UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Elizabeth Shephard

Prof Elizabeth Shephard

Professorial Research Fellow

Structural & Molecular Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Dec 1979

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

Module organizer BIOC0005 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 BIOC0005.

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

Principal Fellow, Higher Education Academy

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. 


Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow |
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ05 - Recognised by the HEA as a Principal Fellow | 2018
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1982
University of the Witwatersrand
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1975
University of the Witwatersrand
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1973
University of the Witwatersrand
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1972