• The University of Western Australia (M582), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from PlumX

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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

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

Award Date: 31 Dec 2015

Prostate Cancer, PhD, Characterisation of early stage markers of prostate cancer, The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 30 Apr 2002

Biomedical Science, Bachelor Deree, Bachelor of Medical Science (with distinction and first class honours), Curtin University

Award Date: 31 Dec 1999

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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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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