Professor in Reproductive Immuno-Biology
Medicine
Telephone: (01792) 602709
Room: Academic Office - 429
Fourth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

Professor Sheldon is interested in the fundamental mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions. Professor Sheldon was in clinical practice for 14 years before moving to the Royal Veterinary College in London, where he developed his research interests and was awarded his PhD in 2002. In 2006 he won a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship to move to full-time research and study fundamental questions about the biology of infection and immunity. In 2008 he was appointed to a personal Chair at Swansea University Medical School to focus full-time on research.

Professor Sheldon is interested in the general mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, and the impact of infection and  innate immunity in the female genital tract. Professor Sheldon and his team explore the cellular mechanisms of innate immunity, inflammation and microbial infection that apply across species. Professor Sheldon discovered novel bacteria that cause disease of the uterus in cattle. In addition, he has uncovered mechanisms that explain how these microbes cause inflammation and tissue damage in the endometrium of the uterus, and how these process perturb the health of the ovary and the oocyte. One of the key discoveries by Professor Sheldon was that the epithelial and stromal cells of the endometrium, and granulosa cells of the ovary have roles in innate immunity. In particular they express receptors, such as Toll-like Receptors (TLRs), which detect pathogen-associated molecular patterns to induce inflammatory responses, including the production of cytokines, chemokines and prostaglandins. Furthermore, pathogen-associated molecules perturb oocyte health and development, linking bacterial infections to long-term impacts on fertility. Another area of discovery is how pore-forming toxins and other virulence factors from bacteria damage tissues, and mechanisms of tolerance to pore-forming toxins in tissues.

A clinical background coupled with exploring the basic science of host-pathogen interactions, has provided Professor Sheldon with a unique perspective. In 2013, Professor Sheldon's research was recognised by the award of FRCVS, and in 2015 he was awarded the Schofield Prize.

Areas of Expertise

  • Innate immunity
  • Reproductive Biology

Publications

  1. & Epithelial and Stromal Cells of Bovine Endometrium Have Roles in Innate Immunity and Initiate Inflammatory Responses to Bacterial Lipopeptides In Vitro via Toll-Like Receptors TLR2, TLR1, and TLR6. Endocrinology 155(4), 1453-1465.
  2. & Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 licenses Toll-like receptor 4-dependent interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 production via IL-6 receptor-positive feedback in endometrial cells. Mucosal Immunology 9(4), 1125-1136.
  3. & Differential Endometrial Cell Sensitivity to a Cholesterol-Dependent Cytolysin Links Trueperella pyogenes to Uterine Disease in Cattle. Biology of Reproduction 90(3), 54-54.
  4. & Protective role of the dynamin inhibitor Dynasore against the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin of Trueperella pyogenes. The FASEB Journal 29(4), 1516-1528.
  5. & Mevalonate Biosynthesis Intermediates Are Key Regulators of Innate Immunity in Bovine Endometritis. The Journal of Immunology 196(2), 823-831.
  6. & Tethered bilayer membranes as a complementary tool for functional and structural studies: The pyolysin case. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 1858(9), 2070-2080.
  7. & Isoprenoids increase bovine endometrial stromal cell tolerance to the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin from Trueperella pyogenes†. Biology of Reproduction
  8. & Inhibiting mevalonate pathway enzymes increases stromal cell resilience to a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin. Scientific Reports 7(1), 1-13.
  9. & Maternal metabolism affects endometrial expression of oxidative stress and FOXL2 genes in cattle. PLOS ONE 12(12), e0189942
  10. & Endometrial cells sense and react to tissue damage during infection of the bovine endometrium via interleukin 1. Scientific Reports 4, 7060

See more...

Teaching

  • PM-249 Human Immunology

    The course is designed as an introduction to immunology and the human immune system. The course covers the fundamentals of immunology including functional perturbations associated with disease and experimental approaches to the study of immunology.

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project

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  • PM-344 Capstone Project

    The aim of this module is to provide a capstone experience to students¿ learning, through participating in their own enquiry-based research project. Depending on the student's employability strand within the programme, the project may be laboratory, data, or education-based, but it will always involve a research question that is drawn from the literature, focused on a topic relevant to medical science. It will ask a novel research question and involve the critical analysis of research findings. Students will refine their oral and written communication skills to a graduate level through creating an introductory presentation on the project background, and a written dissertation and oral presentation on their research conclusions.

  • PM-352 Reproductive Biology and Medicine

    This module is designed to provide students with knowledge of the biochemistry, physiology and pathology of human pregnancy, fetal development, parturition and menopause. Particular focus will be given to fertility treatments and pharmacological interventions of menopause. Lectures will cover a recap of endocrinology of reproduction, and provide details of assisted reproductive technologies. Lectures will be supported by case studies which include current clinical approaches used to treat infertility and menopause.

  • PM-401 Science Communication

    This module will encompass a range of communication modes, from presentation of science to the general public to making a pitch for funding to `investors¿ The module will be run as a series of online seminars to prepare, firstly, for a short 3 minute thesis-like presentations to both a professional and non-professional audience. This will be complemented by preparation of short, New Scientist-style articles by each student on the topic of their presentation. Students will be assigned a topic that is appropriate to their degree title. For example, a Medical Geneticist could address recent advances in gene therapy. Subsequently, their task will be to produce a pitch to attract investment to commercialise their research. In the latter half of the module, the focus will be on skills-training for writing a scientific paper, preparing the ground for their project dissertations.

  • PMLM06 LC/MS Applications V: Metabolomics, Lipidomics and Bioactive lipids

    This module covers the basic concepts of metabolomics, lipidomics and analysis of bioactive lipids. The module will focus on the application of LC-MS analysis of biomolecules isolated from complex mixtures.

Supervision

  • Steroid regulation of cellular tolerance to cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (current)

    Student name:
    MPhil
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • The induction of ferroptosis in therapy-resistant ovarian cancer cells (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Manipulation of squalene synthase to increase cell tolerance to cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Mechanisms of Mammalian Egg Resilience, from the Macro to the Nano scale (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Role of Mitochondrial pyruvate carrier in ovarian cancer progression (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
    Other supervisor: Dr Deyarina Gonzalez
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
  • 'The host-pathogen interactions between Trueperella pyogenes and the endometrium' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon