Cathy Rush is an Associate Professor, Immunology and member of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM).

Her principal research interest isunderstanding the immunological mechanisms underlying inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Our body's immune system protects us from severe infectious diseases, but if it becomes overactive it can drive diseases like inflammatory lung diseases , autoimmunity (e.g. Rheumatic Heart Disease) and type 2 diabetes. Although the triggers may be different, the same key immune cells and molecules are involved in all these conditions. An understanding of the basic principles, pathways and processes of our immune system is essential for devising strategies to fight infectious diseases or treat immune-mediated disorders.

Her research interests focus on this foundation: dissecting the immune mechanisms responsible for initiating and driving chronic inflammatory diseases and furthermore how these co-morbidities impair the body's efforts to combat severe bacterial diseases including tuberculosis (TB).

Her expertise in mechanistic immunology and use of pre-clinical models to investigate drivers and interventions for different immune-mediated and infectious diseases has been sought across several multidisciplinary research programs. Her interests in TB and expertise in infectious disease immunology strongly align with JCUs tropical health and medicine agenda of addressing the significant health security threats facing northern Australia.

  • BM1022: Physiological Systems and Processes 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • BM3000: Advanced Projects in Biomedicine (Level 3; TSV)
  • BM5000: Advanced Projects in Biomedicine (Level 5; TSV)
  • MD2011: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 1 of 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MI2021: Introductory Infectious Diseases and Immunobiology (Level 2; TSV)
  • MI3061: Advanced Immunobiology (Level 3; TSV)
  • MI5061: Advanced Immunology (Level 5; TSV)
  • ML3102: Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance (Level 3; TSV)
  • PC2206: Integrated Therapeutics 1 (Level 2; TSV)
  • PC2207: Integrated Therapeutics 1 (Level 2; TSV)
  • Immunological mechanisms responsible for initiating and driving the chronic inflammatory diseases , Type 2 Diabetes, RHD and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis
  • Co-morbidities associated with tuberculosis susceptibility and progression.
  • 2016 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2012 to 2015 - Senior Lecturer Immunology, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2009 to 2011 - Lecturer Immunology, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2006 to 2009 - Senior Research Scientist, Vascular Biology Unit, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2000 to 2006 - Post-doctoral scientist, University of Glasgow (Glasgow, UK)
  • 1997 to 2000 - Post-doctoral scientist, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK)
  • 1994 to 1996 - Post-doctoral scientist, University of Siena (Siena, Italy)
Research Disciplines
  • 2016, AITHM Capacity Building Grant, Tuberculosis in rural PNG: T cell biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring treatment, $53,000.
  • 2012-2015, NHMRC Project Grant (1026753), "Development of apreventive strategy for Rheumatic Heart Disease using an experimental model", $358,712, N Ketheesan & C Rush.
  • 2012, James Cook University, Faculty Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, N Ketheesan, C Rush & B Govan.
  • 2009-11, NHMRC Project Grant (540405), “Angiopoietin-2, aortic inflammation and cardiovascular events”, $319,250, J Golledge, C Rush, PE Norman, J Ott.
  • 2009-13, NHMRC Project Grant (540404), “Association between obesity, transforming growth factor beta, thrombospondin and small abdominal aortic aneurysm progression”, $487,500, J Golledge, PE Norman, C Rush, PJ Walker, R Dalman, J Ott.
  • 2016, JCU Development Grant, Immunotherapy for Rheumatic Heart Disease, $48,795
  • 2013, Advisor of the Year Awards, Advisory Panel of the Year Award with N Ketheesan and J Morris
  • 2016, Advisor of the Year Awards, HDR Advisor Special Recognition Award
  • 2012-2013, Pathology Queensland Scientific Services Study, Education and Research Trust Fund (SERTF), “Novel Immunomodulatory Strategies for the Management of Sepsis”, $69, 450, R. Norton, S. Simpson, N. Ketheesan, C. Rush, J. Morris, B. Govan
  • 2009-11, NHMRC Project Grant (540403), “Role of the tissue kallikrein-kinin system in abdominal aortic aneurysm formation and progression”, $439,745, J Golledge, C Rush, PE Norman, H Korner, J Ott, L Gera.
  • 2007-2009, The Townsville Hospital - Private Practice Fund Project grant, “Role of progenitor cells in aortic calcification”, $50,000, J Golledge, C Rush.
  • Honorary Research Fellow, University of Glasgow
  • Australian Cardiovascular Alliance
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology
  • Lung Foundation Australia
  • Australasian Society for Immunology
  • British Society for Immunology

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 79+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Catherine Rush from 1994 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australasian Mycological Society - Research Awards

Glutathione biosynthesis in the amphibian fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Indicative Funding
$3,000 over 1 year
What makes a successful fungal pathogen? In this project we aim to determine the role of glutathione in fungal pathogenesis. In doing so we will develop and optimise gene knockdown protocols, which can be used more broadly to assess other virulence factors. Specifically, we will: 1: Explore glutathione biosynthesis in virulent and less- virulent strains of Bd, both in vitro and in vivo. 2: Characterise the role of glutathione in pathogenesis using knockdown techniques.
Rebecca Webb, Catherine Rush and Alexandra Roberts in collaboration with Lee Berger and Lee Skerratt (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Glutathione biosynthesis; Pathogensis; Chytrid Fungus

National Health & Medical Research Council - Northern Australia Tropical Disease Collaborative Research Programme

HOT NORTH - Pilot Project - Round 4 - Cooking smoke and indoor air pollution : Impaired immunity to Tuberculosis at Australian's northern border?

Indicative Funding
$35,000 over 2 years (administered by Menzies School of Health Research)
Middle Fly region of PNG has very high rates of TB and pre-existing lung disease may play a significant role in the acquisition and development of TB disease. Our study will determine the burden and characteristics of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and investigate the resultant lung immune response defects in this community. In doing so we will build local capacity in lung function testing and laboratory analysis and optimise a pipeline of sample analysis of lung immune responses from PNG to JCU, Townsville. Such information will complement existing TB programmes in South Fly region of the Western Province.
Catherine Rush and Jeffrey Warner in collaboration with John McBride, Gary Nolan, Jerry Minei and Anna Ralph (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, College of Medicine & Dentistry, Townsville Hospital and Health Service and Menzies School of Health Research)
COPD; Papua New Guinea; Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; T-cell immunity

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • The Role of Oxidative Stress in Driving the Evolution of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Gastrointestinal parasites, Tuberculosis co-infection and immune status in a Tuberculosis endemic community in remote Papua New Guinea (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Investigating the Impact of Neuromuscular Fatigue and Exercise Induced Muscle Damage on Motor Skills (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Reducing Virulence of Fungal Pathogens using Genetics Tools (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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