Katie Meehan

Dr, BSc Curtin, PhD W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M504), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 1315 Citations
  • 12 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Associate Professor Meehan is Head of the Cancer Biology Division within the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Western Australia. She graduated with a BSc (First Class Honours) from Curtin University in 1998, completed a PhD from UWA in 2002 and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Curtin University in 2015. Despite a non-linear career trajectory, she has ~8.5 years of national and international research and teaching experience in cancer biology and pathology. Dr Meehan has worked at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (Vancouver, Canada), University of Arizona (Tucson, USA) and Hudson Institute of Medical Research (Melbourne, Australia). Dr Meehan has published 37 papers in high quality journals and has secured over $1.8 million dollars as a chief investigator.

Dr Meehan’s current research program includes a number of projects including:

  • Mechanisms that facilitate the metastatic potential in oral carcinomas.

Co-lead: Dr Annette Lim, Medical Oncologist.

  • Investigation of the clinical potential of exosomes in disease monitoring of cancer progression, relapse and response to treatment for patients with head and neck cancer and breast cancer.

Co-lead: Dr Annette Lim, Medical Oncologist.

  • Development of improved HER2 testing in breast cancer.
  • Defining and Defeating Indigenous Disadvantage In Breast Cancer Survival.  

Co-lead: Dr Andrew Redfern, Medical Oncologist.

  • Unravelling the complexity of Carcinoma of Unknown Primary for better patient outcomes.

In addition to her undergraduate teaching duties (Cancer Pathology), Katie is currently supervising 5 PhD students, 1 master’s student and 3 honours students.

Roles and responsibilities

Leads a breast cancer research program and co-leads a head and neck cancer research program.

Head of Division

Graduate Research Co-ordinator

Honours Co-cordinator

NHMRC external reviewer


Funding overview

Past 5 years only


NH&MRC Equipment Grant, $33,500 (CI); ‘The iCelligence System’.

Cancer Council WA Project Grant, $100,000/1 yr (CIA); “Improved HER2 testing towards better breast cancer outcomes”.

Cancer Council WA Project Grant, $100,000/1 yr (CIB); “Improving Aboriginal Breast Cancer Outcomes”.

Cancer Council WA Collaborative Research Scheme, $50,000/1yr (CIA); “Defeating the Deficient in Aboriginal Breast Cancer Outcomes”.

Cancer Research Trust, $3,750,000/5 years (AI); “Enabling Advanced Single Cell Cancer Genomics in Western Australia”.


Cancer Council WA Collaborative Research Scheme, $50,000/1yr (CIB); “Understanding the Role of Melanoma Exosomes in Intercellular Communication”.


Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation Conjoint Grant, $330,000/3 years (Co-CI). “Assessing the prognostic value of mechanisms that facilitate the metastatic potential in oral carcinomas”.

Raine Priming Grant, $210,000/2 yrs (AI) – declined due to receipt of larger funding for the project.

Cancer Council WA Early Career Investigators Grant, $35,000/1yr (AI); “New blood based markers for monitoring and detecting oral cancers with a focus on premalignant transformation of disease”.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians GlaxoSmithKline Research Establishment Fellowship $50,000/1yr (CIB); “Mechanisms that facilitate metastatic potential in base of tongue carcinomas”.


Cancer Council WA Suzanne Cavanagh Early Career Investigator Grant, $25,000/1yr (CIA); “Sensitive blood-based monitoring of breast cancer”

University of Western Australia Ada Bartholomew Grant, $30,000/1yr (CIA); “Personalised Pathology for Breast Cancer Patients: Development of new biomarkers to improve patient outcome”

Previous positions

Senior Research Officer, Prince Henrys Institute for Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria.

Research Associate, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

Post-doctoral Fellow, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.

Teaching overview

PATH3309 Cancer Pathology

Graduate Research Co-ordinator


Honours Co-cordinator

Teaching in:
Path3301 Pathobiology of Human Disease
PATH3302 Human Oncobiology


  • Translational cancer research with an emphasis on precision medicine
    • Identification of liquid based (blood, saliva, pleural fluid etc) prognostic and predictive biomarkers for all cancers (especially breast cancer, head and neck cancer and melanoma) in response to a range of western and Chinese medicines.
  • Understand the role of exosomes in conferring drug resistance and immune regulation.
  • Comprehensively explore the biology of breast cancer in Aboriginal women.
  • Develop improved diagnostic testing for HER towards improving breast cancer outcomes.  
  • Genetic characterisation of carcinoma of unknown primary

Education/Academic qualification

Biostatistics, Graduate Certificate in Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Curtin University of Technology

Prostate Cancer, PhD, The University of Western Australia

Biomedical Science, Bachelor Deree, Curtin University of Technology

Research expertise keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Exosomes and cell free DNA analysis
  • in situ RNA assays
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proteomics
  • Next Generation Sequencing
  • Digital image analysis
  • Biostatistics and bioinformatics

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Research Output

  • 1315 Citations
  • 12 h-Index
  • 26 Article
  • 2 Review article
  • 1 Abstract/Meeting Abstract
  • 1 Doctoral Thesis

A comparative study of extracellular vesicle-associated and cell-free DNA and RNA for HPV detection in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Nguyen, B., Meehan, K., Pereira, M. R., Mirzai, B., Lim, S. H., Leslie, C., Clark, M., Sader, C., Friedland, P., Lindsay, A., Tang, C., Millward, M., Gray, E. S. & Lim, A. M., 1 Dec 2020, In : Scientific Reports. 10, 1, 6083.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast: assessment of proliferative activity using automated Ki-67 immunostaining

    Dessauvagie, B., Thomas, A., Thomas, C., Robinson, C., Combrink, M., Budhavaram, V., Kunjuraman, B., Meehan, K., Sterrett, G. & Harvey, J., 1 Dec 2019, In : Pathology. 51, 7, p. 681-687 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Laboratory validation studies in Ki-67 digital image analysis of breast carcinoma: a pathway to routine quality assurance

    Wang, M., Mclaren, S., Jeyathevan, R., Allanson, B. M., Ireland, A., Kang, A., Meehan, K., Thomas, C., Robinson, C., Combrinck, M., Harvey, J., Sterrett, G. & Dessauvagie, B., Apr 2019, In : Pathology. 51, 3, p. 246-252 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    The influence of hydration on the architectural rearrangement of normal and neoplastic human breast tissues

    Conceicao, A. L. C., Meehan, K., Antoniassi, M., Piacenti-Silva, M. & Poletti, M. E., Feb 2019, In : Heliyon. 5, 2, 13 p., 01219.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Tumor-Derived Extracellular Vesicles as a Novel Source of Protein Biomarkers for Cancer Diagnosis and Monitoring

    Ruhen, O. & Meehan, K., Jan 2019, In : Proteomics. 19, 1-2, 12 p., 1800155.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 9 Citations (Scopus)




    Katie Meehan

    30/07/13 → …