Spotlight on: Cassidy Whitefield

Spotlight on: Cassidy Whitefield

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  • 15 June 2022
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Cassidy Whitefield is a PhD candidate working at the ANU under the supervision of Professor Colin Jackson. Cassidy grew up in Goulburn and Canberra and completed a BSc. (Hons) at the Australian National University beginning her PhD.

Cassidy is a structural biologist interested in how potential therapeutics bind to their protein target. She is currently studying a hallmark cancer protein called Heparanase, by looking into different inhibitors, binders and modulators to uncover their mechanism. Cassidy uses structural and biophysical techniques to do this, but she says her favourite is protein X-ray crystallography.

Research can be very demanding, so we asked Cassidy what keeps her motivated?

“When things get complicated, I wouldn’t be able to survive without my lovely research group to put it all into perspective. Having people there who can support you really makes a PhD that little bit easier.”

Cassidy has already achieved a lot throughout her academic career including a first-author publication from earlier this year, a poster prize at the Lorne Proteins Conference and being nominated for the Janet Elspeth Crawford Postgraduate Leadership Prize. When asked about her proudest achievement to date she stated it was her 2021 Director’s award for contribution to the research school. “I played a heavy role in teaching at the school during my PhD, as well as participating in numerous committees, so it was nice to see that my work was appreciated.”

Cassidy (left) at the Snowy Mountains Running Festival 2021, with Dr Michael Thomas and Dr Nicholas White

Outside of science Cassie has an active lifestyle and enjoys running, hiking and bouldering. She says that growing up she wanted to be an Olympic athlete and if she were to set up a Centre of Excellence for something outside of science, it would be the Centre of Excellence for Slow Runners. The CSR doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as CIPPS but we could surely recruit some members for you Cassidy!

You can keep in touch with Cassidy via Twitter: @cass_whitefield
And LinkedIn: cassidy-whitefield-75392817a

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