Dr Michelle McDonald
Dr Michelle McDonald’s research careers spans over 14 years, attaining her PhD in 2008, she is currently Group Leader of the Bone Microenvironment Group at The Garvan Institute. Through the development of a novel intravital imaging technique her research has allowed, for the first time, visualisation and fate tracking of dormant and actively growing tumour cells within bone, as well as visualisation of bone cells in real time. In addition to revealing previously unappreciated dynamics in bone cell biology, these studies have revealed control of tumour cell behaviour by bone cells; demonstrating local control of tumour processes including long-term dormancy, chemo-resistance, and deadly disease relapse. Combined with her extensive experience using therapeutic agents to modulate bone cell activity in vivo, her group is working to define how these agents can be repurposed to prevent tumour-induced bone destruction and, more importantly, prevention of tumour growth through regulating the bone micro-environment. This work has recently attracted a number of awards, and grants and spans collaborations with academic and industry partners internationally.