Dr. Vivienne Reeve has played a major influencing role on research in Photobiology in Australia since the early 1980s. The research has been largely based on the hairless mouse, a model that is internationally acknowledged for its relevance to the responses of human skin to UV radiation exposure.

Dr Reeve and her group maintain the only viable inbreeding colony of these mice in Australia, in addition to other relevant genetically modified mouse strains. The research has focussed primarily on strategies for the prevention of photoimmune suppression and the consequent development of photocarcinogenesis in the mouse, using dietary supplements or topical applications of a variety of sunscreening ingredients, drugs and phytochemicals.

Endogenous pathways that protect against UV-induced photodamage have thus been identified for the first time. For example, the role of UV-inducible cutaneous antioxidants (haem oxygenase, metallothionein) and an important role for signalling by the oestrogen receptor-beta (a steroid hormone receptor that shares some properties with the nuclear vitamin D receptor) have been established.

The relationship of these endogenous mechanisms with specific UV wavebands, UVA and UVB, has also been an important focus for the research. The group’s expertise in modelling photocarcinogenesis in the mouse is well recognised. Overall, the group has published 79 peer-reviewed journal papers (6 have been cited more than 25 times, 4 more than 40 times), 8 book chapters and one book, the majority of papers being in the top dermatological journal (J Invest Dermatol) and in the major international photobiology journals (Photochem Photobiol and Photochem Photobiol Sci).

Dr. Reeve and her students have played a prominent role in the international photobiology societies (American, European and Asia-Oceania), and in convening the photobiologists of Australia at regular annual national conferences.