Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Amy Anderson

Senior Research Associate

Background

Introduction

I did my PhD at Imperial College London identifying host genetic loci responsible for the outcome of Helicobacter pylori infection. After my PhD I remained at Imperial College and worked as a Research Assistant studying seasonal changes in the suppressive capacity of Tregs in hayfever sufferers. I moved to Newcastle University in 2006 as a Research Associate and have been working on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis ever since. In 2016 I became a Senior Research Associate.

Area of expertise

  • Tolerance induction
  • Biomaker development and disease pathogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis
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Research

Projects

Since coming to Newcastle I have been involved in a number of projects focusing on the development of biomarkers for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, in addition to development of novel immunotherapies for rheumatoid arthritis, with a particular interest in therapeutic tolerance induction.


Biomarker development

In collaboration with Professor John Isaacs and Dr Arthur Pratt, we have identified a potential transcriptional biomarker for the early diagnosis of seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. We have demonstrated that interleukin-6 and downstream STAT3 signalling are potential therapeutic targets in the early stages of clinical disease. We are currently investigating several biomarkers linked to this pathway to determine their diagnostic and theragnostic value in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, we are investigating several proteins linked to the transcriptional biomarker to further understand the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.


Tolerogenic dendritic cells (AuToDeCRA)

The main project I having been working on, in collaboration with Professor John Isaacs and Dr Catharien Hilkens, is the development of autologous tolerogenic dendritic cells for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. This project culminated in a phase I clinical trial (AuToDeCRA study, funded by Arthritis Research UK). We are now embarking on a second clinical trial using autologous tolerogenic dendritic cells, which is focused on determining the best route of administration.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis (BIO-FLARE)

I am currently involved in a MRC funded Experimental Medicine Challenge grant investigating factors that are involved in disease flare in rheumatoid arthritis. This is a multi-centre grant held between Newcastle University, Glasgow University and the University of Birmingham. At Newcastle, in collaboration with Professor John Isaacs, Dr Arthur Pratt and Dr Catharien Hilkens, we are investigating the immune system contribution to disease flare.

 



Teaching

Postgraduate teaching

  • I currently supervise/co-supervise 5 PhD students
  • I co-supervise MRes students on an annual basis


Undergraduate teaching

  • I currently lead a number of seminar sessions for Biomedical Science and Dentistry undergraduate students
  • I co-supervise BSc students on an annual basis


Publications