THE 2020 ASBMB FRED COLLINS AWARD: AMY BAXTER
Department of Biochemistry and Genetics
La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science
Dr Amy Baxter completed a Bachelor of Human Nutrition in 2009 at La Trobe University in Bundoora, Victoria. She continued on at La Trobe, completing her Honours year in 2010 and PhD from 2012–2017 (including maternity leave periods for each of her two children, now aged four and seven) in the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics under Professor Mark Hulett. During this time, Amy investigated the molecular basis of tumour cell membrane disruption by plant defensins, discovering that defensins can bind membrane phosphoinositides in target cells and form oligomeric structures to mediate cell lysis. Her research made a significant impact in the innate immunity field, reflected in the ten papers published during her PhD, including in eLife and Cell Death and Differentiation, generating over 300 citations. In 2018, Amy was awarded an NHMRC Peter Doherty Early Career Fellowship to examine the mechanism and functions of extracellular vesicles formation during cell death, which she is currently undertaking under the supervision of Associate Professor Ivan Poon at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS). She is currently investigating the roles of apoptotic cell disassembly and clearance in the context of vascular inflammation. Amy’s achievements, both during her PhD and since, have been recognised through her nomination for several research awards including the La Trobe University Nancy Millis Medal for Outstanding Theses (2017), Victorian Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research (2019 Finalist, Basic Science category) and La Trobe University ECR Research Excellence Award (2019).
Amy was scheduled to present her recent findings at the Gordon Cell Death Conference in Ventura, California, in June 2020.