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Prof Elizabeth Shephard
Department of Structural and Molecular Biology
Tel: 2076792321
Prof Elizabeth Shephard profile picture
  • Professorial Research Fellow
  • Structural & Molecular Biology
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Themes
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 not only in drug and foreign chemical metabolism but also in energy metabolism. FMOs 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 primary trimethylaminuria, which arises because bacteria in the gut break down some dietary constituents and in the process release trimethylamine. Mutations in the FMO3 gene prevent conversion of odorous trimethylamine to its non-odorous N-oxide. The disorder manifests in the excretion of large amounts of trimethylamine in the breath, sweat and urine.

Trimethylaminuria Gene reviews

trimethyalminuria clinical utility gene card

Talks on trimethylaminuria and FMO3 can be accessed through the blog of the patient advocacy group MEBO  using the following links. The talks were presented at: MEBO Washington DC Conference, 2011; MEBO Miami Beach Conference 2012; MEBO Miami Beach Conference 2017.

FMO3 enzyme and Trimethylaminuria

Pharmacogenetics and Personalised Medicine


Teaching Summary

Co-author of first, second ,third and fourth editions of Cell Biology:A short course.

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

Principal Fellow, Higher Education Academy 2018

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

Academic Background
2018   ATQ05 - Recognised by the HEA as a Principal Fellow University College London
1982   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1973   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of the Witwatersrand
1972   Bachelor of Science University of the Witwatersrand
    ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow  
1975   Master of Science University of the Witwatersrand
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