Dr Karen Sisley[BSc PhD]

Senior LecturerTeam Photo

Department of Oncology & Metabolism,
The Medical School,
Beech Hill Road,
S10 2RX,

Office: EU21

Tel: +44 (0) 114 215 9061
Fax: +44 (0) 114 271 3314

Email: k.sisley@sheffield.ac.uk


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Having obtained my PhD from the University of Sheffield I continued to develop and expand my research interests into the genetics and behaviour of uveal melanoma.  Sheffield is one of three national centres for the treatment of uveal melanoma, and I have worked closely with Professor Ian Rennie to establish an active research group investigating how the genetic basis of uveal melanoma underpins its behaviour.  In recent years I have expanded my research interests to include sarcomas, another rare tumour, and whilst continuing to work with Professor Rennie, I am now working in collaboration with Professor Malcolm Reed to develop and expand research into the genetic basis of sarcomas.  As a consequence I have now established the Rare Tumour Research Group (RTRG) to allow cross fertilization of ideas and the development of strong working associations supporting all researchers working with me.

Research Interests

My research interests are the genetic and biological behaviour of uveal melanoma.  Initial studies have lead to a good understanding of some of the principle genetic changes in uveal melanoma and how they correlate and can be used to predict prognosis.  My research continues to investigate the genetic basis of uveal melanomas but has broadened in recent years to consider how the interaction with the environment affects the way these melanomas develop.  In addition I have become actively involved in investigating the genetic characterization of sarcoma and developing a molecular pathological classification suitable for all subtypes.

I am delighted to say that the National Eye Research Centre has secured a fundraising appeal on Radio 4 to raise funds for eye research, including our research into Uveal Melanoma. The broadcast is on Sunday 23rd August 7.55am and 9.26pm, repeated on Thursday 27th August at 3.27pm.

Teaching Interests

I am the course lead for Pathology on the undergraduate BMedSci Orthoptics course.  The course spans two academic years and covers the basis of Ophthalmic disease, its presentation and consequences.  In addition I offer a supportive role annually to up to 5 students in the second year of the MBChB degree course, who select to undertake their research attachment with the research group.  Following on from these attachments a number of students have subsequently chosen to continue their research under my supervision by undertaking a BMedSci.  I am also a regular supervisor of both MSc students from University of Sheffield and Hallam University.

Professional Activities

  • Regular reviewer for both Cancer and Ophthalmology journals.
  • Reviewer for national and international grants.

Current Projects

  • Understanding the aggressive behaviour of uveal melanoma, and the potential role that stem cells may have.
  • Determining the key genetic events in the development of uveal melanoma.
  • Investigating how the environment may influence the behaviour and development of uveal melanoma.
  • The molecular pathological classification of sarcomas.
  • Investigating how genetic defects influence sarcoma behaviour.

Within each project area are a number of smaller focussed research projects suitable for development as student projects, although funding is not currently available for these projects.  Interested students are welcome to contact me to discuss the possibilities of undertaking research with the RTRG.

Current PhD opportunities for funded applications are available by clicking here

Selected Publications

  1. Gravells P, Hoh L, Solovieva S, Patil A, Dudziec E, Rennie I G, Sisley K, Bryant HE (2013).  Reduced FANCD2 influences spontaneous SCE and RAD51 fociformation in uveal melanoma and Fanconi anaemia.  Oncogene 32;46:5338-46
  2. Gravells P, Hoh L, Canovas D, Rennie I G, Sisley K, Bryant HE (2011).  Resistance of uveal melanoma to the interstrand cross-linking agent mitomycin C is associated with reduced expression of CYP450R.  Br J Cancer 104;7: 1098-105
  3. Hoh L, Gravells P, Canovas D, Ul-Hassan A, Rennie I G, Bryant H, Sisley K (2011).  Atypically low spontaneous sister chromatid exchange formation in uveal melanoma.  Genes Chromosomes Cancer 50;1:34-42
  4. Ul-Hassan A, Sisley K, Hughes D, Hammond D, Robinson M, Reed M (2009). Common genetic changes in leiomyosarcoma and GIST – implication for ATM involvement. International Journal of Experimental Pathology 90: 549-557
  5. Mudhar HS, Saunders E, Rennie IG, Rundle P, Sisley K (2009). The in-vivo modulatory effects of an anterior chamber microenvironment on uveal melanoma. Br J Ophthalmol 93: 535-540. Epub 2008 Nov 19
  6. Canovas D, Rennie IG, Nichols C, Sisley K (2008). Local environmental influences on uveal melanoma: The vitreous humor promotes uveal melanoma invasion, whilst the aqueous can be inhibitory. Cancer 112:1787-1794.
  7. Sisley K, Tattersall N, Dyson M, Smith K, Mudhar HS, Rennie IG (2006). Multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization identifies novel rearrangements of chromosomes 6, 15, and 18 in primary uveal melanoma. Exp Eye Res 83: 554-559.
  8. Patel KA, Edmondson ND, Talbot F, Parsons MA, Rennie IG, Sisley K (2001). Prediction of prognosis in patients with uveal melanoma using fluorescence in situ hybridization. Br J Ophthalmol 85: 1440-1444.

We would like to thank all our funders for supporting our research.