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Dr Katrina Binger Lecturer, Biochemistry

Dr. Katrina Binger is a Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics. She completed her biochemical PhD training in protein chemistry and biophysics in 2009, before changing research fields to undertake postdoctoral positions investigating chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and inflammation. In 2012 she was awarded a prestigious NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship to continue her research at the Max-Delbruck Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. Here, she demonstrated that high dietary salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) has diverse effects on the activation of macrophages: pro-inflammatory "M1" responses were increased by high salt, while anti-inflammatory "M2" mechanisms were suppressed (Binger et al JCI 2015; Jantsch et al Cell Metab 2015). This work provided evidence that high dietary salt may lead to an overall imbalance in immune homeostasis. Since returning to Australia, Dr. Binger has been establishing an independent, collaborative and multidisciplinary scientific program to investigate the metabolic programming of immune cells. Dr. Binger's research uses animal models of disease combined with primary in vitro cell cultures in 2D and 3D, together with expert analyses of cellular metabolism including Seahorse Extracellular Flux assays, biochemical assays, and metabolomics approaches (GC- and LC-MS) to uncover perturbations in specific metabolic pathways. Overall, Dr. Binger's research aims to enhance knowledge of the fundamental biology of immunometabolism, with impact and relevance to clinical settings of infection, inflammation, diabetes and hypertension.

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