Karen SisleyDr Karen Sisley BSc PhD

Senior Lecturer

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

Office: EU21

Tel: +44 (0) 114 215 9061
Email: k.sisley@sheffield.ac.uk


Having obtained my PhD from the University of Sheffield in 1992, I continued my active research into rare tumours and as Senior Lecturer I am the lead of the Rare Tumour Research Group (RTRG) with a main focus on ocular tumours and sarcoma.

Research InterestsKaren Sisley Graphic

My research interests are the genetic and biological behaviour of uveal melanoma.  Sheffield is one of three national centres for the treatment of uveal melanoma, and I work closely with Professor Ian Rennie and the Sheffield Ocular Oncology Service to establish an active research group investigating how the genetic basis of uveal melanoma underpins its behaviour. As a group we were instrumental in the introduction of genetic biomarker testing for uveal melanoma and actively continue our investigations in this area. I am also interested in the DNA damage response of uveal melanomas and how we can facilitate new and novel therapeutics. 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. I also collaborate and work on another rare tumour, sarcoma and have become actively involved in investigating the genetic characterization of sarcoma and developing a molecular pathological classification suitable for all subtypes.  As a group, we also have an interest in cancer stem cells and the heterogeneity of tumours.

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 and a pesonal tutor for MSc, PhD and medical students.

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.

I currently have no PhD opportunities available until 2020, but any available vacancies can be found here

Selected Publications

  1. Doherty RE, Bryant HE, Valluru MK, Rennie IG & Sisley K (2019) Increased non-homologous end joining makes DNA-PK a promising target for therapeutic intervention in uveal melanoma. Cancers, 11(9).
  2. Mudhar HS, Doherty RE, Salvi SM, Currie ZI, Tan JH & Sisley K (2018) Genetic profiling of primary orbital melanoma-an analysis of 6 cases with clinico-pathological correlation. Ophthalmology.
  3. Van Poppelen NM, Vaarwater J, Mudhar HS, Sisley K, Rennie IG, Rundle P, Brands T, Mensink H, de Klein A, Kilic̀§, Verdijk RM (2018). The genetic background of iris melanomas and Nevi. Ophthalmology (in press).
  4. Doherty RE, Sisley K, Hammond DW, Rennie IG, Cross NA (2017). Phenotypic plasticity in uveal melanoma is not restricted to a tumour subpopulation and is unrelated to stem cell characteristics. Invest Ophthamol Vis Sci 58: 5387- 5395. Doi:10.1167/i0vs.17-22272.
  5. Khedar S, Sisley K, Hadad S, Balasubramanian SP (2017). Effects of prolonged exposure to low dose metformin in thyroid cancer cell lines. Journal of Cancer 8: 1053-1061. Doi:10.7150/jca.16584
  6. Salawu A, Fernando M, Hughes D, Reed MW, Woll P, Greaves C, Day C, Alhajimohammed M, Sisley K (2016). Establishment and characterization of seven novel soft-tissue sarcoma cell lines. Br J Cancer doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.259. [epub ahead of print]

For a full list of publications please visit myPublications

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