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Biography

Also see: Wikipedia Biography - Professor Martin Sheldon


Martin Sheldon was educated at Bradford Grammar School in Yorkshire and then at the University of Liverpool, where he qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1984. He then worked in clinical practice for 14 years in Carmarthen, West Wales, where he became a partner in 1986. Professor Sheldon was awarded the Diploma in Bovine Reproduction from the University of Liverpool in 1992; became a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Specialist in 1993; and, was awarded the Diploma in Cattle Health and Production from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1997.

Professor Sheldon joined the Royal Veterinary College in 1998 to teach veterinary reproduction, and he was awarded the James Bee Educator Prize twice. He completed a PhD with Professor Hilary Dobson in 2002 through the University of Liverpool. Research project funding from the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC formed the foundation for studying the mechanisms of microbiology, infection and immunity in the female genital tract. He spent some time on an OECD sabbatical in Cornell University, USA; as a visiting fellow at the University of Bologna, Italy; and, on the Frontiers in Reproduction Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, USA.

Professor Sheldon was awarded a 3-year BBSRC Research Development Fellowship in 2006 to develop a full-time research career and in 2008 he moved from London to a new Chair at the Institute of Life Science in the School of Medicine, Swansea University. He has given keynote presentations across the World, including USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Japan. Professor Sheldon was awarded FRCVS in 2013 for meritorious contributions to understanding the mechanisms of infection and immunity in the female genital tract.

Professor Sheldon's team currently work on host-pathogen interactions and how microbes are sensed by the innate immune system, with programme and project grant funding from BBSRC, industry and the EU.

Research Interests

Infection of the uterus with bacteria is common in and humans. These uterine infections occur during sexual intercourse, in pregnancy, or after parturition, and they cause infertility, abortion, pain and suffering. Uterine disease is also difficult to prevent and costly to treat. The infertility is caused by damage to the lining of the uterus, by disrupting the development of the eggs within the ovary, and by altering the concentrations of the sex steroid hormones (progesterone and oestrogen) secreted by the ovary, which normally orchestrate the function of the uterus so that it is ready to nurture the fertilised egg. However, in an intriguing twist, the risk of infection depends on these sex steroids; progesterone suppresses immunity whilst oestrogen enhances it. Why this should be the case remains unclear, yet may be vital when developing treatments and developing prevention strategies.

Professor Sheldon's interests include:
1. The bacteria which cause uterine diseases.
2. Systems to measure the severity of the disease.
3. The method of detection used by the immune system to recognise bacteria or bacterial toxins in the uterus and ovary.
4. How uterine and ovarian cell functions change when these detection systems are activated.
5. The role of innate immunity and inflammation in parturition and preterm labour.
 
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