About Professor Rebecca Mason

Rebecca's work aims to find ways to reduce the burden of sun damage and skin cancer.

Professor Rebecca Mason is an internationally recognized leader in the role of Vitamin D, particularly in photoprotection and is a media commentator on the importance of vitamin D.

Rebecca Mason graduated in Medicine at Sydney University in 1975.  After hospital service, she completed a PhD on vitamin D at Sydney hospital, then moved to Royal North Shore Hospital in the Section of Endocrinology.  In 1988, she accepted a position with the Department of Physiology, Sydney University, though still retains a position with Endocrinology and Cancer Genetics at RNSH.  Her research program has developed over many years in the fields of bone and skin.  The link between them is vitamin D, which is made in skin and is important in bone, but, as this research has discovered, important in skin for photoprotection as well.  The link between bone and skin is Vitamin D. In particular, her group’s studies in skin have shown that the active vitamin D hormone is synthesised locally by melanoma cells and causes their differentiation.  The group also showed for the first time that Vitamin D compounds formed in skin by the action of UV light contribute to endogenous photoprotection, including a reduction in DNA damage and UV-induced immunosuppression, through a reduction in nitric oxide products and an increase in p53 expression.Professor Mason has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and on National Health and Medical Research Council Grant Review Panels for Endocrinology and Reproduction and Musculoskeletal diseases. She is a member of the Technical Committee of the Commission Internationale de L’Eclairage (International Commission of Illumination) on Sunlight, Health and Vitamin D.  She serves on a committee updating Clinical Guidelines for melanoma prevention and management for the National Health and Medical Research Council. Professor Mason is Head of Physiology and acting Deputy Director of the Bosch Institute.  For the Faculty of Medicine, she serves as Associate Dean (Curriculum) and Chair of the University of Sydney Medical Program Committee.  She is a member of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Institute, a Council member of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society and a Board member of Osteoporosis Australia.

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Professor Mason's publicatons, please visit her Sydney Medical School profile page.