Professor Sheena Cruickshank

Woman under pink lights laughing in a ball pit filled with white plastic ballsUniversity of Manchester

Twitter: @sheencr


UK-CIC Scientific Advisory Board Member

I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board which is responsible for providing independent advice to the Principal Investigator and the Management Team of UK-CIC.

Why and when did you become interested in studying immunology?

I became interested in science as a child when I would go rockpooling with my older brother. His passion for science was infectious and I thought that I would become a biologist. He, unfortunately, became unwell during his teens and this altered my interest because I wanted to understand why he was getting sick and why others did not. This led me to immunology, and I haven’t looked back!


What inspires you?

I am most inspired by the folk in the communities I work with as well as my friends and family. The questions they ask about my research help direct what I do. Also, seeing the incredible researchers around me spurs me on even more.


What are your challenges?

Time! I have a never-ending curiosity and I need to sometimes pull back to avoid overwhelming myself with too much work. My family helps me hugely as it’s important to spend quality time with them too.


What skills have you gained from outside academia that you use in your research?

The most common skill I use is how to have everyday conversations which I apply when talking with folks about my research. If you use jargon, people can switch off and you miss out on their insights and input.


What is your passion outside of research?

I love nature and going on walks with my dog and family, and I really enjoy seeing friends. I do love baking too and make all my own bread.


What does your average week look like?

Hugely variable! It usually involves research, engagement work, and teaching and that doesn’t include all the dog walks, mum taxi jobs and cooking/baking, etc.


What did 2020 mean to you?

2020 was the year I paused to take stock and think about my priorities. It’s been tough for everyone and I wanted to do what I could to contribute to the efforts to combat COVID. A big focus for me was communicating the science to hopefully help folks to feel better informed as well as combating some of the misinformation that has been circulating.