Natalia Castano Rodriguez


Professional Experience

  • 2016-current: NHMRC Early Career Fellow, School of BABS
  • 2015: Research Associate, School of BABS
  • 2014: PhD in Molecular Genetics – School of BABS
  • 2011: MPhil (BABS) Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • 2008: Research Assistant, Corporation for Biological Research (Corporación para Investigaciones Biológicas - CIB), Colombia
  • 2007: Doctor of Medicine, Del Rosario University (Universidad del Rosario), Colombia

Research Contribution
Natalia is currently an NHMRC Early Career Fellow (2016-2020) who has worked in the fields of molecular biology, microbiology, and biostatistics related to immunogenetics and genetics of cancer for the past 8 years. Following the completion of her MD degree, she was awarded a scholarship from COLFUTURO (Colombia) to undertake an Master of Philosophy (BABS) degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at UNSW Australia. After being awarded a University International Postgraduate Award (UIPA), she initiated her doctoral studies in the School of BABS to investigate the role of innate immunity in Helicobacter pylori-related gastric cancer, completing her PhD in December 2014. More recently, as a postdoctoral research associate in the Helicobacter and Campylobacter laboratory in BABS, she has been working on the role of host genetics, Helicobacter and Campylobacter infections, and gastrointestinal dysbiosis, in chronic inflammation and carcinogenesis.

In relation to her NHMRC Fellowship, Natalia's vision for the next 4 years is to better understand the role of Helicobacter pylori-induced inflammation in gastric cancer by addressing issues that are crucial to the host immune response to this bacterium. This could lead to the identification of novel markers of disease susceptibility and therapeutic targets, potentially resulting in intervention strategies and/or treatments for gastric cancer, the thirdleading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide.