Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Rachel Dickinson

Research Associate


In 2010 I began my current position as a research associate at the Institute of Cellular Medicine within Newcastle University.  I am funded by Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and I have been conducting research in the field of haematology and immunodeficiency disorders.  From 2006-10 I was a MRC Career Development Fellow at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health in Edinburgh.  Earlier in 2006 I was awarded a PhD for my thesis entitled “Molecular and functional characterisation of the SLIT, ROBO and RASSF2A tumour suppressor genes”.  My PhD was funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign.


While my career to date has focused on research, I also really enjoy engaging with a wider audience about science.  This has included designing and helping to run events at four Science Festivals and contributing to Asteroid Belter: The Newcastle Science Comic.  I am also a sub editor for REACT: The Newcastle Science Magazine.  Furthermore I enjoyed the opportunity to be a presenter for the SciScreen series at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle where scientists present the science behind popular films.  I also presented part of the Mini Medical School 2015 lecture entitled "The immune system: protection vs disease" at Newcastle University.  More information can be found at: 



My research (with Prof. Matthew Collin) has used exome sequencing to discover that GATA-2 mutation is the cause of DCML deficiency.  Patients with this condition lack dendritic cells, monocytes, B and NK cells in their peripheral blood and can develop leukaemia.  This typically occurs in young adulthood.  I am now examining the impact of these gene mutations on GATA-2 expression and function.  I have also been using a similar approach to identify gene defects associated with other sporadic and hereditary immunodeficiency disorders.  More information can be found at:  


I have delivered lectures to second year students as part of the CMB2000: Principles and Practice of Molecular Techniques module and to final year undergraduate students at Sunderland University

I am a seminar leader for the Stage 2 Dental Surgery BDS Immunology & Healthcare 17 module and the CMB1003 School of Biomedical Sciences module.

I have been a demonstrator for Immunology & Microbiology laboratory practicals within the Biomedical Sciences CMB1006 module and marked the coursework. 

I am an assessor for the Mres course and a supervisor of Mres student projects at Newcastle University. 

I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students.