Professor Sheila Francis
Research profile and key clinical specialties
I have studied the development of atherosclerosis and the role of inflammation (especially interleukin-1 (IL-1)) for most of my career.
The positive outcome of the CANTOS trial with a biologic called canakinumab (New England Journal of Medicine 2017) means we can now accept that over exuberant expression of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1 is causal in the development of coronary artery disease.
I am now interested in how IL-1 is released from vascular cells and modulation of this and how excessive inflammation in atherosclerosis links to dementia. I work with cell and experimental models of atherosclerosis and with neurophysiologists to study neurovascular coupling in the brain.
Two key publications
- Alfaidi M, Wilson H, Daigneault M, Burnett A, Ridger V, Chamberlain J & Francis SE (2015) Neutrophil Elastase promotes Interleukin-1β secretion from Human Coronary Endothelium. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290, 24067-24078.
- Shabir O, Moll TA, Matuszyk MM, Eyre B, Dake MD, Berwick J & Francis SE (2020) Preclinical models of disease and multimorbidity with focus upon cardiovascular disease and dementia. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 192, 111361-111361.
Possible PhD projects
- Development of a ‘mixed model’ of mild Alzheimers disease and atherosclerosis – role of cellular senescence and inflammation
I am a current member of the BHF Fellowships Committee. I have led two silver Athena SWAN applications and been a Head of Department twice.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, inflammation, canakinumab, coronary, artery, disease, proinflammatory, vascular, neurophysiologists, dementia, Shelia, Francis, Sheffield