Professor Stephen Renshaw

by | 26 Jul 2022 | Sheffield, Supervisors | 0 comments


Research profile and key clinical specialties

Diseases of immunity cause much illness in the developed world – on one hand we are beset by a range of antibiotic resistance bacterial infections, while on the other hand our immune systems are responsible for many of the common diseases of ageing – heart disease, stroke and COPD.

Understanding the regulation of innate immune cells, neutrophils and macrophages, in infection and inflammation will help us tune the immune system to the exact level needed to cope with the current level of threat. More host defence to fight antibiotic resistant organisms; less host defence to prevent lung damage in response to environmental pollutants.

In recent years many genome-wide association studies have been performed in immune-mediated lung disease and there is a large amount of genetic information requiring annotation (i.e. describing the function of the genes identified). Traditional models of genetic manipulation are slow and laborious, meaning many of these genes remain unstudied – and potential drug targets unidentified.

I have pioneered the zebrafish as a model system in which the genes controlling regulation of innate immune cell function can be rapidly and easily manipulated, and their function in immunity established. The small size of this model also lends itself to drug screening and this has identified several potential new therapies for immune disease. Projects are suitable for a range of specialities, including respiratory medicine, rheumatology, dermatology, infectious disease, microbiology etc.

Two key publications

  • PGE2 production at sites of tissue injury promotes an anti-inflammatory neutrophil phenotype and determines the outcome of inflammation resolution in vivo. Loynes CA, Lee JA, Robertson AL, Steel MJ, Ellet F, Feng Y, Levy BD, Whyte MKB, Renshaw SA. Science Advances 2018 4(9), eaar8320.
  • A Spaeztle-like role for Nerve Growth Factor b in vertebrate immunity to Staphylococcus aureus. Hepburn L, Schaffner C, Prajsnar TK, Loynes CA, Brown K, Schiebler M, Hegyi K, Hammond KL, Cusens D, Seneviratne SL, Grogono DM, SJ Foster, Woods CG, Renshaw SA* & Floto RA* (2014). Science 346(6209):641-6. *Joint corresponding authors.

Possible PhD projects

  • Control of inflammation by regulation of mRNA stability. 
  • Functional annotation of immune regulatory candidate genes from GWAS.

More information

  • Director, MRC Discovery Medicine North DTP linking Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and Leeds.
  • Director, The Bateson Centre, Sir Arthur Hall Professor of Medicine



Keywords: Immunity, respiratory, medicine, rheumatology, dermatology, infectious, disease, microbiology, neutrophils, macrophages, Stephen, Renshaw, Sheffield