Professor in Reproductive Immuno-Biology
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

  • Host-pathogen biology
  • Innate immunity
  • Reproductive Biology


  1. Preventing Postpartum Uterine Disease in Dairy Cattle Depends on Avoiding, Tolerating and Resisting Pathogenic Bacteria. Preprints 2019080140
  2. & Subclinical endometritis in dairy cattle is associated with distinct mRNA expression patterns in blood and endometrium. PLOS ONE 14(8), e0220244
  3. & Glutamine supports the protection of tissue cells against the damage caused by cholesterol-dependent cytolysins from pathogenic bacteria. bioRxiv 10.1101/679068
  4. & Persistent effects on bovine granulosa cell transcriptome after resolution of uterine disease. Reproduction 158(1), 35-46.
  5. & Bovine scavenger receptor class A (SR-A) exhibit specific patterns of regulation in the endometrium during the oestrous cycle and early pregnancy. Reproduction, Fertility and Development
  6. & Liquid crystal delivery of ciprofloxacin to treat infections of the female reproductive tract. Biomedical Microdevices 21(2)
  7. & Tolerance and Innate Immunity Shape the Development of Postpartum Uterine Disease and the Impact of Endometritis in Dairy Cattle. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences 7, 361-384.
  8. The Metritis Complex in Cattle. In Veterinary Reproduction and Obstetrics. (pp. 408-433). Elsevier.
  9. & A model of clinical endometritis in Holstein heifers using pathogenic Escherichia coli and Trueperella pyogenes. Journal of Dairy Science 102(3), 2686-2697.
  10. Metabolic stress and endometritis in dairy cattle. Veterinary Record 183(4), 124-125.

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  • 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


  • 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-347 Human Immunopathology

    The module aims to provide students with a greater understanding of the human immune system and the causes of a range of diseases associated with immune dysfunction including autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders and neurological conditions.

  • 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.


  • Manipulation of squalene synthase to increase cytoprotection against cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • The role of cysteine desulfurase (NFS1) in iron nanoparticle-induced ferroptotic cancer cell death (current)

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

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

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Targeting Therapy-Resistant Ovarian Cancer by Induction of Ferroptotic Cell Death (awarded 2019)

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

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon