory diseases – those associated with the innate immune system – which include many human diseases, such as gout, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and cancers.
The link between inflammasomes and autoimmune diseases is much less clear than that between inflammasomes and inflammatory diseases.
“Inflazome is advancing the compounds with the aim of developing new treatments for inflammatory disease where there are significant unmet needs, such as Parkinson’s disease,” Professor Schroder says.
Find out more about Kate's work at the Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research.