Fiona Leslie

Fiona Leslie


Fiona graduated in 2016 from Newcastle University with a BSc in Biomedical sciences. During this time Fiona developed a keen interest in immunology which lead her to undertake an MRes in Immunobiology investigating senescence and chemokine function in primary biliary cholangitis. Fiona joined the University of Leeds in October 2017 to undertake her PhD, under the supervision of Dr Laura Matthews, Professor Graham Cook and Dr Freek Van Eeden (University of Sheffield).

Research interests

Glucocorticoids (Gc) are the most potent anti-inflammatory agents known. After more than 50 years clinical use, synthetic Gcs remain the gold standard, and in many cases represent the first line treatment for a range of inflammatory diseases including asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, and are frequently prescribed to cancer patients as part of their therapy. Despite wide application, clinical utility is limited, as an individual patients’ sensitivity to Gc varies, and can diminish over time. 

Fionas' project will define how the cellular microenvironment modifies crosstalk between the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and the proinflammatory transcription factor NFkB, and the consequences to immune signaling in cancer. Fiona will test the effect of different matrix components on transcription factor crosstalk using relevant cancer and immune cell lines, primary human cells and in vivo models of inflammation. Through this Fiona will shed light on how the microenvironment controls immunity, and how these important anti-inflammatory drugs work in vivo.


  • MRes Immunobiology; Newcastle University. 2016-2017
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences; Newcastle University. 2013-2016

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's