Dr Kate Poole received her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2002 before moving to Germany to undertake postdoctoral studies. Whilst in Germany Kate worked at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and the Technische Universitaet Dresden. Kate then spent a couple of years working in industry for the atomic force microscopy company JPK Instruments, AG. In 2008 Kate returned to science, taking a postdoctoral position at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine. In 2012, Kate received the Cecile Vogt Fellowship which allowed her to establish her research independance, also at the Max Delbruck Center. Kate has recently returned from Germany to join the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, as a lecturer. Her research interests revolve around understanding how cells sense their physical environment.
The sensing of and discrimination between different physical inputs is critical in the function of many cells and tissues in multicellular organisms; an acute response to mechanical stimuli underpins our senses of touch and hearing, integrated sensing of changing mechanical loads is fundamental for maintaining cartilage and the vasculature, and migratory cells (such as fibroblasts in wound healing or tumour cells during metastasis) can probe the mechanical properties of their surroundings by applying forces at cell-matrix contact points. Kate is studying the molecular mechanisms of cellular sensing of physical stimuli across a number of mammalian systems: in touch sensation in the somatic sensory system, the homeostatic maintenance of cartilage and in melanoma progression and metastasis.