Shelley Gorman

Al & Val Rosenstrauss Research Fellow, Inflammation

BSc (Hons), PhD


T 08 9489 7884

Shelley Gorman

I am a Senior Research Fellow based at the Telethon Kids Institute with expertise in the effects of sun exposure and vitamin D on health. I investigate the mechanisms by which ultraviolet radiation modulates metabolic dysfunction, inflammation, and immunity. My expertise lies in establishing physiologically relevant animal disease models. My published findings have provided evidence for many ongoing clinical trials that test whether vitamin D supplementation can intervene in the progression of autoimmune and allergic disease. My research has identified that low dose sun exposure or induced mediators like nitric oxide could be used to treat obesity and associated cardiometabolic disorders like type-2 diabetes. My current research program involves the supervision and mentoring of PhD, Honours and MD students, as well as a number of student volunteers. I lecture third year BSc students as part of the School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (University of Western Australia) curriculum.


Specific areas of research expertise

Sunlight, and in particular ultraviolet radiation, is essential for life, and has shaped the way organisms acquire energy and synthesize essential mediators like vitamin D. While we have evolved under the influence of sunlight, our lifestyles have dramatically changed in recent times, perhaps paradoxically contributing to the high prevalence of many 'westernised' disorders. These include obesity and diabetes, diseases now classified as national health priorities. 

As a researcher my future is committed to the major international efforts to combat these chronic diseases by generating new knowledge. I wish to better understand the influence that sun exposure has on our health (both the good and the bad) and its potential to be used as part of therapies or preventative strategies to reduce the health and economic burden of these 'lifestyle' diseases, through modulation of metabolic and immune function.

Research publications

Invited Reviews

  1. Hart PH, Gorman S, Finlay-Jones JJ (2011). Modulation of the immune system by UV radiation: more than just effects of vitamin D? Nature Reviews Immunology 11: 584-96

  2. Gorman S, Hart PH (2012). The current state of play of rodent models to study the role of vitamin D in UV-induced immunomodulation. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 11, 1788-96

  3. Hart PH, Gorman S (2013). Exposure to UV wavelengths in sunlight suppresses immunity. To what extent is UV-induced vitamin D3 the mediator responsible? The Clinical Biochemist Reviews 34: 3-13

  4. Lucas RM, Gorman S, Geldenhuys S, and Hart PH (2014). Vitamin D and Immunity. F1000 Prime Reports 2014; 6(118)

  5. Gorman S, Black LJ, Feelisch M, Hart PH, Weller R (2015). Can skin exposure to sunlight prevent liver inflammation? Nutrients 7:3219-39

Journal Articles

  1. Gorman S, Tan JW, Thomas JA, Townley SL, Stumbles PA, Finlay-Jones JJ, Hart PH (2005). Primary defect in UVB-induced systemic immunomodulation does not relate to immature or functionally impaired APCs in regional lymph nodes.  Journal of Immunology 174, 6677-6685

  2. Farroway LN, Gorman S, Lawson MA, Harvey NL, Jones DA, Shellam GR, Singleton GR (2005). Transmission of two Australian strains of murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) in enclosure populations of house mice (Mus domesticus). Epidemiology and Infection 133, 701-710

  3. Gorman S, Harvey NL, Moro D, Lloyd ML, Voigt V, Smith LM, Lawson MA, Shellam GR (2006). Mixed infection with multiple strains of murine cytomegalovirus occurs following simultaneous or sequential infection of immunocompetent mice. Journal of General Virology 87, 1123-1132

  4. Gorman S, Tan JW, Yerkovich ST, Finlay-Jones JJ, Hart PH (2007). CD4+ T regulatory cells in lymph nodes of UVB-irradiated mice suppress immune responses to new antigens both in vitro and in vivo.  Journal of Investigative Dermatology 127, 915-924

  5. McGlade JP, Gorman S, Lenzo JC, Tan JW, Watanabe T, Finlay-Jones JJ, Thomas WR, Hart PH (2007).  Effect of both UVB irradiation and histamine receptor function on allergic responses to an inhaled antigen.  Journal of Immunology 178, 2794-802

  6. McGlade JP, Gorman S, Zosky GR, Larcombe AN, Sly PD, Finlay-Jones JJ, Turner DJ, Hart PH (2007). Suppression of the asthmatic phenotype by UVB-induced, antigen-specific regulatory cells.  Clinical and Experimental Allergy 37:1267-1276 with accompanying editorial comment

  7. Gorman S, Kuritzky LA, Judge MA, Dixon KM, McGlade JP, Mason RS, Finlay-Jones JJ, Hart PH (2007).  Topically-applied 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 enhances the suppressive activity of CD4+CD25+ cells in the draining lymph nodes.  Journal of Immunology 179:6273-6283

  8. Gorman S, Lloyd ML, Smith LM, McWhorter AR, Lawson MA, Redwood AJ, Shellam GR (2008). Prior infection with murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) limits the immunocontraceptive effects of an MCMV vector expressing the mouse zona-pellucida-3 protein.  Vaccine 26: 3860-3869

  9. McGlade, JP, Strickland DH, Lambert MJM, Gorman S, Thomas JA, Judge MA, Burchell J, Zosky G, Hart PH (2010). UV inhibits allergic airways disease in mice by reducing effector CD4+ T cells. Clinical and Experimental Allergy 40:772-85

  10. Gorman S*, McGlade JP*, Lambert MJM, Strickland DH, Thomas JA, Hart PH (2010). UV exposure and protection against allergic airways disease. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 9:571-577 *Joint 1st authors.

  11. Gorman S, Judge MA, Burchell JT, Turner DJ, Hart PH (2010). 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 enhances the ability of transferred CD4+CD25+ cells to modulate T helper type 2-driven asthmatic responses.  Immunology 130:181-92

  12. Gorman S, Judge MA, Hart PH (2010). Immune-modifying properties of topical vitamin D: focus on dendritic cells and T cells. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 121:247-9

  13. Gorman S, Judge MA, Hart PH (2010). Gene regulation by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in CD4+CD25+ cells is enabled by IL-2.  Journal of Investigative Dermatology 130:2368-76

  14. Gorman S, Judge MA, Hart PH (2010). Topical 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 subverts the priming ability of draining lymph node dendritic cells. Immunology 131:415-25

  15. Ng RL, Bisley JL, Gorman S, Norval M, Hart PH (2010). Ultraviolet irradiation of mice reduces the competency of bone marrow-derived CD11c+ cells via an indomethacin-inhibitable pathway. Journal of Immunology 185:7207-15

  16. Zosky G, Berry LJ, Elliot JG, James AL, Gorman S, Hart PH (2011). Vitamin D deficiency causes deficits in lung function and alters lung structure. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 183: 1336-43 (with accompanying editorial comment

  17. Scott NM, Lambert MJM, Gorman S, McGlade JP, Hart PH (2011). Differences in control by UV radiation of inflammatory airways disease in naive and allergen-presensitised mice. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, 10, 1894-901

  18. Gorman S, Tan DHW, Lambert MJM, Scott NM, Judge MA, Hart PH (2012). Vitamin D3 deficiency enhances allergen-induced lymphocyte responses in a mouse model of allergic airway disease.  Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 23, 83-7 with accompanying editorial comment

  19. Scott NM, Ng RN, Strickland DH, Bazely S, Gorman S, Norval M, Hart PH (2012). Towards homeostasis: Regulatory dendritic cells from the bone marrow of mice with inflammation of the airways and peritoneal cavity.  American Journal of Pathology 181, 535-47

  20. Gorman S, Scott NM, Tan DHW, Weeden CE, Tuckey RC, Bisley RL, Grimbaldeston MA, Hart PH (2012). Acute erythemal ultraviolet radiation causes systemic immunosuppression in the absence of increased 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels in male mice. PLoS ONE, 7, e46006

  21. ClarkeMW, TuckeyRC, Gorman S, Holt B, Hart PH (2013). Optimized 25 hydroxy vitamin D analysis using liquid-liquid extraction with 2D separation with LCMS/MS detection, prRobovides superior precision compared to conventional assays. Metabolomics 9, 1031-40

  22. Ng RL, Scott NM, Bisley JL, Strickland DH, Gorman S, Grimbaldeston MA, Norval M, Waithman J, Hart PH (2013). Altered immunity and dendritic cell activity in the periphery of mice after long-term engraftment with bone marrow from UV-irradiated mice. Journal of Immunology 190: 5471-5484

  23. Gorman S, Weeden CE, Tan DHW, Scott NM, Hart J, Foong RE, Mok D, Stephens N, Zosky G, Hart PH (2013). Reversible Control by Vitamin D of Granulocytes and Bacteria in the Lungs of Mice: An Ovalbumin-Induced Model of Allergic Airway Disease. PLoS ONE 8, e67823

  24. Ng RL, Scott N, Bisley J Lambert M, Gorman, S, Norval M, Hart PH (2013). Characterisation of regulatory dendritic cells differentiated from the bone marrow of UV-irradiated mice. Immunology 140:399-412

  25. Scott NM, Ng RLX, Gorman S, Norval M, Strickland DH, Waithman J, Hart PH (2013). Prostaglandin E2 imprints a long-lasting effect on dendritic cell progenitors in the bone marrow. Journal of Leukocyte Biology 95: 225-32 with accompanying editorial comment

  26. Robinson M, Whitehouse AJO, Newnham JP, Gorman S, Jacoby P, Holt BJ, Serralha M, Tearne JE, Holt PG, Hart PH, Kusel MMH (2014). Low maternal serum vitamin D during pregnancy and the risk for postpartum depression symptoms. Archives of Women's Mental Health 17:213-219

  27. Foong RE, Shaw NC, Berry LJ, Hart PH, Gorman S, Zosky GR (2014). Vitamin D deficiency causes airway hyperresponsiveness, increases airway smooth muscle mass and reduces TGF-β expression in the lungs of female BALB/c mice. Physiological Reports 2:e00276

  28. Geldenhuys S, Hart PH, Endersby RE, Jacoby PR, Feelisch M, Weller RB, Matthews V, Gorman S (2014). Ultraviolet radiation suppresses obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome independently of vitamin D in mice fed a high fat diet. Diabetes 63: 3759-69(IF=8.4). Accompanied by substantial media coverage on >70 online news outlets

  29. Hartley M, Hoare S, Lithander FE, Neale RE, Hart PH, Gorman S, Gies P, Sherriff J, Swaminathan A, Beilin LJ, Mori TA, King L, Black LJ, Marshall K, Xiang F, Wyatt C, King K, Slevin T and Lucas RM (2015). The effects of sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D insufficiency, and immune and cardio-metabolic function: The Sun Exposure and Vitamin D Supplementation (SEDS) Study. BMC Public Health 15: 115

  30. Foong RE, Bosco A, Jones AC, Gout A, Gorman S, Hart PH, Zosky GR (accepted 31st March 2015). In utero vitamin D deficiency increases airway smooth muscle mass and impairs lung function. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol

  31. Scott NM, Ng R, McGonigle T, Gorman S, Hart PH (accepted 21st August 2015). Reduced immune responses in chimeric mice engrafted with bone marrow cells from mice with airways inflammation Inflammation Res

Book Chapters

  1. Shellam GR, Redwood AJ, Smith LM and Gorman S (2007). Chapter 1: Murine Cytomegalovirus and other Herpesviruses, pp. 1-48. In: The Mouse in Biomedical Research.  2nd Ed. Vol II. Edited by Fox JG, Barthold S, Newcomer C, Smith A, Quimby F and Davisson M (Elsevier; Academic Press)

  2. Hart PH, Finlay-Jones JJ, Gorman S (2009).  Chapter 14: Photoneuroimmunology: Modulation of the Neuroimmune system by UV radiation, pp. 125-136. In: Neuroimmunology of the Skin: Basic Science to Clinical Relevance.  Edited by Granstein RD and Luger T (Springer)

  3. Gorman S and Hart PH (2011).  Chapter 7: Immune mechanisms by which topically applied vitamin D acts as a therapeutic agent, pp. 167-181.  In: Vitamin D: Biochemistry, Nutrition and Roles.  Edited by William J Stackhouse (Nova Science Publishers)

  4. Gorman S, Hart PH (2011). Chapter 26: Immune mechanisms by which topically applied vitamin D acts as a therapeutic agent, p. 512-22 In: Encyclopedia of Vitamin Research. Edited by J Mayer (Nova Science Publishers)

  5. Hart PH, Gorman S (2012). Chapter 13: Immune modulation by UV: Role of vitamin D, 225-238. In: Handbook of vitamin D in human health. Edited by Mike Jacobs (Wageningen Academic Publishers)

Letters to the editor

  1. Feelisch M, Gorman S, Weller R (2014). Vitamin D and cardiovascular risk: are we barking up the wrong tree? The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 2:e8

Invited presentations
  1. Department of Pathology Lecture Series, Royal Perth Hospital (Perth, July 2006). UVB before the antigen attack!

  2. The Australasian Society for Immunology Lecture Series (WA Branch, Perth, May 2007). Does vitamin D production in the skin of UV-irradiated mice activate regulatory T cells?

  3. The Australian Health and Medical Research Congress (Brisbane, November 2008).  Topical 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 increases the ability of CD4+CD25+ cells to regulate respiratory inflammation via IL-2 secretion.

  4. Department of Microbiology and Immunology Seminar Series, University of Western Australia (Perth, May 2009).  Immunoregulation by vitamin D: in excess and deficiency.

  5. Department of Pathology Lecture Series, Royal Perth Hospital (Perth, June 2009).  Immunoregulation by vitamin D: in excess and deficiency.

  6. Lung Research Group Seminar Program, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (Perth, August 2009).  Vitamin D deficiency and asthma.

  7. Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Endocrinology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (Leuven, Belgium, October 2009).  Topical vitamin D and dendritic cells.

  8. Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Seminar Series University of Western Australia (Perth, May 2012). UVR-induced vitamin D: essential for immunoregulation?

  9. Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney (Sydney, May 2012). UVR-induced vitamin D: essential for immunoregulation?

  10. Telethon Kids Institute Early Careers Researchers Retreat (Perth, June 2012). My experience as a part of an NHMRC Grant Review Panel.

  11. The 23rd Combined Biological Sciences Meeting (Perth, August 2012). Sunlight, inflammation and obesity-related metabolic disease: a hypothesis.

  12. Edith Cowan University, School of Medical Sciences (Perth, September 2012). Sunlight, vitamin D and immunity: converging and diverging regulatory pathways.

  13. The Australian Health and Medical Research Congress (Adelaide, November 2012). 'D'-ssecting the immune mechanisms by which ultraviolet radiation and vitamin D control asthma.

  14. The National Youth Science Forum (Perth, January 2013). Your life - your contribution.

  15. Mini-Symposium on Microbiome-DOHaD Interactions (Perth, February 2013). Effects of vitamin D and other exogenous immunomodulators and antimicrobials on the microbiome.

  16. School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Seminar Series Royal Perth Hospital (Perth, April 2013). Skin-specific effects of vitamin D on immunity.

  17. Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Molecular Medicine Seminar (Melbourne, June 2013). More than just vitamin D? Investigating the effects of sunlight-derived ultraviolet radiation on immunity.

  18. The Inaugural Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Society of Australia and New Zealand Meeting (Perth, April 2014). Does vitamin D really have any role in autoimmunity or allergy?

  19. The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Endocrine Society (Melbourne, August 2014). Tissue-specific effects: Vitamin D action in the immune system.

  20. Princess Margaret Hospital CLASP (Changes in Lifestyle are Successful in Partnership) Team meeting (Perth, Feb 2015). Low dose sunlight exposure: A possible add-on intervention for very obese children and adolescents in the CLASP program?

  21. School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology Seminar Series (Perth, May 2015). Could sunlight be harnessed to suppress the development of obesity?

  22. D-Light Symposium (Perth, September 2015). Sunlight, nitric oxide and obesity: investigating mechanisms by which ultraviolet radiation suppresses signs of obesity and metabolic dysfunction

  23. Asthma Foundation of Western Australia, Asthma Seminars for Health Professionals (Perth, October 2015). TBA

  24. Australia and New Zealand Bone Mineral Society, Molecular Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia and Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand conjoint Annual Scientific Meeting (Hobart, November 2015). Could sun exposure be used to control obesity? Vitamin D-dependent and -independent effects.

  25. University of Tasmania, Respiratory Medicine (Hobart, November 2015). Sun exposure and asthma: beyond vitamin D.


Vice President, Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia

  1. Young Tall Poppy Award (WA finalist, 2015).

  2. Travel award from Telethon Kids Institute as part of Research Leadership Program (to present at Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, 2013)

  3. Travel award from Telethon Kids Institute (1st Early-Mid Career Researchers Forum, Canberra, 2012)

  4. Nature Publication Award (UWA, 2011)

  5. International Post-doctoral Travel Award from The Australasian Society for Immunology (14th Vitamin D Workshop, Brugge, Belgium, 2009).

  6. Travel grant from The Contribution to Australian Science and Scholarship Foundation (34th American Society for Photobiology Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 2008).

  7. Oral presentation award (Australasian Society for Immunology, 1st Perth Immunology Group Meeting, 2008).

  8. Travel fellowship from the European Society for Dermatological Research (37th Annual Society for Dermatological Research Meeting, Zurich, Switzerland, 2007).

  9. Travel fellowship from the European Society for Photobiology (12th Congress of the European Society for Photobiology, Bath, England, 2007).

  10. Best question prize (Australasian Society for Immunology Workshop, WA Branch, 2007).

  11. Travel award from the Friends of the Institute (Keystone Symposia on Regulatory T cells, Vancouver, 2007).

  12. Travel bursary from UWA(Keystone Symposia on Regulatory T cells, Vancouver, 2007).

  13. Telethon Kids Institute Qantas New Investigator Award (Sole recipient, 2006).

  14. Travel stipend from the UWA (27th International Herpesvirus Workshop, Cairns, 2002).

  15. Travel award from Pest Animal Control CRC (27th International Herpesvirus Workshop, 2002

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