Dr Francesco S di Giovine

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Medicine

+44 114 215 9523

Full contact details

Dr Francesco S di Giovine
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

I graduated in Medicine in the University of Florence (Italy) in 1982, and then entered Internal Medicine training. I was then a PhD student in the University of Edinburgh, where I completed a Ph.D (1988) in the Molecular Immunology Group, directed by Prof. Sir. Gordon W. Duff. Thesis title: The role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in Rheumatoid Arthritis (TNF and IL-1).

After a two years post-doctoral experience, in 1990 I was appointed Lecturer in the University of Sheffield and later Senior Lecturer. In year 2000 I have had a sabbatical experience in Prof. Phil Ingham´s lab, studying conditional transgenesis in zebrafish. Since year 2001 I have been the Director of the Genomic Facilities in this Faculty.

In the past I have worked on the biology, molecular biology and genetics of IL-1 and TNF in diseases. We first reported the presence of bioactive TNF in Rheumatoid joints in 1986 , and first reported a cytokine gene polymorphism in 1990. Our work pioneered the field of cytokine genetics, and established important genetic associations between IL-1 and TNF gene variants and several important inflammatory diseases. Of particular interests, we have reported association and/or linkage between the IL-1 gene cluster and periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and R.A. I am consequently a co-inventor of several international patents, based on clinical use of the predictive value of these haplotypes.

Research interests

My research interests now lay mainly in three areas:

  • Long-range mechanisms involved IL-1 locus co-regulation.
  • Functional implications of IL-1 locus variations.
  • Novel technologies for allelic discrimination.

We have recently proved that IL-1 cluster genes on chromosome 2 come in physical proximity during macrophage stimulation. We have identified putative Locus Control regions and will soon be testing locus function and possible epigenetic influence on activation.


Journal articles

Teaching interests

I teach biochemistry in the MBChB course (Phase Ia), and human genetic diseases (MED6003), cytokine biology and high-throughput technology to our Msc students (MEDT01). I am a SSC oordinator, and mark assignments and mini-theses in many of our postgraduate courses.

I am MBChB committee member for IICD, and mark Phase 3 SSC and Elective Reports MBChB routinely.

James Black Prize

In December 2016 I have been awarded the Sir James Black Award for Contributions to Drug Discovery, for my work leading to anti TNF therapies in Rheumatoid.