Professor Sheldon is a researcher and veterinarian with an interest in the fundamental molecular mechanisms of infection and immunity. Professor Sheldon was in clinical practice for 14 years before moving to London, where he developed his research interests and was awarded his PhD in 2002. In 2006 he won a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship and in 2008 Professor Sheldon established a laboratory at the College of Medicine. My Department is ranked 2nd in the UK for research on subjects allied to health (REF 2014; 2nd out of 94).
Professor Sheldon is interested in the mechanisms of infection and innate immunity in the female genital tract. Microbial infection of the female genital tract is a major disease problem in animals and humans, with a substantial impact on health and welfare. With BBSRC funding, 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 metritis and endometritis, which are important 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 in the ovary. 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 an inflammatory response including the production of cytokines, chemokines and prostaglandins. Furthermore, pathogen-associated molecules even perturb oocyte health and development, linking bacterial infections to long-term impacts on fertility.
A clinical background coupled with exploring the basic science of infection and immunity, has provided Professor Sheldonwith a unique perspective. In 2013, Professor Sheldon's research was recognised by the award of FRCVS.