Professor Duncan ET Shepherd BEng, PhD, CEng, FIMechE, SFHEA

Professor Duncan Shepherd

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Postgraduate Dean and Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Contact details

Mechanical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Duncan Shepherd is Postgraduate Dean and Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Duncan has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters in the field of Bio-medical Engineering, mainly on the design and testing of medical devices.  He has received major grants from the Commission of the European Communities, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the medical device industry.  He has been invited to give talks on his research in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, the USA and the UK.  His main areas of teaching are modules on mechanical engineering design and bio-medical engineering.


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2019
  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE), 2008
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2007
  • Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (MIMechE) and Chartered Mechanical Engineer (CEng), 2001
  • PhD in Bio-engineering, University of Leeds, 1997
  • BEng in Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, 1993


Duncan Shepherd gained a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Leeds in 1993.  He went on to undertake research in Bio-engineering in the Research School of Medicine, University of Leeds.  In 1997 was awarded a PhD for research on the mechanical properties of articular cartilage.

From 1997 until 2004 he worked in Department of Bio-Medical Physics & Bio-Engineering at the University of Aberdeen.  He started work as a Research Fellow and in 2000 he was awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Trust Special Research Fellowship to undertake research on the design of a novel wrist implant.  In 2002 he became a Lecturer in Bio-engineering.

Duncan moved to the University of Birmingham in 2004 as a Lecturer to help establish a new research area in Bio-medical Engineering, located within Mechanical Engineering.  He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2011 and Professor in 2014.  Duncan was Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 2016 until 2021, when he became Postgraduate Dean.  As Dean he is the University’s senior academic lead responsible for all postgraduate matters, both postgraduate taught and postgraduate research.


Teaching Programmes

  • Mechanical Engineering

Postgraduate supervision

Duncan has supervised doctoral researcher on the following topics:

  • Design of spinal implants
  • Design of finger joint replacement implants
  • Design and testing of total disc arthroplasty
  • Development of spinal devices
  • Design of surgical instrumentation for minimally invasive surgery

Duncan is interested to hear from prospective doctoral research students wishing to undertake research in the design and testing of medical devices (e.g. spinal implants, small joint replacement, trauma devices) and the mechanical properties of natural tissues (e.g., articular cartilage).


Research Themes

Bio-medical Engineering, Design and Testing of Medical Devices, Measurement of Mechanical Properties of natural tissues. 

Research Activity

Design of medical devices

Duncan has experience in designing a range of medical devices including small joint arthroplasty, sternal fixation devices and surgical instruments.  He uses solid modelling and finite element analysis to optimise designs, and has experience of working within the regulatory framework for the design of medical devices.  He also has a range of experience of using materials testing machines to test medical devices to International Standards.

Mechanical Properties of natural tissues

Duncan has experience of measuring a range of mechanical properties of natural tissues.  This research has included measurements of the viscoelastic properties of articular cartilage and the intervertebral disc, using Dynamic Mechanical Analysis.

Other activities

  • Vice-Chair of the Academic Standards Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Engineering
  • Editorial Board Member for Cogent Engineering.
  • Editorial Board of Lubricants.


Recent publications


de Oliveira, DC, Espino, DM, Deorsola, L, Mynard, JP, Rajagopal, V, Buchan, K, Dawson, D & Shepherd, DET 2021, 'A toolbox for generating scalable mitral valve morphometric models', Computers in Biology and Medicine, vol. 135, 104628.

de Oliveira, DC, Owen, DG, Qian, S, Green, NC, Espino, DM & Shepherd, DET 2021, 'Computational fluid dynamics of the right atrium: Assessment of modelling criteria for the evaluation of dialysis catheters', PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 2, e0247438.

Li, W, Shepherd, D & Espino, D 2021, 'Investigation of the compressive viscoelastic properties of brain tissue under time and frequency dependent loading conditions', Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

Owen, DG, de Oliveira, DC, Neale, EK, Shepherd, DET & Espino, DM 2021, 'Numerical modelling of blood rheology and platelet activation through a stenosed left coronary artery bifurcation', PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. November, e0259196.

VillapĂșn, VM, Carter, LN, Gao, N, Addison, O, Webber, MA, Shepherd, DET, Andrews, JW, Lowther, M, Avery, S, Glanvill, SJ, Grover, LM & Cox, S 2020, 'A design approach to facilitate selective attachment of bacteria and mammalian cells to additively manufactured implants', Additive Manufacturing, vol. 36, 101528.

Mahmood, H, Eckold, D, Stead, I, Shepherd, DET, Espino, DM & Dearn, KD 2020, 'A method for the assessment of the coefficient of friction of articular cartilage and a replacement biomaterial', Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 103, pp. 103580.

Mahmood, H, Espino, D & Shepherd, D 2020, 'A technique for measuring the frictional torque of articular cartilage and replacement biomaterials', Medical Engineering & Physics.

Owen, DG, Schenkel, T, Shepherd, DET & Espino, DM 2020, 'Assessment of surface roughness and blood rheology on local coronary haemodynamics: A multi-scale computational fluid dynamics study', Journal of The Royal Society Interface, vol. 17, no. 169, 20200327.

Li, W, Shepherd, D & Espino, D 2020, 'Dynamic mechanical characterization and viscoelastic modeling of bovine brain tissue', Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

Owen, DG, de Oliveira, DC, Qian, S, Green, NC, Shepherd, DET & Espino, DM 2020, 'Impact of side-hole geometry on the performance of hemodialysis catheter tips: A computational fluid dynamics assessment', PLoS ONE, vol. 15, no. 8, e0236946.

Carter, LN, Addison, O, Naji, N, Seres, P, Wilman, AH, Shepherd, DET, Grover, L & Cox, S 2020, 'Reducing MRI susceptibility artefacts in implants using additively manufactured porous Ti-6Al-4V structures', Acta Biomaterialia, vol. 107, pp. 338-348.

Gonzalez Alvarez, A, Dearn, K & Shepherd, D 2019, 'Design and material evaluation for a novel lumbar disc replacement implanted via unilateral transforaminal approach', Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, vol. 91, pp. 383-390.


Bryan, RT, Arnold, R, Khanim, FL, Shepherd, DE, Patel, P & Ward, DG 2021, 'Establishing the Bladder Cancer Research Centre at the University of Birmingham', Nature Reviews Urology, vol. 2021.

Conference article

Ginestra, P, Ceretti, E, Lobo, D, Lowther, M, Cruchley, S, Kuehne, S, Villapun, V, Cox, S, Grover, L, Shepherd, D, Attallah, M, Addison, O & Webber, M 2020, 'Post processing of 3D printed metal scaffolds: A preliminary study of antimicrobial efficiency', Procedia Manufacturing, vol. 47, pp. 1106-1112.

Review article

Cruz De Oliveira, D, Srinivasan, J, Espino, D, Buchan, K, Dawson, D & Shepherd, D 2020, 'Geometric description for the anatomy of the mitral valve: a review', Journal of Anatomy.

View all publications in research portal