Dr Kelly McKelvey is the Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer HMRI Fellow which is funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation. Currently, she is based at the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory at The University of Sydney Northern Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, and the Northern Sydney Local Health District (Kolling Institute).

On joining the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Group in May 2017, Dr McKelvey is establishing a research program to understand the radiobiology of cancer and inflammation. Dr McKelvey, as the Sydney Vital Flagship 1 Inflammation and Cancer Fellow and Irradiation Manager for the Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP), it is her role to develop a preclinical research theme that will advance knowledge of therapy for brain cancer and advise the medical community.

Kelly was employed at the Post-doctoral Research Fellow on the successful GNT 1066606 NHMRC Project Grant (2014-2017) to develop a new murine model of immune-mediated fetal growth restriction and examine the efficacy of a novel therapeutic agent to modulate the maternal immune system. Furthermore, this mouse model was published and won the MediKane Oral Prize presentation at New Horizons conference.

An early-career researcher (PhD awarded September 2010) with 11 years’ experience in small animal models and inflammation, her career in immunology has spanned a range of disease settings from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, wound healing, arthritis, pregnancy, and more recently brain cancer.


Research Interests

Kelly’s work explores the interactions between brain cancer cells and the patients defence force (or immune system), during brain cancer development and following chemo – and/or radiation therapy.

In 2014, 1710 brain cancers were diagnosed in Australia and while survival rates for most cancers continue to improve in Australia, brain cancers aren’t seeing the same success. The average survival time for a patient with brain cancer remains 10-14 months. It is recognised that the patient immune system supports brain cancer growth and relapse. Following therapy (chemo or radiation) the immune system also contributes to side effects and poorer patient outcomes. However, the specific mechanisms are poorly understood.

Dr McKelvey’s research offers a more comprehensive understanding of the interactions of cancer and patient inflammatory systems during cancer growth and treatment, especially radiotherapy. Her research is working towards early diagnosis, achieve bran cancer remission and alleviate the detrimental systemic inflammatory response which results in poorer patient outcomes.

Project Grants

Sydney Vital Seed Funding 2017

Sydney Vital 2017

The Brain Cancer Group Research Grant – “Investigating Inflammation and Coagulation in Brain Cancer”

Sydney Neuro-Oncology Grant 2017

Ramsay Research and Teaching Fund – “Working Towards A New Therapy For The Prevention Of Fetal Growth Restriction and Pregnancy Loss”

Ramsay Health Care 2015

Equipment Grants

Leica Eclipse Ci-L Upright Light Microscope with DS-Fi3 digital camera and DS-U3 Control Unit

North Shore Arthritis Fund 2013

AutoMACS Magnetic Cell Seperator

North Shore Arthritis Fund 2012

Year Award/ Honour Institution
2018 – 2020 Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer HMRI Fellowship – “Combination therapy to combat cancer” Mark Hughes Foundation
2018 Association of Radiation Research 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 24-27th June 2018 Sydney Vital
2017 – 2018 The Brain Cancer Group Group / Sydney Vital Flagship 1 Fellowship – “Inflammation: A roadblock to response and recovery in Brain Cancer” TBCG & Sydney Vital
2017 Sydney Vital Seed Funding Sydney Vital
2017 The Brain Cancer Group  Research Grant – “Investigating Inflammation and Coagulation in Brain Cancer” Sydney Neuro-Oncology Grant
2015 Ramsay Research and Teaching Fund – “Working Towards A New Therapy For The Prevention Of Fetal Growth Restriction And Pregnancy Loss” Ramsay Health Care
2017 Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) on 13-15th November 2017 at the International Convention Centre, Sydney Sydney Vital
2017 Co-operative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) on 23-24th October 2017 at Rydges Hotel Melbourne Sydney Vital
2015 MediKane Oral Presentation Prize – New Horizons 2015 Combined Health Science Conference MediKane Pty Ltd
2013 Best Basic Science Poster Australia Rheumatology Association
2013 Beryl and Jack Jacobs Australasian Travel Award Royal North Shore Hospital
2012 Kolling Institute Domestic Travel Fellowship Kolling Institue
2012 Ramsay Health Care Australasian Travel Fellowship Ramsay Health Care
2012 Janssen Conjoint Conference Early Career Researcher Oral Prize Combined Australasian Wound and Tissue Repair Society and Australian Dermatology Society
2011 – 2014 Ulysess Club Inc Arthritis Research Fellowship – “On PAR with Rheumatoid Arthritis” Ulysess Club Inc Arthritis Fund
2007 – 2010 Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand

Lappas, M., McCracken, S., McKelvey, K., Lim, R., James, J., Roberts, C., Fournier, T., Alfaidy, N., Powell, K., Borg, A., Morris, J., et al (2018). Formyl peptide receptor-2 is decreased in fetal growth restriction and contributes to placental dysfunction. Molecular Human Reproduction, 24(2), 94-109. [More Information]

Nguyen, T., McKelvey, K., March, L., Hunter, D., Xue, M., Jackson, C., Morris, J. (2016). Aberrant levels of natural IgM antibodies in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients in comparison to healthy controls. Immunology Letters, 170, 27-36. [More Information]

McKelvey, K., Yenson, V., Ashton, A., Morris, J., McCracken, S. (2016). Embryonic/fetal mortality and intrauterine growth restriction is not exclusive to the CBA/J sub-strain in the CBA � DBA model. Scientific Reports, 6, 1-11. [More Information]

McKelvey, K., Powell, K., Ashton, A., Morris, J., McCracken, S. (2015). Exosomes: Mechanisms of Uptake. Journal of Circulating Biomarkers, 4(7), 1-9. [More Information]

Whitmont, K., McKelvey, K., Fulcher, G., Reid, I., March, L., Xue, M., Cooper, A., Jackson, C. (2015). Treatment of chronic diabetic lower leg ulcers with activated protein C: a randomised placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot clinical trial. International Wound Journal, 12(4), 422-427. [More Information]

McKelvey, K., Jackson, C., Xue, M. (2014). Activated protein C: A regulator of human skin epidermal keratinocyte function. World Journal of Biological Chemistry, 5(2), 169-179. [More Information]

Xue, M., McKelvey, K., Shen, K., Minhas, N., March, L., Park, S., Jackson, C. (2014). Endogenous MMP-9 and not MMP-2 promotes rheumatoid synovial fibroblast survival, inflammation and cartilage degradation. Rheumatology, 53(12), 2270-2279. [More Information]

Xue, M., Shen, K., McKelvey, K., Li, J., Chan, Y., Hatzis, V., March, L., Little, C., Tonkin, M., Jackson, C. (2014). Endothelial protein C receptor associated invasiveness of rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts is likely driven by group V secretory phospholipase A2. Arthritis Research and Therapy, 16(1), 1-12. [More Information]

Julovi, S., Shen, K., McKelvey, K., Minhas, N., March, L., Jackson, C. (2013). Activated Protein C Inhibits Proliferation and Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha-stimulated Activation of p38, c-Jun NH2-Terminal Kinase (JNK) and Akt in Rheumatoid Synovial Fibroblasts. Molecular Medicine, 19, 324-331. [More Information]

Whitmont, K., Fulcher, G., Reid, I., Xue, M., McKelvey, K., Xie, Y., Aboud, M., Ward, C., Smith, M., Cooper, A., March, L., Jackson, C. (2013). Low Circulating Protein C Levels Are Associated with Lower Leg Ulcers in Patients with Diabetes. BioMed Research International, 2013, 1-4. [More Information]

McKelvey, K., Appleton, I. (2012). Epicatechin gallate improves healing and reduces scar formation of incisional wounds in type 2 diabetes mellitus rat model. Wounds, 24(3), 55-57.

McKelvey, K., Xue, M., Whitmont, K., Shen, K., Cooper, A., Jackson, C. (2012). Potential anti-inflammatory treatments for chronic wounds. Wound Practice & Research, 20(2), 86-89.

McKelvey, K., Highton, J., Hessian, P. (2011). Cell-specific expression of TLR9 isoforms in inflammation. Journal of Autoimmunity, 36(1), 76-86. [More Information]

For more information please contact:

Phone: +61 2 99264713

Email:  [email protected]


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