Professor Stephen A Renshaw MA FRCP PhD

Professor of Respiratory Medicine


Academic Unit of Respiratory Medicine
Department of Infection and Immunity
K Floor
The University of Sheffield Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX

Tel:  +44 (0)114 222 2334
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 3892
Secretary:  Mrs Jenny Earl
Tel:  +44 (0)114 226 1458


I have been with the University of Sheffield since 1998. I studied medical sciences at Cambridge before moving to Oxford, where I qualified as a doctor in 1994. After a clinical rotation in Nottingham, I passed the MRCP exam and moved to Sheffield to take up a Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship, to work on the role of death receptor signalling in the regulation of neutrophil lifespan in inflammation with Professor Moira Whyte. I was awarded my PhD in 2001, and became Clinical Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine. In 2004 I was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship, to develop a zebrafish model of inflammation, and I was appointed honorary consultant at the same time. I have been able to develop a unique neutrophil-specific transgenic zebrafish which has allowed several novel advances, and have developed the zebrafish as a model for inflammatory diseases. In 2008 I was awarded an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship to continue these studies. We have a range of unique transgenic models in development, and have performed unbiased genetic and "chemical genetic" screens to help understand inflammation in vivo. In 2010 I was promoted to Reader.

Research Interests

Inflammatory diseases such as emphysema, asthma, heart disease and arthritis cause much illness in the developed world. We have little understanding of how the severe inflammation associated with something like pneumonia can completely resolve, while other sorts of inflammation persist with associated tissue damage. In fact, we know little of the processes that cause resolution of inflammation in any setting. There is considerable evidence that the main inflammatory cell, the neutrophil, turns itself off by a process called apoptosis (=programmed cell death), and is then recognised by macrophages and then removed. What triggers this process in neutrophils is not known. If we could find this out, we would be a step closer to understanding inflammatory disease, and might have new ideas about the sorts of treatments that might be successful. My work to date has studied these questions in primary human neutrophils, and I have particularly focused on the role of signaling through members of the Death Receptor family of proteins in regulating neutrophil lifespan. In order to fully explore the molecular events determining neutrophil lifespan, I have set up a model system in which the genes controlling resolution of inflammation can be identified. The model I have chosen is the Zebrafish, which is both genetically manipulable and transparent, leading to easy visualisation of neutrophils during development. I am currently studying inflammation in this system, and characterising how it resolves. This model allows me to test the ability of a range of candidate genes to influence the resolution of inflammation, and additionally to screen for novel genes involved in this process. These studies aim to identify the genes important in the resolution of inflammation, and so understand how this is dysregulated in chronic inflammatory disease.

Teaching Interests

  • I am lead for Respiratory Medicine Phase 2 and 2a and provide clinical input into respiratory teaching for Phase 1.
  • I give lectures to Medical Students, MSc students and Biomedical Science students on inflammatory and infectious lung diseases, pleural disease, genetics of respiratory disease and non-mammalian models for the study of inflammation.

Professional Activities

  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London
  • MRC Senior Clinical Fellow
  • MRC Industry Partnership award Holder
  • Clinical Subspeciality Lead for Pleural Disease, STHFT
  • Associate board member NIHR Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluation (EME) programme
  • Reviewer of manuscripts and grant applications

Current Projects

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


For key publications see below.  For a full list of publications click here.

Journal articles