Professor Stephen A Renshaw


Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Sir Arthur Hall Professor of Medicine

Professor Steven Renshaw
Professor Steve Renshaw
+44 114 222 2334
+44 114 215 9574 (Medical School)

Full contact details

Professor Stephen A Renshaw
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

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I have worked for the University of Sheffield since 1998. I am the Sir Arthur Hall Professor of Medicine and Director of the Bateson Centre - a large cross-faculty research centre (former MRC Centre, 41PIs, over 130 members and active grant funding of over £30m).

I have important leadership roles in large cross-institution partnerships, including directing an MRC Doctoral Training Partnership across 4 major civic universities of the North of England – highly regarded as a model for student-led, cross-institutional, innovative postgraduate research training. I also have national and International leadership roles through membership of REF 2021 sub-panel 1, and through being a board member of Zebrafish Disease Models Society and principal organiser of Neutrophil 2020 – the foremost international neutrophil biology meeting.

I studied medicine at Cambridge and then at Oxford Clinical School. After a clinical rotation in Nottingham, I moved to Sheffield to take up a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship, to work on the regulation of neutrophil lifespan with Professor Moira Whyte.

After 3 years as Clinical Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine, I was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship to develop an innovative model of neutrophil biology in the transparent, genetically tractable larval zebrafish. I have been able to develop a number of unique transgenic zebrafish which have allowed several important advances in our understanding of inflammation biology and of host-pathogen interaction.

In 2008 I was awarded an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship and in 2014 an MRC Programme Grant to continue this work. I continue clinical work in Respiratory Medicine with a special interest in Interstitial Lung Disease associated with a range of multisystem diseases.

Research interests

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 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.

To improve our understanding, I have set up a model system in which the genes controlling regulation of innate immune cell function can be identified. The model I have chosen is the Zebrafish, which is both genetically manipulable and transparent, leading to easy visualisation of immune cells during infection and inflammation.

This model allows me to test the ability of a range of candidate genes to influence host-pathogen interaction and the resolution of inflammation, and additionally to screen for novel genes involved in this process. At the same time, I can see every immune cell during the whole of an infection or an inflammatory episode, where necessary imaging intracellular signalling events in real-time.

The small size of our model also lends itself to drug screening and this has identified several potential new therapies for immune disease.

Current projects

  • Identification of key regulatory pathways in inflammation resolution.
  • Non-mammalian models of host-pathogen interaction.
  • Identification of novel compounds targeting inflammation resolution using zebrafish in vivo screens.

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Professional activities
  • Director, The Bateson Centre.
  • Director, MRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Discovery Medicine North.
  • Deputy Director and Sheffield Lead, MRC SHIELD Antimicrobial Research Consortium.
  • MRC Programme Grant Holder.
  • Current sponsor of 3 Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellows, 1 Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellow and 1 European Leukodystrophy Association Fellow.
  • Board Member and co-chair of the Trainee Programme, Zebrafish Disease Models Society.
  • Principal Organiser, Neutrophil in Immunity Meeting 2020.
  • Research Excellence Framework, Subpanel Member.