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1994 …2024

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Personal profile

Research Biography

A/Prof Sonja Klebe is a senior staff specialist in Diagnostic Pathology at Flinders Medical Centre and a Clinical Academic Associate Professor at Flinders University. She has a special interest in pleuropulmonary pathology and molecular pathology with a focus on mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases.

Sonja graduated from Medicine at the Free University of Berlin, with a MD in Biochemistry. She completed a PhD in Immunology and Gene Therapy at Flinders University in Adelaide in 2000 and obtained her Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Pathologists (RCPA) in 2005.

She is a Member of the International Mesothelioma Panel, the Pulmonary Pathology Society and the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) and IASLC staging committee. She is also a member of Lung Expert Group for development of Lung Cancer Structured Reporting Protocol for the RCPA and heads the mesothelioma structured reporting.  She is a contributor to the WHO blue books. She regularly serves as an expert on diagnosis in mesothelioma to the courts. She has been an invited speaker for the Australian Society of Cytology Annual Conference, the Australian Lung Cancer Conference, World Lung Cancer Conference and the Australasian Pleuropulmonary Society as well as COSA.

She has successfully supervised 7 honours and 6 PhD students to completion. Her interests have focussed on clinically relevant basic research applications, and her 7-year appointment as Chief Examiner for the RCPA underscores her standing as an expert in pathological processes. She has published 5 book chapters and over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Research Interests

Sonja's professional and academic interests over the last 14 years have concentrated upon asbestos-related disorders, especially lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, including their diagnosis and pathogenesis. She has worked with Professor Henderson since 2000, and with a special focus on lung disorders since 2005, contributing to the preparation of medicolegal reports since 2005. For several months in 2008 Sonja also specifically trained on mesothelioma diagnosis with Prof Victor Roggli of Duke University.

A/Prof Klebe is a current member of the International Mesothelioma Panel and she is also a member of the Pathology Panel for the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). Sonja was one of the invited Pathology experts at the IASLC workshop on mesothelioma diagnosis in Lyon, 2018. She is an invited author for the new WHO classification of lung and pleural tumours and a member of the organising Committee of iMIG 2020 and IASLC world lung cancer conference 2020 (Mesothelioma).

Sonja has co-authored several book chapters and publications dealing with malignant mesothelioma -- including the 176-page chapter on Neoplasms of the Pleurain the 3rdedition of the standard textbook Dail and Hammar's Pulmonary Pathology,published in New York in 2008.

A/Prof Klebe has co-authored multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed publications dealing with malignant mesothelioma, in addition to poster presentations and oral presentations at national and international conferences. Sonja has supervised to completion one PhD concerning molecular alterations in mesothelioma, as well as several honours projects related to malignant mesothelioma.

Sonja has personally examined or reviewed some hundreds of cases of mesothelioma (as well as lung cancers and lung cancer precursor lesions and numerous other cases of benign asbestos-related diseases of various types (pleural plaques, diffuse pleural fibrosis, benign asbestos pleuritis with effusion, rounded atelectasis, and asbestosis).

Sonja has published many articles on the diagnosis of lung cancer and its causation by asbestos. 


Completed Supervisions

Associate Supervisions:
  • Opthalmology (3)
  • Oncology (1)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Gene Therapy of the Ovine Cornea., Flinders University

Doctor of Medicine

External positions

Founding Fellow Faculty of Sciences, RCPA (FFSc)

2011 → …

Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA)

2005 → …


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Medical biosciences

Supervisory Interests

  • Visual acuity Ophthalmology, surgical outcomes Visual disability
  • Experimental eye research
  • Asbestos-associated lung cancer, pathology and diagnosis
  • Gene therapy
  • Gene silencing
  • Cancer biology


  • RB Pathology
  • R Medicine (General)
  • RE Ophthalmology


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