It is with profound sadness that we mark the passing of Scientia Professor Katharina Gaus, who died peacefully on 3 March 2021. An esteemed member of the NSW scientific community, Professor Gaus was an accomplished immunologist and molecular microscopist.
Scientia Professor Gaus was an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) and Head of the EMBL Australia Node in Single Molecule Science. She was also the Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, and the NSW Node leader of EMBL Australia.
Before coming to Australia, Professor Gaus received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1999. She founded the Cellular Membrane Biology Lab at UNSW Sydney in 2005 and went on to co-lead a team working with powerful single molecule microscopes to understand the molecular basis of T cell decision-making.
Professor Gaus was recognised widely for her contributions to scientific research. In 2013, she received the New South Wales Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences (now known as the NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering).
Among the many other accolades she received, Professor Gaus was awarded the prestigious Gottschalk Medal from the Australian Academy of Science in 2012, the NHMRC Achievement Award (Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, 2014-2018) and the Khwarizmi International Award (2018).
In 2005, Professor Gaus was awarded the ARC Early Researcher Award, a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, and spent six months in the laboratory of Professor Kai Simons at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany.
Beyond scholarly research, Professor Gaus was active in encouraging schoolgirls to become scientists through UNSW outreach programs. In a video published on UNSW School of Medical Sciences, Professor Gaus shows students how exciting immunology can be by describing her work in terms of the 1980s' computer game Pacman.
Professor Gaus is survived by her loving husband and fellow scientist, Professor Justin Gooding.
Vale Professor Katharina Gaus.