Robert's research interests are in gene and immunotherapy. In addition to clinical training at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge he was an MRC Research Fellow with Dr Greg Winter and Dr Cesar Milstein at the MRC laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. His work there was important for the development of commercially successful antibodies.
His PhD was in antibody engineering and as a Cancer Research UK Senior Clinical Fellow he developed translational research interests in antibody based gene therapy. He was first appointed as a consultant in Medical Oncology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in 1995 and then became Professor of Oncology at the University of Bristol in 1996. In 1998 he moved to the Christie Hospital to become Professor and Director of Medical Oncology. Clinically, Professor Hawkins focuses on treating renal cancer and on developing immunotherapy, particularly cellular immunotherapy. He heads a clinical research group undertaking trials and also a range of early phase clinical trials of biological agents including vaccines, antibody based molecules and cell therapies. He has successfully led the clinical development of biological agents from Phase I to Phase III studies. He has received grant funding from Cancer Research UK, the Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund and the European Union (he is Co-ordinator of the ATTACK project and was co-ordinator of the ATTRACT integrated training network) and has published widely in scientific and clinical journals as well as an inventor/co-inventor on several antibody related patents.