Professor Katherine Belov plays Devils' Advocate
Professor Katherine Belov attended PLC Sydney from 1985 - 1991 and is currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement), at the University of Sydney. She is also the President of the Genetics Society of Australasia.
In this position, she takes responsibility for managing the development and execution of the University’s global engagement strategy, with key priorities to develop the capacity of academic and professional staff to support international student learning and international research collaborations, as well as achieving educational excellence in the international arena. Professor Belov also promotes the University’s position in the international academic and research community and identifies and enables strategic opportunities for partnership and collaboration in research and education.
Professor Belov’s research is based in the Faculty of Veterinary Science, where her focus is on comparative genomics and immunogenetics of Australian wildlife. She and her team study Tasmanian devils, koalas, wallabies, platypuses and many other species. Her particular interest is the evolution of the adaptive immune systems in marsupial and monotreme immune genes. She is a specialist in the research on cancer which is devastating the Tasmanian devil population (facial tumour disease). She proposed that the problem was that devils lack major histocompatibility complex gene diversity and proved her hypothesis that devils do not mount an immune response to cancer because the tumour's genetic makeup is so similar to their own. Today she continues her research in identifying genes, not only for devils but for other native Australian species like platypi, skinks and wallabies.
Katherine has received many awards and honours for her work during her career, including two Eureka awards, the 2014 Ross Crozier Medal and the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal in Biology. In 2015 she was listed as one of the most influential University of Sydney people you should follow on Twitter.
Katherine was guest speaker at PLC Sydney's 2016 Speech Day and is one of our most revered alumni.
Image: Professor Katherine Belov specialises in research about cancer that is devastating the Tasmanian Devil population.