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Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold

DPhil Student

Celine is passionate about tackling the challenges hindering clinical adoption of advanced therapeutics. Celine works jointly with Dr. Dominic Kelly and Prof. Robert MacLaren, the latter of whom is a co-founder of Nighstar, a biotechnology company developing the first gene therapies for multiple retinal diseases. This symbiotic placement allows her to both investigate the broad challenges facing the cell and gene therapy industry as a whole, and to observe and address the challenges faced by an individual company as they bring a novel gene therapy to market. Celine believes curative, one-time therapies which are based on the intricate molecular mechanisms driving the disease pathology are the optimal form of medical treatment. As more of such therapies become available in the clinic, it is critical to ensure that healthcare systems can support these new therapeutic strategies and that patient access is not unnecessarily hindered. 

Before coming to Oxford, Celine was actively involved in research across multiple disciplines including neuropharmacology, nano-chemistry, and neuro-oncology. As a freshman in college, she independently conceptualized and piloted the novel application of DNA-templated silver nanoclusters, a type of fluorescent nanoparticle, as an in vivo neuronal tracer for use in mouse neuropharmacology studies. She was awarded university funding for this project. Celine twice received a research fellowship from the SENS Research Foundation to join Dr. Evan Snyder at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Here, Celine developed and progressed her own project investigating the use of a bacterial protein as a neuronal transfection vector for drug delivery. Celine has also twice interned under the interventional radiology department at Klinikum Bremen-Mitte in Bremen, Germany. During her junior year of undergraduate studies, Celine spent a year at Uppsala Universitet in Uppsala, Sweden, where she informally undertook the nanobiotechnology chemistry master’s program.

Outside of academics, Celine has been an avid horseback rider since childhood. She regularly competes in dressage competitions with her Belgian Warmblood, Grenadier (fondly called Goon). Celine also casually studies the German and Swedish languages, although she has not yet managed to lose her Texan accent in either language. Before she graduates, Celine is dedicated to completing a definite ranking of all the coffee shops in Oxford based on their quality of soy flat whites and amenability to studying.

Celine hold a Bachelors in Neuroscience from The University of Texas at Austin, and is currently pursuing a DPhil in Paediatrics at Oxford.