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Prof Elizabeth Shephard
Department of Structural and Molecular Biology
Tel: 2076792321
  • Professorial Research Associate
  • Structural & Molecular Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
  • Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Summary

Research is focussed on the so-called drug metabolizing enzyme (DME) families, flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMOs) and cytochromes P-450 (CYPs). DMEs make it possible for an organism to be exposed to foreign chemicals e.g. therapeutic drugs, environmental pollutants, dietary components and plant products and to respond by metabolising such compounds to allow their clearance from the body. Using knockout models we have identified key roles for FMOs in energy metabolism. These DMEs therefore have a dual role both in xenobiotic and endogenous metabolism. The biochemical consequences of genetic variation within these DME gene families for drug therapy and human health are of particular interest.  Our research includes also studies of the perceptions of the clinical profession and the public in the use of medical therapies based on personalised genetic profiles (pharmacogenetics).  

Of special interest is the genetic disorder trimethylaminuria, which arises because bacteria in the gut break down dietary choline and in the process release trimethylamine. Mutations in the FMO3 gene prevent conversion of odorous trimethylamine to its non-odorous N-oxide. The disorder therefore manifests in the excretion of large amounts of trimethylamine in the breath, sweat and urine. Individuals with the disorder are subject to difficulties in their personal and work lives. 

Resources for trimethylaminuria can be accessed through the following links. 

Trimethylaminuria Gene reviews

trimethyalminuria clinical utility gene card

Trimethylaminuria NIH Office Rare diseases_NORD

Talks on trimethylaminuria and FMO3 can be accessed through the MEBO blog using the following link.

FMO3 bugs, genes and drugs

Media events:  BBC World Srvice TMAU     Radio Cardiff_Pythagoras Trousers_TMAU       

Teaching Summary

Module organizer BIOC2001 Molecular Biology. Co-director MSc Pharmacogenetics and Stratified Medicine. I have a long standing interest in developing teaching methods that improve student understanding and encourage interest thus enhancing the learning experience and that allow effective and efficient teaching and assessment. Novel computer-based interactive engagement tutorials have been developed to enhance numerical, practical and subject-based conceptual skills in several modules, including BIOC2001. The interactive engagement activities are now used by about 20% of UCL's students in 3 Faculties. A selection of the interactive tutorials can be viewed at  http://www.brightida.com

Vice-Dean, Education, Faculty Life Sciences 2010-2015

Teaching-related Awards

Provost's Teaching Award 2014; Top Teacher Award 2011/12; Top Teacher Award 2010/11; Top Teacher Award 2009/10; Provost's Teaching Award 2007; Faculty Life Science, Teaching Award 2004

First prize e-learning book category. 
Cell Biology: A Short Course 2nd e, Bolsover, S. Hyams, J. Shephard, E.A. Weideman, C. White, H.

Cell Biology: A Short Course (Bolosver, S., Shephard, E.A., White, H. and Hyams, J.)  is now in its 3rd edition (2011). This textbook has been translated into French, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean and Japanese. 

Academic Background
1982 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Biochemistry University College London
1975 MSc Master of Science – Biochemistry University of the Witwatersrand
1973 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Biochemistry University of the Witwatersrand
1972 BSc Bachelor of Science – Chemistry and Biochemistry University of the Witwatersrand
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