Dr Kate Michie

Image of Dr Kate Michie

Senior Lecturer (BABS)

Category: Academic Staff
Research profile: Click to view



Dr Kate Michie is Chief Scientist of the  Structural Biology Facility (MWAC) and a Senior lecturer in BABS. She is a molecular biologist/biochemist with special interests in structural biology. Kate completed her doctoral degree at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Dr Liz Harry and Professor Gerry Wake, working in the field of bacterial cell division. (For work completed during this time see JBact and Mol Micro).

In 2005 she received a L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship and spent the next five years working with Jan Löwe at the MRC LMB in Cambridge, UK. She carried out research into the structure and function of Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) complexes and how they exert molecular control over the topological and spatial organization of chromosomes (see EMBO J). In 2006 she received a Marie Curie Incoming Postdoctoral Fellowship and continued working on SMC proteins and within the bacterial cell division field. During this time in Cambridge she published a number first author papers (including Ann. Rev. Biochem, Mol. Cell, and PloS one) and contributed significantly to work published in PNAS and Nature .

She returned to science in Australia in 2012, working with Professor Jill Trewhella and Professor Mitchell Guss at the University of Sydney. In this role she worked on Myosin Binding protein C (see Structure and Structure).

In 2015 Kate joined UNSW as a Senior Research Associate working with Professor Paul Curmi working on light harvesting proteins (see Nature Communications) and the Ezrin family of proteins ( see IJMS and Biophys. Rev.)

In 2019 Kate established the Structural Biology Facility (SBF) with MWAC at UNSW (https://www.analytical.unsw.edu.au/facilities/sbf).



Professional Experience

Senior Lecturer 2022

Adjunct Lecturer (BABS) (2021-)

Chief Scientist SBF, MWAC UNSW. (2019-)

Senior Research Associate, School of Physics, UNSW. (2015-2019)

Senior Postdoctoral Scientist, School of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Sydney (2012-2015)

MRC Investigator Scientist, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.(2008-2010)

Marie Curie International Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. Funded by 6th European Commission Framework (2006-2008)

UNESCO L'OREAL International Fellow for Young Women in Life Sciences MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Supervisor–Dr Jan Löwe. Funded by UNESCO and L’Oreal. (2005)

Postdoctoral Scientist, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. Supervisor–Dr Liz Harry and Professor Gerry Wake. (2004)


Professional Activities


  • Chairman of the Sydney Protein Group (Nov 2021-current)
  • Greater Sydney CAP Leader for Synchrotron beam time at the Australian Synchrotron (Sept 2021- current).
  • Set-up and runs UNSW Structural Biology Facility. This includes a number of biophysical analysis instruments, a number of robotic liquid handlers and an X-ray diffractometer since 2019
  • NSW Cryo EM Users Group Meeting co-organiser  and Chair (with Dr Nick Ariotti)  G37, F10 Chemical Sciences Building, UNSW,     Thursday 28th February 2019.
  • Interactive Science Expo Session presenter, UNSW, November 28th 2019, Wallace Wurth Building 
  • Structural Biology Session organizer and presenter, Sensory Scientific Exhibition & Discovery Day, UNSW, December 11th 2018, Wallace Wurth Building
  • Invited Chair for Integrative Structural Biology Symposium, Combio 2018, Sydney
  • Organizational Committee member, Australian Society of Biophysics Meeting, UTS.
  • Organiser and chair of Cryo EM Australian Society of Biophysics Workshop, UTS, 2017
  • NSW ASBMB State Representative (Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) (2015-2017)


My Research Activities

We want to understand how biology uses proteins to control the shape of membranes. In particular we focus on the proteins essential to the processes of cell division and building cell surface structures such as villi and vesicles. The proteins involved in these processes interact with themselves and with the membrane to bend and shape it, and to tether other proteins to it. The types of proteins involved arise in all the domains of life— archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes, and, maybe not surprisingly, are often carried out by related proteins.

We focus on understanding structurally the proteins that carry out these tasks. We use X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and a range of protein and biophysical experiments to probe our targets.



  • Dynamin-like Proteins in Bacteria

  • Tubulin-like proteins in Bacteria and Archaea (collaboration with Dr Brendan Burns)

  • Ezrin/Moesin and Merlin and the membrane in humans (Jointly supervised with Prof Curmi)

  • Understanding mutations in clinical setting (collaboration with Dr Emily Oates)

  • Alphafold2- implementation and it's roles in integrative structural biology



Book Chapters

Michie K; Goodchild S; Curmi P, 2018, 'MSN (Moesin)', in Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules, Springer Nature, pp. 3232 - 3238, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_101770
Michie KA; Goodchild SC; Curmi PMG, 2016, 'MSN (Moesin)', in Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules, Springer New York, pp. 1 - 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6438-9_101770-1
View more
Michie KA, 2008, 'Molecular Components of the Bacterial Cytoskeleton', in Bacterial Physiology, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 43 - 71, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-74921-9_2

Conference Papers

Kiekebusch D; Michie KA; Essen L-O; Loewe J; Thanbichler M, 2012, 'Generation of a protein gradient within a bacterial cell by the cell division regulator MipZ.', in MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000209348605049&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
Gorrec F; Perisic O; Michie K; Schertler G; Lowe J, 2009, 'Protein Crystallization: Robotics, Procedures and Developments', in ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA A-FOUNDATION AND ADVANCES, INT UNION CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, pp. S158 - S159, http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0108767309096779
Gorrec FPM; Perisic O; Michie K; Schertler G; Lowe J, 2008, 'Protein crystallization at the laboratory of molecular biology: Robotics, procedures and developments', in ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA A-FOUNDATION AND ADVANCES, INT UNION CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, pp. C200 - C200, http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0108767308093598

Journal articles

Mediati DG; Dan W; Lalaouna D; Dinh H; Pokhrel A; Rowell KN; Michie KA; Stinear TP; Cain AK; Tree JJ, 2024, 'The 3′ UTR of vigR is required for virulence in Staphylococcus aureus and has expanded through STAR sequence repeat insertions', Cell Reports, 43, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2024.114082
Islam MI; Ridone P; Lin A; Michie KA; Matzke NJ; Hochberg G; Baker MAB, 2023, 'Ancestral reconstruction of the MotA stator subunit reveals that conserved residues far from the pore are required to drive flagellar motility.', Microlife, 4, pp. uqad011, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsml/uqad011
Rathbone HW; Laos AJ; Michie KA; Iranmanesh H; Biazik J; Goodchild SC; Thordarson P; Green BR; Curmi PMG, 2023, 'Molecular dissection of the soluble photosynthetic antenna from the cryptophyte alga Hemiselmis andersenii', Communications Biology, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-023-05508-4
Michie KA; Harrop SJ; Rathbone HW; Wilk KE; Teng CY; Hoef-Emden K; Hiller RG; Green BR; Curmi PMG, 2023, 'Molecular structures reveal the origin of spectral variation in cryptophyte light harvesting antenna proteins', Protein Science, 32, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pro.4586
Ford BA; Michie KA; Paulsen IT; Mabbutt BC; Shah BS, 2022, 'Novel functional insights into a modified sugar-binding protein from Synechococcus MITS9220', Scientific Reports, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-08459-8
Ismail MH; Michie KA; Goh YF; Noorian P; Kjelleberg S; Duggin IG; McDougald D; Rice SA, 2021, 'The repressor c protein, pf4r, controls superinfection of pseudomonas aeruginosa pao1 by the pf4 filamentous phage and regulates host gene expression', Viruses, 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v13081614
Rathbone HW; Michie KA; Landsberg MJ; Green BR; Curmi PMG, 2021, 'Scaffolding proteins guide the evolution of algal light harvesting antennas', Nature Communications, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22128-w
Michie KA; Bermeister A; Robertson NO; Goodchild SC; Curmi PMG, 2019, 'Two Sides of the Coin: Ezrin/Radixin/Moesin and Merlin Control Membrane Structure and Contact Inhibition', International journal of molecular sciences, 20, pp. 1996, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081996
Rathbone HW; Davis JA; Michie KA; Goodchild SC; Robertson NO; Curmi PMG, 2018, 'Coherent phenomena in photosynthetic light harvesting: part one—theory and spectroscopy', Biophysical Reviews, 10, pp. 1427 - 1441, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12551-018-0451-2
Rathbone HW; Davis JA; Michie KA; Goodchild SC; Robertson NO; Curmi PMG, 2018, 'Coherent phenomena in photosynthetic light harvesting: part two—observations in biological systems', Biophysical Reviews, 10, pp. 1443 - 1463, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12551-018-0456-x
Michie KA; Kwan AH; Tung CS; Guss JM; Trewhella J, 2016, 'A Highly Conserved Yet Flexible Linker Is Part of a Polymorphic Protein-Binding Domain in Myosin-Binding Protein C', Structure, 24, pp. 2000 - 2007, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2016.08.018
Nadvi NA; Michie KA; Kwan AH; Guss JM; Trewhella J, 2016, 'Clinically Linked Mutations in the Central Domains of Cardiac Myosin-Binding Protein C with Distinct Phenotypes Show Differential Structural Effects', Structure, 24, pp. 105 - 115, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2015.11.001
Duggin IG; Aylett CHS; Walsh JC; Michie KA; Wang Q; Turnbull L; Dawson EM; Harry EJ; Whitchurch CB; Amos LA; Löwe J, 2015, 'CetZ tubulin-like proteins control archaeal cell shape', Nature, 519, pp. 362 - 365, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13983
Michie KA; Boysen A; Low HH; Møller-Jensen J; Löwe J, 2014, 'LeoA, B and C from Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are bacterial dynamins', PLoS ONE, 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107211
Kiekebusch D; Michie KA; Essen LO; Löwe J; Thanbichler M, 2012, 'Localized Dimerization and Nucleoid Binding Drive Gradient Formation by the Bacterial Cell Division Inhibitor MipZ', Molecular Cell, 46, pp. 245 - 259, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2012.03.004
Kurze A; Michie KA; Dixon SE; Mishra A; Itoh T; Khalid S; Strmecki L; Shirahige K; Haering CH; Löwe J; Nasmyth K, 2011, 'A positively charged channel within the Smc1/Smc3 hinge required for sister chromatid cohesion', EMBO Journal, 30, pp. 364 - 378, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2010.315
Aylett CHS; Wang Q; Michie KA; Amos LA; Löwe J, 2010, 'Filament structure of bacterial tubulin homologue TubZ', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, pp. 19766 - 19771, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1010176107
Michie KA; Monahan LG; Beech PL; Harry EJ, 2006, 'Trapping of a spiral-like intermediate of the bacterial cytokinetic protein FtsZ', Journal of Bacteriology, 188, pp. 1680 - 1690, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.188.5.1680-1690.2006
Michie KA; Löwe J, 2006, 'Dynamic filaments of the bacterial cytoskeleton', Annual Review of Biochemistry, 75, pp. 467 - 492, http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.biochem.75.103004.142452
Robson SA; Michie KA; Mackay JP; Harry E; King GF, 2002, 'The Bacillus subtilis cell division proteins FtsL and DivIC are intrinsically unstable and do not interact with one another in the absence of other septasomal components', Molecular Microbiology, 44, pp. 663 - 674, http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2958.2002.02920.x


Rathbone H; Laos A; Michie K; Iranmanesh H; Biazik J; Goodchild S; Thordarson P; Green B; Curmi P, 2023, Molecular dissection of the soluble photosynthetic antenna from a cryptophyte alga, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2023.08.08.552318
Sayers C; Pandey V; Balakrishnan A; Michie K; Svedberg D; Hunziker M; Calvo MP; Choudhary J; Berntsson R; Billker O, 2023, Systematic screens for fertility genes essential for malaria parasite transmission reveal conserved aspects of sex in a divergent eukaryote, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2023.12.25.572958
Islam MI; Ridone P; Lin A; Michie K; Matzke N; Hochberg G; Baker MAB, 2022, Ancestral reconstruction of the MotA stator subunit reveals that conserved residues far from the pore are required to drive flagellar motility, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.10.17.512626
Michie KA; Harrop SJ; Rathbone HW; Wilk KE; Teng CY; Hoef-Emden K; Hiller RG; Green BR; Curmi PMG, Molecular Structures Reveal the Origin of Spectral Variation in Cryptophyte Light Harvesting Antenna Proteins, , http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4258944
View less