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Department of Infection and Immunity

The Department of Infection and Immunity combines clinical and basic science research in molecular cell biology with a particular focus on innate immunity in respiratory medicine, infectious diseases, renal medicine, cancer, rheumatology and dermatology. Our research has a direct impact on people’s lives. We are developing a smaller and lighter haemodialysis machine that could save patients three trips a week to hospital by providing treatment which can be more easily carried out in their homes.

We conduct clinical trials of novel meningococcal and influenza vaccines, as well as clinical trials of novel treatments for HIV. We also conduct research to optimise uptake and monitoring of highly active antiretroviral therapy to patients with HIV infection in resource-poor settings. There is access to core facilities in proteomics and genomics, high quality cell biology, containment level 2 and containment level 3 laboratories.

We have a substantial base of Wellcome Trust, MRC and AMRC grant funding. Notably, the department includes one MRC and one Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and one Wellcome Intermediate Clinical Fellow. There are also a number of Clinical and Non-Clinical Research Fellows funded by MRC, Wellcome Trust, ARC and Kidney Research UK.

Our research

Research in respiratory medicine is focused on understanding mechanisms of inflammation in the context of lung diseases such as COPD, pulmonary hypertension, asthma, and interstitial lung disease. The University of Sheffield has the largest national centre for pulmonary vascular disease. The Academic Unit of Immunology and Infectious Disease has interests in bacterial pathogenicity and viral infections, and in macrophage responses to bacterial pathogens. Shared interests in the hypoxic regulation of innate immune mechanisms link the work of the Academic Units of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Rheumatology, and Inflammation and Tumour Targeting. The Academic Unit of Dermatology Research has a major interest in inflammatory skin disorders, eczema and psoriasis. Nephrology research is focused in two main areas: polycystic kidney disease and chronic kidney disease. There is extensive expertise in vertebrate and mammalian models of chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Our partnerships

We have a strong track record of high quality clinical and translational research and close collaborations with major industrial partners like AstraZeneca and GSK. There are strategic links to the MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics, an outstanding international centre for use of non- mammalian (zebrafish) models of human disease.

We host a Specialist Clinical Dermatology MD and Clinical Fellowship Scheme for the Kuwait and Libyan governments and have links to tropical medicine departments in Malawi and other African countries. We have strong links with the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology within the University of Sheffield, working on microbial pathogenesis of major infections such as MRSA and meningococcal meningitis. Professor David Fishwick is Clinical Director of the Centre for Workplace Health, a novel partnership between University of Sheffield, STHFT and the national Health and Safety Laboratories. This work covers clinical aspects of occupational asthma, including diagnostic criteria and a scientific focus on the role of biological agents, particularly LPS, in triggering allergic disease.


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