Meet Dr Jill Shepherd, programme director for Biomedical Sciences. Dr Shepherd studied Biology at the University of Georgia (USA), where she developed interests in cell biology and biomedical ethics before joining the University of Sheffield Centre for Stem Cell Biology in 2006 to undertake a PhD with Professor Harry Moore. Dr Shepherd has held post-doctoral research positions at the University of Sheffield Medical School Department of Neuroscience and The University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience (Brisbane). Her PhD and post-doctoral research focussed on applying transcriptomics techniques to interrogate pluripotency and differentiation within the context of in vitro stem cell systems and disease models. Along with colleagues at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, she was a founding developer of the Stemformatics portal, an ongoing collaboration between computational biologists and stem cell scientists aimed at increasing the accessibility and use of public stem cell ‘-omics’ datasets to explore novel research questions.
Wishing to pursue her long-standing interest in biomedical ethics relating to stem cells, Dr Shepherd moved from academia into government, spending five years at the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), a national regulator of cell therapies and regenerative medicine. Whilst with the HTA she focussed primarily on regenerative medicine regulatory policy, working within the NHS and international stakeholders. Key projects included publishing public-facing guidance on cord blood stem cell banking practice and working with the US FDA to advise US and UK cell therapy developers on European legislation around importing tissues and cells for patient treatment.
Dr Shepherd returned to academia in 2018, joining the School of Biosciences where she is currently a Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology and Programme Lead for the BSc Biomedical Science.
Dr Shepherd’s maintains research interests in stem cell genomics, issues around patient access to cellular therapies, including haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and legal and ethical matters relating to the clinical translation of human pluripotent stem cell derivatives.