Professor Duncan Shepherd BEng, PhD, CEng, FIMechE

Professor Duncan Shepherd

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Professor of Bio-medical Engineering
Head of Mechanical Engineering

Contact details

Mechanical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Duncan Shepherd is a Professor of Bio-medical Engineering.

Duncan has published over 90 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 Arthritis Research (UK), Commission of the European Communities, 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.


  • 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 the School of Mechanical Engineering. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2011 and Professor in 2014.  He became Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in January 2016.


Teaching Programmes

  • Mechanical Engineering

Postgraduate supervision

Duncan is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Design and testing of Medical Devices, e.g. spinal implants, small joint replacement, trauma devices.
  • 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

Spinal implant testing

With funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Duncan has developed a spinal implant testing facility at the University of Birmingham. A spine simulator is being used to investigate:

  • Tribology of disc arthroplasty
  • Mechanical properties of elastomeric disc arthroplasty
  • Mechanical properties of nucleus replacement implants

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

  • Member of the Academic Standards Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Engineering
  • Editorial Board Member of The Open Biomedical Engineering Journal
  • Assistant Editorial Board Member of the European Spine Journal
  • Editorial Board Member for Cogent Engineering
  • Editorial Board of Lubricants


Sadeghi H., Shepherd D.E.T., Espino D.M. (2017) Fatigue strength of bovine articular cartilage-on-bone under three-point bending: the effect of loading frequency. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 18: 142.

Eckold D.G., Karl D. Dearn K.D., Shepherd DET (2016). Wear debris from total joint replacements: evaluation of automated categorisation by scale-invariant feature transforms. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization. In press.

Youssef M.M., Shepherd D.E.T. and Titley O.G. (2016) Design of a Dynamic External Finger Fixator. Journal of Medical Devices. 10: 041004 (1-6).

Parekh J., Shepherd D.E.T., Hukins D.W.L. and Maffulli N. (2016) Ergonomic T-Handle for Minimally Invasive Surgical Instruments. Translational Medicine 14: 38-41.

Barnes S.C., Shepherd D.E.T., Espino D.M., Bryan R.T., Viney R., Patel P. (2016) Design of an improved surgical instrument for the removal of bladder tumours. Journal of Engineering in Medicine 230: 579–587

Barnes S.C., Lawless B.M., Shepherd D.E.T., Espino D.M., Bicknell G.R., Bryan R.T. (2016) Viscoelastic Properties of Human Bladder Tumours. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 61: 250–257.

Cox S.C., Jamshidib P., Eisenstein N.M., Webber M.A., Hassanin H., Attallah M.M., Shepherd D.E.T., Addison O., Grover L.M. (2016) Adding functionality with additive manufacturing: fabrication of titanium-based antibiotic eluting implants. Materials Science and Engineering C 64: 407–415.

Lawless B.M., Barnes S.C, Espino D.M., Shepherd D.E.T. (2016) Viscoelastic properties of a spinal posterior dynamic stabilisation device. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 59: 519–526

Alnaimat F.A., Shepherd D.E.T., Dearn K.D. (2016) The effect of synthetic polymer lubricants on the friction between common arthroplasty bearing biomaterials for encapsulated spinal implants. Tribology International 98: 20–25