Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Catharien Hilkens

Reader in Immunotherapy



I did my PhD research at the University of Amsterdam, where I worked on regulation of T cell immunity by dendritic cells. I then was awarded an EMBO fellowship to work on understanding how cytokines regulate T cell- and dendritic cell- function at Cancer Research UK laboratories in London. In October 2003 I joined Newcastle University.

My main research interest are:

- to understand mechanisms underlying immune regulation at the dendritic cell/T cell interface

- to develop dendritic cells as an immunotherapeutic tool to restore immune tolerance - from bench to bedside

- to understand the role of synovial macrophages in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis


PhD in Immunology, University of Amsterdam 1997, Thesis title: Functional differentiation of human T helper cells

Previous Positions

1998-2003 Post-doctoral fellow at Cancer Research UK London Research Institute
1997-1998 Post-doctoral associate at the University of Amsterdam


British Society for Immunology


Research Interests

I am an Immunologist with research expertise in dendritic cell biology and immune regulation. My aims are twofold and interleaved:
i) To develop and implement a new cellular therapy with tolerogenic dendritic cells for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases caused by a breakdown in immune tolerance.
ii) To understand the mechanisms underlying immune regulation by dendritic cells in order to fuel and improve new areas of translational research.


My work is funded by the Arthritis Research UK, Medical Research Council, BBSRC, European Commission and the JGWP Foundation.


Postgraduate Teaching

- I supervise PhD and MRes students.
- I am module leader and teach at the  'Applied Immunobiology' MRes

Undergraduate Teaching

- I teach at the 3rd year  'Immunology in health and disease' module