Life Sciences for Health at the University of Sheffield

We're realising our ambitions to address global health issues by growing the scale of research activities in discovery biology and translational medicine.

Our research is across three health and disease areas, which are underpinned by our expertise and capability in six areas of fundamental science and use of technology.

Life Sciences for Health at the University of Sheffield



We are a world leading centre for neuroscience research with expertise that spans the fundamental biology of sensory systems, advanced neuroimaging of complex processes to the development of clinical treatments for neurological diseases.

Our centre of excellence for sensory neuroscience research focuses on auditory neuroscience, somatosensation, vision and pain through an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to understanding and treating sensory systems.

Neuroimaging research is an interdisciplinary activity area of focus used to help us understand complex neurological processes in health and disease, spanning levels of detail from individual cells to whole brain and behaviour.

Our programmes of discovery neuroscience and translational studies at the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) in collaboration with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust integrate early clinical translation of stratification tools, new biomarkers and novel disease-modifying therapies in motor neuron disease Parkinson's disease, dementia, cerebrovascular disease and multiple sclerosis.

Bone, oncology, metabolism

Bone, oncology, metabolism

Sheffield is recognised for its translational development in bone biology and oncology, and specifically the combination of those areas in the understanding of the metastatic microenvironment for tumour spread.

Our growing developments in the basic science of bone and the tumour microenvironment of tumour metastasis will deliver new clinical impacts and patient benefits.

Research expertise also spans ageing and regenerative biology, endocrine function, dysfunction and medicine, and musculoskeletal pathologies, all of which translation through to patient treatments in the areas of diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers, predictive medicine, drug target identification, lead candidate development and clinical trials.

Cardio-pulmonary and infection

Cardio-pulmonary and infection

Sheffield is developing renowned expertise and critical research mass across a range and clinical conditions including cardio-pulmonary diseases and infection. Key expertise in innate immunity underpins investigation of both cardiac and respiratory disease, as well as informing work at the Florey Institute for Host-Pathogen Interaction.

Drug resistance and rapidly evolving bacterial pathogens are serious global health issues with traditional ways of treating these pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, becoming increasingly ineffective.

Challenging this approach, the Florey Institute forges powerful partnerships between clinicians and researchers across wide scientific backgrounds to develop radical solutions.

Our research interests also span world-leading expertise in imaging of lung disease and in the biology of pulmonary hypertension, bridging the interface between cardiology and respiratory medicine and developing the clinical academics of the future through our training programmes.

Scientific focus areas

Lifecourse Biology (Bateson Centre)

Lifecourse Biology is the study of the changes that occur throughout life, particularly the processes of growth, remodelling, degeneration and repair.

Understanding these processes will help us understand the arc of human existence: from a single cell, through healthy childhood and adulthood and into ageing and degeneration. The same processes recur throughout the lifecourse, so we aim to link together our expertise in development and apply this to ageing and degeneration.

Lifecourse Biology is a multidisciplinary field, built on whole organism physiology and in vivo imaging at the interface of developmental biology with cell biology, stem cell biology, imaging, mathematical modelling and most importantly with translational biomedicine. It encompasses human development and ageing, as well as how environmental and cellular stresses influence growth, remodelling, degeneration and repair.

We use innovative interdisciplinary biology approaches to help understand fundamental biological processes and then use our strong clinical links to translate this new understanding to improvements in human health.

Lifecourse biology/Bateson Centre

Sheffield Institute for Nucleic Acid (SInFoNiA)

All life depends on nucleic acid to store genetic information in nuclear genomic DNA and to transmit information in the form of RNA to the cytoplasm for translation into proteins. Some nucleic acids (such as small interfering RNAs) are also critical to regulating gene expression and other forms of RNA support a wide range of metabolic processes.

We study the very fundamentals of how nucleic acid make cells work, with a particular interest in the systems cells use to combat errors in nucleic acid driven pathways.

When DNA or RNA fail to function correctly, a huge range of diseases can follow, including cancer and an increasingly large group of RNAopathies that include neurodegenerative disorders such as motor neuron disease.

Our experimental biologists and bioinformaticians are using their deep insights in molecular biology and gene networks to discover new ways of intervention to improve the life of patients suffering due to nucleic acid dysfunction. This includes working with clinicians to develop more precise diagnoses, better biomarkers and potential treatment regimes.

Sheffield Institute For Nucleic Acids (SInFoNiA)

In Silico and Predictive Medicine (Insigneo)

The Insigneo Institute for In Silico Medicine is a collaborative initiative between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The institute came into existence on 28 May 2012, distributing its charter and registering its first members.

Multi-disciplinary in its structure, the institute involves 139 academics and clinicians who collaborate to develop computer simulations of the human body and its disease processes that can be used directly in clinical practice to improve diagnosis and treatment. Unique within Europe, Insigneo will provide observational (information management), quantification and modelling expertise to develop predictive medicine tools across our health-care themes.

Insigneo Institute for In Silico Medicine

Imaging Life (Imagine)

This theme is covered by the Imagine:Imaging Life initiative that uses super resolution imaging techniques to help us to understand life in unprecedented detail.

We are bringing together three fundamentally different, but complementary, advanced imaging techniques and applying these techniques to solve global issues in medicine, biology and healthcare.

By combining and harnessing key advances in optical, electron and atomic force microscopy, we can delve deeper into the detailed architecture and cellular interactions of biological systems.

Imaging: Imaging Life

Technologies for Health and Wellbeing (CATCH)

The Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) carries out research into technologies for health and wellbeing, bringing together over 70 academics from 17 departments in the university with a core group of over 30 research staff, including healthcare scientists, engineers, psychologists, computer scientists and social scientists.

Our aim is to transform the ways in which people are enabled to live well and age well through the application of ubiquitous and personalised technology. Our work includes research into healthcare, self-managed health and rehabilitation, cognitive and mental wellbeing and independent living, applying world-leading research in assistive robotics, intelligent personalised support, human communication technologies and complex behavioural interventions.

Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare

School of Health and Related Research

ScHARR is an International Centre of Excellence for Health Technology Assessment (HTA), Health Economic and Decision Modelling, Health Services Research, and Public Health.

It has has over 20 years' experience of providing worldwide knowledge transfer activities in the health and social care sector and tackles some of the world’s biggest health challenges to improve the health and care of people in the UK and around the world.

The result of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) have been published and have confirmed ScHARR as being home to world-leading health research. ScHARR is ranked 4th in the UK for the power of health research.