Machteld Hylkema (1965) is an immunologist with a broad interest in the pathogenesis of asthma and COPD. She obtained a master in Biology at the University of Leiden in 1991 and completed her PhD at the University of Amsterdam in 1995. In the same year she moved to Groningen for a post-doc position at the department of Cell Biology and Histology, University of Groningen. In 1998 she continued to work as a post-doc at the StanfordUniversity. Palo Alto, USA. After her return to Groningen she started as a post-doc at the department of Pathology from the UMCG and was appointed as assistant professor in 2001. In 2011 she was appointed as associate professor.
She developed several mouse models for asthma and COPD but is involved in clinical studies as well. During the last 10 years, she has investigated the effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on lung development and susceptibility to develop asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In the offspring, alterations in lung development are being linked with gene-specific epigenetic profiles in the lung. As development of chronic mucus hypersecretion is one of the phenotypes in offspring following prenatal smoke exposure, epigenetic mechanisms related to epithelial cell fate are investigated, in vitro and in vivo. Epigenetic mutations that underlie aberrant epithelial mucus-secreting cell differentiation are targets for Epigenetic Editing to selectively silence or re-express specific gene expression to prevent this phenotype.