Professor Shanahan was educated in Australia and obtained a PhD in Genetics from the University of Adelaide. She began research in the field of cardiovascular medicine as a post-doctoral scientist in 1990 when she moved from Australia to the Biochemistry Department at the University of Cambridge UK. From 1995-2004 she was a British Heart Foundation Lecturer and in 2005 became a BHF Senior Fellow in the Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge. In 2007 she left Cambridge to take up the Chair of Cellular Signalling in the Cardiovascular Division at Kings College in London.
Professor Shanahan is currently a member of the British Atherosclerosis Society (BAS) and served on its committee from 2001-2004, is a nucleus member of the Atherosclerosis Working Group of the European Cardiac Society and is a member of the British Society of Cardiovascular Research (BSCR) and the North American Vascular Biology Organisation She is currently on the Editorial Boards of Circulation Research (2010-), Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (2002-), Current Cardiology Reviews (2006-) and Kidney International (2007-2013).
Professor Shanahan’s work focuses on mechanisms of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) dysfunction in ageing and disease. Her group has made a significant contribution to understanding the mechanisms of vascular calcification and has published over 80 papers and reviews in the field focussing on understanding the mechanisms of both medial and atherosclerotic, intimal calcification. More recently her work has addressed the role of VSMC ageing in mediating phenotypic changes that promote calcification. These studies have led to novel work highlighting a role for nuclear lamina dysfunction in the premature vascular ageing observed in patients with renal failure and diabetes.