About

Cathy Rush is a Senior Lecturer and immunologist and  member of the Infectious Diseases and Immunopathogenesis Research Group (IDIRG),  the Vascular Biology Unit (VBU) and 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 Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), or inflammatory lung diseases: 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 (RHD, AAA, Type 2 Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and furthermore how chronic inflammatory diseases impair the body's efforts to combat severe bacterial diseases including melioidosis and 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 RHD and 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.

Teaching
  • BM1022: Physiological Systems and Processes 2 (Level 1; CNS & 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)
  • MI3061: Advanced Immunobiology (Level 3; TSV)
  • MI5061: Advanced Immunology (Level 5; TSV)
  • ML3102: Laboratory Management and Quality Assurance (Level 3; TSV)
  • ML4301: Clinical Biochemistry 1 (Level 4; TSV)
  • ML4302: Clinical Biochemistry 2 (Level 4; TSV)
  • ML4305: Immunohaematology (Level 4; TSV)
  • PC2201: Infectious Diseases and Immunology for Pharmacists (Level 2; TSV)
  • PP3201: Contemporary Research in Physiology (Level 3; TSV)
  • PP5201: Contemporary Research in Physiology (Level 5; TSV)
  • TV2002: Integrated Animal Structure and Function 2 (Level 2; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Immunological mechanisms responsible for initiating and driving the chronic inflammatory diseases Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), Type 2 Diabetes and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA
  • Host-pathogen interactions and leucocyte biology in melioidosis and tuberculosis
Experience
  • 2012 to present - 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
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2012, James Cook University, Faculty Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, N Ketheesan, C Rush & B Govan.
  • 2007-2009, The Townsville Hospital - Private Practice Fund Project grant, “Role of progenitor cells in aortic calcification”, $50,000, J Golledge, C Rush.
  • 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.
  • 2013, Advisor of the Year Awards, Advisory Panel of the Year Award with N Ketheesan and J Morris
  • 2016, JCU Development Grant, Immunotherapy for Rheumatic Heart Disease, $48,795
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
Fellowships
  • Honorary Research Fellow, University of Glasgow
Memberships
  • Australian Cardiovascular Alliance
  • British Society for Immunology
  • Lung Foundation Australia
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology
  • Australasian Society for Immunology
Publications

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 63+ 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.

NHMRC - Project Grant

Development of a preventive strategy for rheumatic heart disease using an experimental model

Indicative Funding
$358,712 over 3 years
Summary
Based on animal studies, we aim to demonstrate that the worsening of heart damage seen in patients with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is due to repeated infections with bacteria (group A streptococci: GAS). The heart damage is caused by continual immune damage to the heart and valves and this has adverse effects on heart function. We will also investigate a novel way to prevent the development of RHD.
Investigators
Ketheesan, Catherine Rush, David McMillan, Louis Schoefield and Madeleine Cunningham in collaboration with Davina Gorton, Lisa Chilton and Jacinta Elston (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Keywords
Rheumatic Diseases; Animal model; Immunopathology; Cardiovascular; Disease Prevention; Infectious diseases

NHMRC - Project Grant

Interaction between parathyroid hormone, sclerostin and the wingless pathway in abdominal aortic aneurysm

Indicative Funding
$698,300 over 5 years
Summary
Approximately 5% of men and 1% of women aged over 60 years develop weakening of the main abdominal artery. Currently the management of artery weakening is focused on surgery with no effective medications available. In this study we will assess the role of a novel pathway in artery weakening. Improved understanding of the mechanisms causing artery degeneration is crucial to target the development of better ways to treat this common problem.
Investigators
Jonathan Golledge, Paul Norman, Catherine Rush, Phillip Walker, Craig Jeffrey, Reinhold Muller, Anthony Dear, Timothy Buckenham and Gabby Loots (College of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Queensland, Monash University, Christchurch Hospital and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
Keywords
Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Pathogenesis; Therapy; Patient management; Peripheral vascular disease; Cardiovascular Diseases
Supervision

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.

Current
  • The Association and Predictive Value of Circulating Leucocytes with Cardovascular Outcomes in Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Determination of the Role of Group G Strep in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatic Heart Disease Using a Rat Model of RF/RHD. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Mechanisms Driving Tuberculosis Susceptibility and Vaccine Efficacy in Type-2-Diabetes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Characterisation of Immune Responses to Mycobacterial Infections in a Murine Model of Type 2 Diabetes. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

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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Email
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Location
  • 87.032, Veterinary & Biomedical Science (Townsville campus)
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