Menu Close

Catherine Thornton

Professor of Human Immunology, Swansea University

After a science degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of Tasmania I undertook a PhD at Flinders University of South Australia studying the cytokine response of the placenta and implications of this for preterm birth. On completion of my PhD she was awarded a CJ Martin Post-doctoral Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) Australia. This enabled me to pursue post-doctoral studies at the Universities of Southampton and Western Australia investigating the antenatal determinants of immune function of newborns.

I have been at Swansea University for 19 years and am now Professor of Human Immunology studying various aspects of the immunology of pregnancy and early childhood. This includes studies of the basic mechanisms underlying functional differences in immune function at birth through to translational studies around pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes including the effects of air pollution. I am internationally recognised for my expertise in the early life origins of immune mediated diseases and work in my laboratory has been funded by NERC, MRC, ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, Life Sciences Research Network and Diabetes UK. My research skills are also utilised in commercial settings supporting activity in the area of inflammation and blood handling medical devices, including with support for Innovate UK. I am currently Head of Swansea University Medical School, and oversee human tissue research activity across the Swansea University.


  • 2014–present
    Professor, Swansea University
  • 2009–2014
    Reader, Swansea University
  • 2003–2009
    Senior lecturer, Swansea University
  • 2001–2003
    Senior research fellow, University of Southampton
  • 2000–2001
    Research fellow, University of Western Australia
  • 1996–2000
    Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Southampton
  • 1995–1996
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Flinders University


  • 1996 
    Flinders University, PhD
  • 1988 
    University of Tasmania, Bachelor of Science (Honours)


Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology