Katie Meehan

Dr, BSc Curtin, PhD W.Aust.

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

    6009 Perth


  • 536 Citations
  • 12 h-Index
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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


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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2019

Research Output 1999 2018

  • 536 Citations
  • 12 h-Index
  • 21 Article
  • 1 Abstract/Meeting Abstract
  • 1 Review article

Automated enumeration of lymphoid and plasma cells in bone marrow to establish normal reference ranges

Liang, J., Malherbe, J. A. J., Fuller, K. A., Mirzai, B., George, C., Carter, T. L., Cole, C. H., Guo, B. B., Meehan, K. & Erber, W. N., 1 Oct 2018, In : Journal of Clinical Pathology. 71, 10, p. 916-925 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Plasma Cells
Reference Values
Bone Marrow
1 Citations
Open Access
Molecular Biology
1 Citations

Interobserver variation in the diagnosis of fibroepithelial lesions of the breast: A multicentre audit by digital pathology

Dessauvagie, B. F., Lee, A. H. S., Meehan, K., Nijhawan, A., Tan, P. H., Thomas, J., Tie, B., Treanor, D., Umar, S., Hanby, A. M. & Millican-Slater, R., 1 Aug 2018, In : Journal of Clinical Pathology. 71, 8, p. 672-679 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Large-Core Needle Biopsy
Observer Variation
Phyllodes Tumor

Detection of therapeutic targets in carcinomas of unknown primary

Clynick, B., Dessauvagie, B., Strerrett, G., Harvey, N., Subramaniam, S., Herron, J., Allcock, R., Guo, B., Saunder, C., Erber, W. & Meehan, K., Sep 2017, In : Annals of Oncology. 28, 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract/Meeting Abstract

3 Citations

HER2 mRNA transcript quantitation in breast cancer

Meehan, K., Clynick, B., Mirzai, B., Maslen, P., Harvey, J. & Erber, W. N., 11 Nov 2016, In : Clinical and Translational Oncology. p. 606-615 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Breast Neoplasms
Messenger RNA
Polymerase Chain Reaction



Katie Meehan

30/07/13 → …

Teaching unit (UWA): Course