Dr Michael Cater





Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env. Sciences


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


+61 3 925 17388


Dr. Michael Cater is a Movember Young Investigator and Heads the Metals in Medicine Laboratory within the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). Michael’s career focus in metals has expanded into the fields of general physiology, neuroscience and cancer research. Michael completed his Doctoral degree at Deakin University (2005) investigating metal-homeostatic mechanisms in the body, under the supervision of geneticist Professor Julian Mercer. This research focused on determining the molecular basis behind the hepatic copper accumulation seen in Wilson’s disease patients. He continued to pursue metals research into his first post-doc position at the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI) (University of Melbourne), but in relation to Alzheimer’s disease treatment and neuronal function. This position provided invaluable exposure to pharmacological studies, testing metal-based compounds as an intervention for Alzheimer's disease. While at MHRI, Michael realized the potential for copper-based compounds to be used in the treatment of cancer. He therefore switched research focus to the cancer field and relocated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (beginning of 2010). Michael was awarded the prestigious NHMRC Biomedical Training Research Fellowship and more recently a CIA led NHMRC Project Grant, a CIA led Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) grant and several philanthropic grants (e.g. CASS). He is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne (Department of Pathology). In 2013, Michael established his research group, the Metals in Medicine Laboratory, which has now grown to include a post-doc, 3 PhD students and one Honours student.

Read more on Michael's profile


Honorary, Department of Pathology, The University of Melbourne.



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Iron accumulation in senescent cells is coupled with impaired ferritinophagy and inhibition of ferroptosis

S Masaldan, S Clatworthy, C Gamell, P Meggyesy, A-T Rigopoulos, S Haupt, Y Haupt, D Denoyer, P Adlard, A Bush, M Cater

(2018), Vol. 14, pp. 100-115, Redox biology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Comparative microarray analysis identifies commonalities in neuronal injury: evidence for oxidative stress, dysfunction of calcium signalling, and inhibition of autophagy-lysosomal pathway

Y Yap, R Llanos, S La Fontaine, M Cater, P Beart, N Cheung

(2016), Vol. 41, pp. 554-567, Neurochemical research, New York, N.Y., C1


Copper as a target for prostate cancer therapeutics: copper-ionophore pharmacology and altering systemic copper distribution

D Denoyer, H Pearson, S Clatworthy, Z Smith, P Francis, R Llanos, I Volitakis, W Phillips, P Meggyesy, S Masaldan, M Cater

(2016), Vol. 7, pp. 37064-37080, Oncotarget, Albany, N.Y., C1


Ceruloplasmin is regulated by copper and lactational hormones in PMC42-LA mammary epithelial cell culture models

D Freestone, D Denoyer, M Jakab, M Ackland, M Cater, A Michalczyk

(2016), Vol. 8, pp. 941-950, Metallomics, Cambridge, Eng., C1


Heterogeneous copper concentrations in cancerous human prostate tissues

D Denoyer, S Clatworthy, S Masaldan, P Meggyesy, M Cater

(2015), Vol. 75, pp. 1510-1517, Prostate, London, Eng., C1


Targeting copper in cancer therapy: 'copper that cancer'

D Denoyer, S Masaldan, S La Fontaine, M Cater

(2015), Vol. 7, pp. 1459-1476, Metallomics, London, Eng., C1


Copper and lactational hormones influence the CTR1 copper transporter in PMC42-LA mammary epithelial cell culture models

D Freestone, M Cater, M Ackland, D Paterson, D Howard, M de Jonge, A Michalczyk

(2014), Vol. 25, pp. 377-387, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, New York, NY, C1


Glutaredoxin1 protects neuronal cells from copper-induced toxicity

M Cater, S Materia, Z Xiao, K Wolyniec, S Ackland, Y Yap, N Cheung, S La Fontaine

(2014), Vol. 27, pp. 661-672, Biometals, New York, N.Y., C1


Increasing intracellular bioavailable copper selectively targets prostate cancer cells

M Cater, H Pearson, K Wolyniec, P Klaver, M Bilandzic, B Paterson, A Bush, P Humbert, S La Fontaine, P Donnelly, Y Haupt

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1621-1631, ACS chemical biology, Washington, D.C., C1


Clusterin and COMMD1 independently regulate degradation of the mammalian copper ATPases ATP7A and ATP7B

S Materia, M Cater, L Klomp, J Mercer, S La Fontaine

(2012), Vol. 287, pp. 2485-2499, Journal of biological chemistry, Bethesda, Md., C1


An impaired mitochondrial electron transport chain increases retention of the hypoxia imaging agent diacetylbis(4-methylthiosemicarbazonato)copper II

P Donnelly, J Liddell, S Lim, B Paterson, M Cater, M Savva, A Mot, J James, I Trounce, A White, P Crouch

(2012), Vol. 109, pp. 47-52, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., C1-1


Clusterin (APOJ) : a molecular chaperone that facilitates degradation of the copper-ATPases ATP7A and ATP7B

S Materia, M Cater, L Klomp, J Mercer, S La Fontaine

(2011), Vol. 286, pp. 10073-10083, Journal of biological chemistry, Bethesda, Md., C1


Clioquinol induces cytoplasmic clearance of the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP): Therapeutic indication for prostate cancer (Biochemical Journal (2011) 436, (481-491))

M Cater, Y Haupt

(2011), Vol. 437, pp. 575-575, Biochemical Journal, C1-1


Role of glutaredoxin1 and glutathione in regulating the activity of the copper-transporting P-type ATPases, ATP7A and ATP7B

W Singleton, K McInnes, M Cater, W Winnall, R McKirdy, Y Yu, P Taylor, B Ke, D Richardson, J Mercer, S La Fontaine

(2010), Vol. 285, pp. 27111-27121, Journal of biological chemistry, Bethesda, Md., C1


Syntaxin 5 is required for copper homeostasis in drosophila and mammals

M Norgate, A Southon, M Greenough, M Cater, A Farlow, P Batterham, A Bush, N Subramaniam, R Burke, J Camakaris

(2010), Vol. 5, pp. 1-10, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1-1


Iron-export ferroxidase activity of ?-amyloid protein precursor is inhibited by zinc in Alzheimer's disease

J Duce, A Tsatsanis, M Cater, S James, E Robb, K Wikhe, S Leong, K Perez, T Johanssen, M Greenough, H Cho, D Cappai, R Moir, C Masters, C McLean, R Tanzi, R Cappai, K Barnham, G Ciccotosto, J Rogers, A Bush

(2010), Vol. 142, pp. 857-867, Cell, Cambridge, Mass., C1-1


Intracellular copper deficiency increases amyloid-beta secretion by diverse mechanisms

M Cater, K McInnes, Q Li, I Volitalis, S La Fontaine, J Mercer, A Bush

(2008), Vol. 412, pp. 141-152, Biochemical journal, London, England, C1-1


Copper binding to the N-terminal metal-binding sites or the CPC motif is not essential for copper-induced trafficking of the human Wilson Protein (ATP7B)

M Cater, S La Fontaine, J Mercer

(2007), Vol. 401, pp. 143-153, Biochemical journal, London, England, C1


Copper in mammals: mechanisms of homeostasis and pathophysiology

M Cater, J Mercer

(2006), pp. 101-120, Molecular biology of metal homeostasis and detoxification : from microbes to man, Berlin, Germany, B1


Copper-dependent interaction of dynactin subunit p62 with the N terminus of ATP7B but not ATP7A

C Lim, M Cater, J Mercer, S La Fontaine

(2006), Vol. 281, pp. 14006-14014, Journal of biological chemistry, Bethesda, Md, C1


Copper-dependent interaction of glutaredoxin with the N termini of the copper-ATPases (ATP7A and ATP7B) defective in Menkes and Wilson diseases

C Lim, M Cater, J Mercer, S La Fontaine

(2006), Vol. 348, pp. 428-436, Biochemical and biophysical research communications, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


ATP7B mediates vesicular sequestration of copper: insight into biliary copper excretion

M Cater, S La Fontaine, K Shield, Y Deal, J Mercer

(2006), Vol. 130, pp. 493-506, Gastroenterology, Amsterdam, Nertherlands, C1


Expression and localization of Menkes and Wilson copper transporting ATPases in human placenta

B Hardman, U Manuelpillai, E Wallace, S van de Waasenburg, M Cater, J Mercer, L Ackland

(2004), Vol. 25, pp. 512-517, Placenta, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1


Intracellular trafficking of the human Wilson protein: the role of the six N-terminal metal-binding sites

M Cater, J Forbes, S La Fontaine, D Cox, J Mercer

(2004), Vol. 380, pp. 805-813, Biochemical journal, London, England, C1


Copper-regulated trafficking of the Menkes disease copper ATPase associated with formation of a phosphorylated catalytic intermediate

M Petris, I Voskoboinik, M Cater, K Smith, B Kim, R Llanos, D Strausak, J Camakaris, J Mercer

(2002), Vol. 277, pp. 46736-46742, Journal of biological chemistry, Baltimore, Md., C1


Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Copper-ionophores as a treatment for prostate cancer?

Dr Michael Cater

NHMRC Project Grant

  • 2014: $106,522
  • 2013: $104,741

Can copper be used to selectively kill prostate cancer cells?

Dr Michael Cater

PCFA Grant - Research - Young Investigator Grant - Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Limited

  • 2016: $4,965
  • 2015: $101,747
  • 2014: $101,747
  • 2013: $101,747

Industry and Other Funding

Is Prostate Cancer Development Dependent on Copper ?

Dr Michael Cater

  • 2014: $45,000


Principal Supervisor

Shashank Masaldan

Thesis entitled: Investigating Metal aberrations in Cellular Senescence

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences