Dr Fiona McKay

Senior Post-doctoral Fellow
Medicine, Westmead Clinical School
The Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Member of the Charles Perkins Centre

Telephone +61 2 9845 8738
Fax +61 2 9891 3889

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Biographical details

Neuroimmunology researcher in multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Motor Neuron Disease (MND)).

Strong interest in manipulating immune cell subsets such as natural killer cells and regulatory T cell cells to heal and protect the nervous system.

Our lab studies basic cell biology and immunology and supports the translation of these findings in clinical trials at Westmead.

Selected grants

2018

  • Harnessing Natural Killer cells in multiple sclerosis : one therapy with 3 targets.; McKay F; Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation/Research Grant.
  • Does the EOMES/TBX21 low molecular phenotype of MS confer defective killing of microglia by natural killer cells?; Fewings N, McKay F; Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia/Incubator Grant.
  • The "double-barrel" of natural killer cell impairment in MS: reduced control of EBV infection and autoreactivity?; McKay F, Ahlenstiel G, Booth D, Vucic S, Fewings N; Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia/Project Grant.

2015

  • Safety and biological efficacy of narrow-band UVB phototherapy in ALS; Vucic S, Byrne S, Stewart G, Fernandez Penas P, Booth D, McKay F, Menon P, Turner B; Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia/Grants in aid.
  • Using MS Susceptibility genes to understand the role of EBV in MS pathogenesis; McKay F, Booth D; Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia/Incubator Grant.

2013

  • Clinical implications of IL7R genotype: from disease risk to disease management; Stewart G, Booth D, Gottlieb D, McKay F, Vucic S, Rajasuriar R; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Project Grants.

2012

  • The biologic and clinical implications of IL7Ra genotype in multiple sclerosis; Stewart G, Booth D, McKay F; Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia/Investigator Project Grants.

2011

  • Genotyping to identify causes of disease and to personalise therapeutic management; McKay F; Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation/Equipment Grant.

2009

  • Functional Genomics to Predict and Enhance Response to Interferon; George J, Suppiah V, Kingston D, Bahlo M, Yang J, McKay F, Booth D, Stewart G, Bahlo M; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2006

  • Molecular response to interferon beta treatment in multiple sclerosis; Arthur J, Stewart G, Heard R, Booth D, Sedger L, Booth D, Stewart G, Heard R; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Sheean, R., McKay, F., Cretney, E., Bye, C., Perera, N., Tomas, D., Weston, R., Scheller, K., Djouma, E., Menon, P., Schibeci, S., Booth, D., Stewart, G., Kiernan, M., Vucic, S., et al (2018). Association of Regulatory T-Cell Expansion With Progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Study of Humans and a Transgenic Mouse Model. JAMA Neurology, 75(6), 681-689. [More Information]
  • Fewings, N., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Edwards, J., Basuki, M., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2017). Data characterizing the ZMIZ1 molecular phenotype of multiple sclerosis. Data in Brief, 11, 364-370. [More Information]
  • Mahurkar, S., Moldovan, M., Suppiah, V., Sorosina, M., Clarelli, F., Liberatore, G., Malhotra, S., Montalban, X., Antiguedad, A., Krupa, M., McKay, F., et al (2017). Response to interferon-beta treatment in multiple sclerosis patients: a genome-wide association study. The Pharmacogenomics Journal, 17(4), 312-318. [More Information]
  • Fewings, N., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Edwards, J., Basuki, M., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2017). The autoimmune risk gene ZMIZ1 is a vitamin D responsive marker of a molecular phenotype of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Autoimmunity, 78, 57-69. [More Information]
  • Booth, D., Fewings, N., Parnell, G., McKay, F., Stewart, G. (2016). Differences in common heritable blood immune cell populations may underlie MS susceptibility and progression. Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 2, 1-4. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Gatt, P., Fewings, N., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Basuki, M., Powell, J., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2016). The low EOMES/TBX21 molecular phenotype in multiple sclerosis reflects CD56+ cell dysregulation and is affected by immunomodulatory therapies. Clinical Immunology, 163, 96-107. [More Information]
  • Field, J., Shahijanian, F., Schibeci, S., Johnson, L., Gresle, M., Laverick, L., Parnell, G., Stewart, G., McKay, F., Kilpatrick, T., Booth, D., et al (2015). The MS Risk Allele of CD40 Is Associated with Reduced Cell-Membrane Bound Expression in Antigen Presenting Cells: Implications for Gene Function. PloS One, 10(6), 1-4. [More Information]
  • Parnell, G., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Krupa, M., Powell, J., Visscher, P., Montgomery, G., Lechner-Scott, J., Broadley, S., Liddle, C., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2014). Ribosomal protein S6 mRNA is a biomarker upregulated in multiple sclerosis, downregulated by interferon treatment, and affected by season. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 20(6), 675-685. [More Information]
  • Parnell, G., Gatt, P., Krupa, M., Dorothee, N., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Batten, M., Baranzini, S., Henderson, A., Barnett, M., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2014). The autoimmune disease-associated transcription factors EOMES and TBX21 are dysregulated in multiple sclerosis and define a molecular subtype of disease. Clinical Immunology, 151(1), 16-24. [More Information]
  • Shahijanian, F., Parnell, G., McKay, F., Gatt, P., Shojaei, M., O'Connor, K., Schibeci, S., Brilot-Turville, F., Liddle, C., Batten, M., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2014). The CYP27B1 variant associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disease is underexpressed in tolerizing dendritic cells. Human Molecular Genetics, 23(6), 1425-1434. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Hoe, E., Parnell, G., Gatt, P., Schibeci, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2013). IL7Ralpha Expression and Upregulation by IFNbeta in Dendritic Cell Subsets Is Haplotype-Dependent. PloS One, 8(10), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Riveros, C., Mellor, D., Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Cox, M., Berretta, R., Vaezpour, S., Inostroza-Ponta, M., Broadley, S., Heard, R., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2010). A Transcription Factor Map as Revealed by a Genome-Wide Gene Expression Analysis of Whole-Blood mRNA Transcriptome in Multiple Sclerosis. PloS One, 5(12), e14176-1-e14176-28. [More Information]
  • Hoe, E., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Gandhi, K., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2010). Functionally significant differences in expression of disease-associated IL-7 receptor alpha haplotypes in CD4 T cells and dendritic cells. Journal of Immunology, 184(5), 2512-2517. [More Information]
  • Hoe, E., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2010). Interleukin 7 Receptor Alpha Chain (IL-7Ralpha) Haplotypes Vary in Their Influence on Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility and Response to Interferon Beta. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 30(5), 291-298. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Diefenbach, E., Crossett, B., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D., Arthur, J. (2010). Novel approaches to detect serum biomarkers for clinical response to interferon-beta treatment in multiple sclerosis. PloS One, 5(5), e10484 - 1-e10484 - 9. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Maamary, P., Sanderson-Smith, M., Aziz, R., Hollands, M., Hollands, A., Cole, J., McArthur, J., Kirk, J., Cork, A., et al (2010). Parameters Governing Invasive Disease Propensity of Non-M1 Serotype Group A Streptococci. Journal of Innate Immunity, 596(606), 596-606. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Cox, M., Riveros, C., Armstrong, N., Heard, R., Vucic, S., Williams, D., Stankovich, J., Brown, M., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2010). The multiple sclerosis whole blood mRNA transcriptome and genetic associations indicate dysregulation of specific T cell pathways in pathogenesis. Human Molecular Genetics, 19(11), 2134-2143. [More Information]
  • McArthur, J., McKay, F., Ramachandran, V., Shyam, P., Cork, A., Sanderson-Smith, M., Cole, J., Ringdahl, U., Sjoebring, U., Ranson, M., et al (2008). Allelic variants of streptokinase from Streptococcus pyogenes display functional differences in plasminogen activation. FASEB Journal, 22(9), 3146-3153. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Arthur, J., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2008). BAFF is a Biological Response Marker to IFN-beta Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 28(9), 529-540. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Swain, L., Schibeci, S., Rubio, J., Kilpatrick, T., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2008). CD127 immunophenotyping suggests altered CD4(+) T cell regulation in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Journal of Autoimmunity, 31(1), 52-58. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Swain, L., Schibeci, S., Rubio, J., Kilpatrick, T., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2007). Haplotypes of the interleukin 7 receptor alpha gene are correlated with altered expression in whole blood cells in multiple sclerosis. Genes and Immunity, 9((accepted 6 September, 2007)), 1-6. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2006). Analysis of neutralizing antibodies to therapeutic interferon-beta in multiple sclerosis patients: a comparison of three methods in a large Australasian cohort. Journal of Immunological Methods, 310(1-2), 20-29. [More Information]
  • Cole, J., McArthur, J., McKay, F., Sanderson-Smith, M., Cork, A., Ranson, M., Rohde, M., Itzek, A., Sun, H., Ginsburg, D., et al (2006). Trigger for group A streptococcal M1T1 invasive disease. FASEB Journal, 20(10), E1139-E1145. [More Information]
  • Walker, M., McArthur, J., McKay, F., Ranson, M. (2005). Is plasminogen deployed as a Streptococcus pyogenes virulence factor? Trends in Microbiology, 13(7), 308-313. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., McArthur, J., Sanderson-Smith, M., Gardam, S., Currie, B., Sriprakash, K., Fagan, P., Towers, R., Batzloff, M., Chhatwal, G., et al (2004). Plasminogen binding by group A streptococcal isolates from a region of hyperendemicity for streptococcal skin infection and a high incidence of invasive infection. Infection and Immunity.
  • Sanderson-Smith, M., McKay, F., Ranson, M., Walker, M. (2004). Subversion of the plasminogen activation system by Streptococcus pyogenes:mounting evidence to implicate the human protease plasmin in disease processes. Current Trends In Microbiology, 1, 75-85.

2018

  • Sheean, R., McKay, F., Cretney, E., Bye, C., Perera, N., Tomas, D., Weston, R., Scheller, K., Djouma, E., Menon, P., Schibeci, S., Booth, D., Stewart, G., Kiernan, M., Vucic, S., et al (2018). Association of Regulatory T-Cell Expansion With Progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Study of Humans and a Transgenic Mouse Model. JAMA Neurology, 75(6), 681-689. [More Information]

2017

  • Fewings, N., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Edwards, J., Basuki, M., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2017). Data characterizing the ZMIZ1 molecular phenotype of multiple sclerosis. Data in Brief, 11, 364-370. [More Information]
  • Mahurkar, S., Moldovan, M., Suppiah, V., Sorosina, M., Clarelli, F., Liberatore, G., Malhotra, S., Montalban, X., Antiguedad, A., Krupa, M., McKay, F., et al (2017). Response to interferon-beta treatment in multiple sclerosis patients: a genome-wide association study. The Pharmacogenomics Journal, 17(4), 312-318. [More Information]
  • Fewings, N., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Edwards, J., Basuki, M., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2017). The autoimmune risk gene ZMIZ1 is a vitamin D responsive marker of a molecular phenotype of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Autoimmunity, 78, 57-69. [More Information]

2016

  • Booth, D., Fewings, N., Parnell, G., McKay, F., Stewart, G. (2016). Differences in common heritable blood immune cell populations may underlie MS susceptibility and progression. Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational and Clinical, 2, 1-4. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Gatt, P., Fewings, N., Parnell, G., Schibeci, S., Basuki, M., Powell, J., Goldinger, A., Fabis-Pedrini, M., Kermode, A., Burke, T., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2016). The low EOMES/TBX21 molecular phenotype in multiple sclerosis reflects CD56+ cell dysregulation and is affected by immunomodulatory therapies. Clinical Immunology, 163, 96-107. [More Information]

2015

  • Field, J., Shahijanian, F., Schibeci, S., Johnson, L., Gresle, M., Laverick, L., Parnell, G., Stewart, G., McKay, F., Kilpatrick, T., Booth, D., et al (2015). The MS Risk Allele of CD40 Is Associated with Reduced Cell-Membrane Bound Expression in Antigen Presenting Cells: Implications for Gene Function. PloS One, 10(6), 1-4. [More Information]

2014

  • Parnell, G., Gatt, P., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Krupa, M., Powell, J., Visscher, P., Montgomery, G., Lechner-Scott, J., Broadley, S., Liddle, C., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2014). Ribosomal protein S6 mRNA is a biomarker upregulated in multiple sclerosis, downregulated by interferon treatment, and affected by season. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 20(6), 675-685. [More Information]
  • Parnell, G., Gatt, P., Krupa, M., Dorothee, N., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Batten, M., Baranzini, S., Henderson, A., Barnett, M., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2014). The autoimmune disease-associated transcription factors EOMES and TBX21 are dysregulated in multiple sclerosis and define a molecular subtype of disease. Clinical Immunology, 151(1), 16-24. [More Information]
  • Shahijanian, F., Parnell, G., McKay, F., Gatt, P., Shojaei, M., O'Connor, K., Schibeci, S., Brilot-Turville, F., Liddle, C., Batten, M., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2014). The CYP27B1 variant associated with an increased risk of autoimmune disease is underexpressed in tolerizing dendritic cells. Human Molecular Genetics, 23(6), 1425-1434. [More Information]

2013

  • McKay, F., Hoe, E., Parnell, G., Gatt, P., Schibeci, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2013). IL7Ralpha Expression and Upregulation by IFNbeta in Dendritic Cell Subsets Is Haplotype-Dependent. PloS One, 8(10), 1-10. [More Information]

2010

  • Riveros, C., Mellor, D., Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Cox, M., Berretta, R., Vaezpour, S., Inostroza-Ponta, M., Broadley, S., Heard, R., Vucic, S., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2010). A Transcription Factor Map as Revealed by a Genome-Wide Gene Expression Analysis of Whole-Blood mRNA Transcriptome in Multiple Sclerosis. PloS One, 5(12), e14176-1-e14176-28. [More Information]
  • Hoe, E., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Gandhi, K., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2010). Functionally significant differences in expression of disease-associated IL-7 receptor alpha haplotypes in CD4 T cells and dendritic cells. Journal of Immunology, 184(5), 2512-2517. [More Information]
  • Hoe, E., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2010). Interleukin 7 Receptor Alpha Chain (IL-7Ralpha) Haplotypes Vary in Their Influence on Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility and Response to Interferon Beta. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 30(5), 291-298. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Diefenbach, E., Crossett, B., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D., Arthur, J. (2010). Novel approaches to detect serum biomarkers for clinical response to interferon-beta treatment in multiple sclerosis. PloS One, 5(5), e10484 - 1-e10484 - 9. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Maamary, P., Sanderson-Smith, M., Aziz, R., Hollands, M., Hollands, A., Cole, J., McArthur, J., Kirk, J., Cork, A., et al (2010). Parameters Governing Invasive Disease Propensity of Non-M1 Serotype Group A Streptococci. Journal of Innate Immunity, 596(606), 596-606. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Cox, M., Riveros, C., Armstrong, N., Heard, R., Vucic, S., Williams, D., Stankovich, J., Brown, M., Stewart, G., Booth, D., et al (2010). The multiple sclerosis whole blood mRNA transcriptome and genetic associations indicate dysregulation of specific T cell pathways in pathogenesis. Human Molecular Genetics, 19(11), 2134-2143. [More Information]

2008

  • McArthur, J., McKay, F., Ramachandran, V., Shyam, P., Cork, A., Sanderson-Smith, M., Cole, J., Ringdahl, U., Sjoebring, U., Ranson, M., et al (2008). Allelic variants of streptokinase from Streptococcus pyogenes display functional differences in plasminogen activation. FASEB Journal, 22(9), 3146-3153. [More Information]
  • Gandhi, K., McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Arthur, J., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2008). BAFF is a Biological Response Marker to IFN-beta Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research, 28(9), 529-540. [More Information]
  • McKay, F., Swain, L., Schibeci, S., Rubio, J., Kilpatrick, T., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2008). CD127 immunophenotyping suggests altered CD4(+) T cell regulation in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Journal of Autoimmunity, 31(1), 52-58. [More Information]

2007

  • McKay, F., Swain, L., Schibeci, S., Rubio, J., Kilpatrick, T., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2007). Haplotypes of the interleukin 7 receptor alpha gene are correlated with altered expression in whole blood cells in multiple sclerosis. Genes and Immunity, 9((accepted 6 September, 2007)), 1-6. [More Information]

2006

  • McKay, F., Schibeci, S., Heard, R., Stewart, G., Booth, D. (2006). Analysis of neutralizing antibodies to therapeutic interferon-beta in multiple sclerosis patients: a comparison of three methods in a large Australasian cohort. Journal of Immunological Methods, 310(1-2), 20-29. [More Information]
  • Cole, J., McArthur, J., McKay, F., Sanderson-Smith, M., Cork, A., Ranson, M., Rohde, M., Itzek, A., Sun, H., Ginsburg, D., et al (2006). Trigger for group A streptococcal M1T1 invasive disease. FASEB Journal, 20(10), E1139-E1145. [More Information]

2005

  • Walker, M., McArthur, J., McKay, F., Ranson, M. (2005). Is plasminogen deployed as a Streptococcus pyogenes virulence factor? Trends in Microbiology, 13(7), 308-313. [More Information]

2004

  • McKay, F., McArthur, J., Sanderson-Smith, M., Gardam, S., Currie, B., Sriprakash, K., Fagan, P., Towers, R., Batzloff, M., Chhatwal, G., et al (2004). Plasminogen binding by group A streptococcal isolates from a region of hyperendemicity for streptococcal skin infection and a high incidence of invasive infection. Infection and Immunity.
  • Sanderson-Smith, M., McKay, F., Ranson, M., Walker, M. (2004). Subversion of the plasminogen activation system by Streptococcus pyogenes:mounting evidence to implicate the human protease plasmin in disease processes. Current Trends In Microbiology, 1, 75-85.

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