Professor in Reproductive Immunobiology
Biomedical Sciences
Telephone: (01792) 602709
Room: Academic Office - 429
Fourth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

Professor in Reproductive Immunobiology


I qualified as a veterinary surgeon (BVSc, MRCVS) in 1984 and worked in clinical practice for 14 years in Wales. Whilst in practice I studied for two clinical Diplomas (DBR, DCHP), and then started work on a PhD supervised by Prof Hilary Dobson at the University of Liverpool. In 1998 I moved to the Royal Veterinary College in London, and I was awarded my PhD by Liverpool University in 2002. In 2006 I was awarded a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship to further my interests in host-pathogen interactions.

In 2008 I was appointed to a Personal Chair in Reproductive Immunobiology at Swansea University Medical School. In 2013, I was awarded FRCVS for meritorious contributions to research, and in 2015 I was awarded the Schofield Prize.

For further details consult Wikipedia:

Research Interests

My group study the mechanisms of interactions between hosts and pathogens. We are interested in how bacteria cause disease. On the other hand, we also aim to understand how animals and humans defend themselves against infections and prevent disease by avoiding, tolerating and resisting pathogenic bacteria.

Our first research question was what protects oocytes in the ovary from damage caused by these bacterial infections? I discovered that the function of the ovary is perturbed in animals with uterine bacterial infections. We initially worked on how microbes cause inflammation and tissue damage in the endometrium of the uterus, and how this affects the ovary and the oocyte. Key discoveries were that the epithelial and stromal cells of the endometrium, and the granulosa cells of the ovary have roles in innate immunity. In particular these cells 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, we discovered that pathogen-associated molecules perturb oocyte health and development, linking bacterial infections to long-term impacts on fertility.

Our second research question is how do cells protect themselves against pore-forming toxins? Pore-forming toxins are the most common virulence factor used by bacteria to damage host cells, which leads to tissue pathology. We have focussed on cholesterol-dependent cytolysins, as these are the most common pore-forming toxin. We study the cellular responses to pore-forming toxins, and the molecular mechanisms of cytoprotection against pore-forming toxins in tissue cells. Increasing the protection of cells against bacterial virulence factors is an alternative to using antimicrobials to kill bacteria, helping in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Areas of Expertise

  • Host-pathogen biology
  • Innate immunity
  • Reproductive Biology


  1. Sheldon, I., Cronin, J., Bromfield, J., Sheldon, M. 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
  2. Cronin, J., Kanamarlapudi, V., Thornton, C., Sheldon, I., Thornton, C., Cronin, J., Kanamarlapudi, V., Sheldon, M. 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. Preta, G., Lotti, V., Cronin, J., Sheldon, I., Cronin, J., Sheldon, M. Protective role of the dynamin inhibitor Dynasore against the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin of Trueperella pyogenes The FASEB Journal 29 4 1516 1528
  4. Healey, G., Collier, C., Griffin, S., Schuberth, H., Sandra, O., Smith, D., Mahan, S., Dieuzy-Labaye, I., Sheldon, I., Sheldon, M. Mevalonate Biosynthesis Intermediates Are Key Regulators of Innate Immunity in Bovine Endometritis The Journal of Immunology 196 2 823 831
  5. Healy, L., Cronin, J., Sheldon, I., Sheldon, M. Endometrial cells sense and react to tissue damage during infection of the bovine endometrium via interleukin 1 Scientific Reports 4 7060
  6. Turner, M., Cronin, J., Healey, G., Sheldon, I., Sheldon, M. 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
  7. Amos, M., Healey, G., Goldstone, R., Mahan, S., Düvel, A., Schuberth, H., Sandra, O., Zieger, P., Dieuzy-Labaye, I., Smith, D., Sheldon, I., Sheldon, M. Differential Endometrial Cell Sensitivity to a Cholesterol-Dependent Cytolysin Links Trueperella pyogenes to Uterine Disease in Cattle1 Biology of Reproduction 90 3
  8. Sheldon, M. Preventing Postpartum Uterine Disease in Dairy Cattle Depends on Avoiding, Tolerating and Resisting Pathogenic Bacteria Preprints 2019080140
  9. Raliou, M., Dembélé, D., Düvel, A., Bolifraud, P., Aubert, J., Mary-Huard, T., Rocha, D., Piumi, F., Mockly, S., Heppelmann, M., Dieuzy-Labaye, I., Zieger, P., G. E. Smith, D., Schuberth, H., Sheldon, I., Sandra, O., Sheldon, M. Subclinical endometritis in dairy cattle is associated with distinct mRNA expression patterns in blood and endometrium PLOS ONE 14 8 e0220244
  10. Turner, M., Owens, S., Sheldon, M. Glutamine supports the protection of tissue cells against the damage caused by cholesterol-dependent cytolysins from pathogenic bacteria bioRxiv

See more...


  • 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.


  • Role of Mitochondrial pyruvate carrier in ovarian cancer progression (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
    Other supervisor: Prof Deyarina Gonzalez
    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
  • Bisphosphonate inhibitors of squalene synthase protect human tissue cells against cholesterol dependent cytolysins from pathogenic bacteria (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr James Cronin
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Cellular regulation of protection against cholesterol-dependent cytolysins by steroids and oxysterols (current)

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

    Other supervisor: Dr Martin Clift
    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon
  • Understanding the Seasonality of Campylobacter Infection in Commercial Broiler Chickens (current)

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

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

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

    Other supervisor: Prof Martin Sheldon