Marie Curie Initial Training Network

Anne Dickinson


Recruited Fellows

Rihab Gam


Monica Correia dos Reis

Professor Anne M Dickinson PhD
Professor of Marrow Transplant Biology
Haematological Sciences
Institute of Cellular Medicine
The Medical School
Newcastle University
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Professor Dickinson was the first to describe using the human skin explant model, the role of cytokines (TNFa and IFN?) in the pathogenesis of GvHD and further developed the concept that patient or donor cytokine gene polymorphisms (which regulate the production of cytokines) may play a role in predicting GvHD.

She heads a research team of 5 PhD students, 2 Marie Curie Fellows, 5 research scientists and 6 technical staff. Professor Dickinson has over 20 years experience in postgraduate teaching and design of teaching modules. She currently teaches Transplantation Science as a part of the Master of Research postgraduate course in the Institute. All members of the network team are also course lecturers/ tutors.

Research Network Team

Professor Dickinson. Expertise includes student tutor, member postgraduate examiners board, experienced PhD supervisor and undergraduate supervisor in Haematological Sciences.

Dr Xiao Nong Wang. Senior Lecturer, experienced PhD supervisor with 10 years experience on the use of the skin explant assay.

Dr Kim Pearce. Chartered Senior Statistician.

Jean Norden. Senior Research Biomedical Scientist.

Other members of the team include:-

Professor Matthew Collin. Director Haematology Transplant Service - expertise in dendritic cell biology in GvHD.

Dr Julian De Havilland. Quality Control and Production Manager in the Newcastle Biomedicine Cellular Therapies Facility- expertise in GMP manufacturing of clinical allogeneic and autologous cellular therapies; production of cellular transplantation products and Investigational Medicinal Products; GMP facilities management.

Professor Andrew McCaskie. Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Arthritis Research UK Tissue Engineering Centre -expertise in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Dr Lindsay Nicholson. Research Associate – expertise in molecular biology.

Dr Rachel Crossland. Research Associate – expertise in molecular biology with an emphasis on the biomarker potential of microRNAs.

The Haematological Sciences section of the Institute of Cellular Medicine is also the Northern Regional Transplant Centre for Leukaemia and Lymphoma with a population base of 3.0 million. Information on all transplants is centralised and data registered through the BMT team.

Recruited Fellows

Professor. Dickinson employs 2 Marie Curie fellows to work on genomics and skin explant assays and to aid in the development of the database and correlate results with genetic, biological and clinical factors associated with outcome in HSCT.

Rihab Gam (Tunisia) Early Stage Researcher.

Rihab earned her Bachelor degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from University of Monastir, Tunisia. During her academic studies she has built extenstive knowledge in the fields of Genomics, proteomics and Molecular biology.

After her bachelor degree, she specialised in the field of Genetics and Biotechnology, her Master thesis was titled “Analyses of Glutathione S-Transferase M1 and T1 gene deletion polymorphisms in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma patients among Tunisian population using real time PCR with SYBR GREEN I”. During her practical training she acquired experience in Real-Time PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequencing, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics.

She successfully completed her Master Degree in Immunogenetics within the department of Molecular Immuno-Oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Monastir, Tunisia.

She performed numerous trainings at the Cytopathology laboratory within the Fattoma Borguiba University Hospital, Monastir, Tunisia, during which she practiced cytology and histology techniques.

Project Title: Assessment of Molecular Biomarkers in Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Monica Correia dos Reis (Portugal) Early Stage Researcher.

Mónica dos Reis MSc, has been trained in both molecular biology and cell culture techniques. In 2011, Mónica completed a Master Degree in Cellular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Lisbon, Faculty of Sciences. Her Master dissertation thesis was titled “Gene delivery to Neural Stem Cells using Minicircles and Plasmids without CpG motifs” and it was performed at the Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. During this training she acquired experience in plasmid construction and purification, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR or qPCR), Flow Cytometry (FACS), culture and expansion of stem cells, namely Neural Stem Cells and Human Embryonic Kidney 293T cells, transfection of stem cells using microporation and immunohistochemistry of NSCs.

Mónica's thesis project has been featured in both national and international meetings, such as, the Microbiotechnology (Microbiotec11) meeting in Braga, Portugal, and the Stem Cell Conference Society of Biological Engineering (SBE), in Seattle, USA. She is also the co-author of one manuscript that has been published at Biomacromolecules journal in March 2013.

In October 2012, Mónica has been employed as a research assistant at a pharmaceutical company called Delta-vir GmbH in Leipzig, Germany. In this company she has been working in the development of a dendritic-cell based therapy against cancer where her main responsibilities were the development and establishment of biomonitoring assays.

Relevant References

1.  Holtick U, Wang XN, Marshall SR, Scheid C, von Bergwelt-Baildon M, Dickinson AM . In Vitro PUVA Treatment Preferentially Induces Apoptosis in Alloactivated T Cells. Transplantation 2012, 94(5), E31-E34

2.  Dickinson AM , Wang XN, Sviland L, Vyth-Dreese FA, Jackson GH, Schumacher TNM, Haanen JBAG, Mutis T, Goulmy E. In situ dissection of the graft-versus-host activities of cytotoxic T cells specific for minor histocompatibility antigens. Nature Medicine (2001) 8(4):410-414

3.  Mavin E, Ahmed SS, O'Boyle G, Turner B, Douglass S, Collin M, Ali S, Dickinson A , Wang X-N Regulatory T Cells Inhibit CD8+ T-Cell Tissue Invasion in Human Skin Graft-Versus-Host Reactions. Transplantation 2012, 94 (5), 456-464.

4.  Dickinson AM . SNPs and GVHD prediction: where to next?. Blood 2012, 119 (22), 5066-5068.

5.  Stocki P, Wang XN, Dickinson AM . Inducible Heat Shock Protein 70 Reduces T cell Responses and Stimulatory Capacity of Monocyte-derived Dendritic Cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012, 287 (15), 12387-12394.