Professor Martin Sheldon PhD FRCVS
Professor of Reproductive Immunobiology 

Reproductive Immunobiology Laboratory
Swansea University Medical School


Follow us @reprod_immunity

I am interested in the mechanisms of interactions between hosts and pathogens. 

My group and I explore the cellular mechanisms of innate immunity, tissue resilience, and microbial infection that apply across species. I discovered novel bacteria that cause disease of the uterus in cattle. In addition, I 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. Key discoveries were that the epithelial and stromal cells of the endometrium, and 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, 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. Recently we have started to use pore-forming toxins to explore the mechanisms of tolerance in tissue cells.

My background started with clinical practice for 14 years in Wales. I started work on a PhD whilst in practice, supervised by Prof Hilary Dobson at the University of Liverpool, and I was awarded my PhD in 2002. In 1998 I moved to the Royal Veterinary College in London, where I started my laboratory research interests, and in 2006 I won a BBSRC Research Development Fellowship to move to full-time research. In 2008 I was appointed to a personal Chair at Swansea University Medical School. In 2013, my research was recognised by the award of FRCVS, and in 2015 I was awarded the Schofield Prize.

My clinical background coupled with my interest in basic science has provided me with a unique perspective of host-pathogen interactions

Selected publications                                

Sheldon IM, Cronin JG, Bromfield JJ (2019) Tolerance andInnate Immunity Shape the Development of Postpartum Uterine Disease and theImpact of Endometritis in Dairy Cattle. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences, in press,10.1146/annurev-animal-020518-115227

Griffin S, Preta G, Sheldon, IM 2017 Inhibiting mevalonate pathway enzymes increases stromal cell resilience to a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin. Scientific Reports 717050, p 1-13

Cronin JG, Kanamarlapudi V, Thornton CA, Sheldon IM. 2016 Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) licenses Toll-like receptor 4-dependent Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 production via IL-6 receptor positive feedback in endometrial cells. Mucosal Immunology, 9:1125-1136

  • Healey GD,
  •  Collier C,
  •  Griffin S
  •  Schuberth HJ,
  • Sandra O
  • Smith DG,
  •  Mahan S,
  •  Dieuzy-Labaye I 
  • Sheldon IM 2016 
  • Mevalonate biosynthesis intermediates are key regulators of innate immunity in bovine endometritis
        Journal of Immunology 196: 823-831

    Preta G, Lotti V, Cronin JG, Sheldon IM 2015 Protective role of the dynamin inhibitor Dynasore against the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin of Trueperella pyogenes FASEB Journal 29: 1516-1528

    Turner ML, Cronin J.G, Healey GD, Sheldon IM, 2014 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, 155:1453-1465

    Healy LL, Cronin JG, Sheldon IM 2014 Endometrial cells sense and react to tissue damage during infection of the bovine endometrium via interleukin 1. Scientific Reports, 4: 7060, 1-9

    Amos MR, Healey GD, Goldstone RJ, Mahan SM, Düvel A, Schuberth HJ, Sandra O, Zieger P, Dieuzy-Labaye I, Smith DGE, Sheldon IM 2014 Differential Endometrial Cell Sensitivity to a Cholesterol-Dependent Cytolysin Links Trueperella pyogenes to Uterine Disease in Cattle. Biology of Reproduction 90: 54, 1-1

    Price JC, Bromfield JJ and Sheldon IM 2013 Pathogen-associated molecular patterns initiate inflammation and perturb the endocrine function of bovine granulosa cells from ovarian dominant follicles via TLR2 and TLR4 pathways. Endocrinology 154: 3377-3386


    The Schofield Lecture 2015 video, at the University of Guelph (Ontario Veterinary College), provides a general perspective of my science and the main findings of my work on infection and immunity.

    Our work is kindly funded by BBSRC (UK), NIH (USA), and NRN (Wales). We have had previous funding from the Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, OECD, industry, and the RCVS.

    The Complete University Guide 2018 ranks Swansea University Medical School 3rd best medical school in UK, and 2nd for research quality. For research allied to health, REF2014 ranks Swansea University Medical School 2nd in the UK.