Dr Emma Shepherd BSc. MSc. PhD.

Emma Shepherd

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Post Doctoral Research Assistant

Contact details

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
Medical School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Emma Shepherd is an experimental biologist who specialises in developing in vitro and ex vivo models to examine the process by which tissue fibrosis occurs.

Emma's research interests focus on the mechanisms of liver disease, and more specifically liver fibrosis. At present there is a great unmet need to develop sensitive methodologies and biomarkers to assess fibrosis and to develop anti-fibrotic treatment strategies. Using her expertise in modelling fibrosis Emma is currently investigating molecular pathways in liver disease to identify candidate molecules for use as either biomarkers or as druggable targets.


  • PhD. Molecular Biology, University of Aberdeen, 2007
  • MSc. Toxicology, University of Surrey, 2002
  • BSc(Hons) Biomedical Sciences, Napier University, Edinburgh, 2001


Emma graduated from Napier University Edinburgh with a BSc.(Hons) in Biomedical Sciences in 2001. She was then awarded a BBSRC-scholarship place to study for an MSc in Toxicology at the University of Surrey. Emma then undertook a BBSRC Case PhD studentship at the University of Aberdeen in partnership with Ferring Pharmaceuticals. During this studentship, Emma developed a model to isolate primary human hepatic stellate cells for use as an in vitro model of fibrosis and implemented reporter gene assay methodologies to screen for compounds for CYP3A4 induction properties.

In 2007, Emma was awarded an Action Medical Research Training Fellowship to work in the laboratory of Prof. David Adams investigating how activated hepatic stellate cells can shape the liver microenvironment to promote the switch from acute resolving to chronic persistent inflammation.  Emma continued her work investigating inflammatory liver diseases in Prof. Adams’ laboratory as research scientist on a Wellcome Trust Programme Grant investigating the role of Vascular Adhesion Protein 1 (VAP-1) in hepatic fibrosis.

Emma is currently working with Dr. Trish Lalor part of a translational research team investigating novel targets in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This project is in partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals and maintains the groups strong collaborations with industry.



Research interests

  • Fibrogenesis
  • Inflammation
  • Cell adhesion
  • In vitro. screening
  • Fibroblasts

Research groups

Emma is currently working in the Lalor research group within the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy.

Other activities

Member of the British Association for the Study of the Liver

Member of the British Inflammation Research Association

Public engagement

Emma is always happy to communicate her passion for science and has designed and delivered several public engagement events including Meet the Expert at ThinkTank, Pint of Science, UoB Science Day and local primary school educational promotions.


Recent publications


Podlogar, T, Shad, BJ, Seabright, AP, Odell, OJ, Lord, SO, Civil, R, Salgueiro, RB, Shepherd, EL, Lalor, PF, Elhassan, YS, Lai, Y-C, Rowlands, DS & Wallis, GA 2023, 'Postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis with glucose, galactose, and combined galactose-glucose ingestion', American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 325, no. 6, pp. E672-E681. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00127.2022

Wilkinson, AL, Hulme, S, Kennedy, JI, Mann, ER, Horn, P, Shepherd, EL, Yin, K, Zaki, MYW, Hardisty, G, Lu, W-Y, Rantakari, P, Adams, DH, Salmi, M, Hoare, M, Patten, DA & Shetty, S 2023, 'The senescent secretome drives PLVAP expression in cultured human hepatic endothelia to promote monocyte transmigration', iScience, vol. 26, no. 10, 107966. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2023.107966

Coltman, NJ, Coke, BA, Chatzi, K, Shepherd, EL, Lalor, PF, Schulz-Utermoehl, T & Hodges, NJ 2021, 'Application of HepG2/C3A liver spheroids as a model system for genotoxicity studies', Toxicology Letters, vol. 345, pp. 34-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxlet.2021.04.004

Shepherd, EL, Karim, S, Newsome, PN & Lalor, PF 2020, 'Inhibition of vascular adhesion protein-1 modifies hepatic steatosis in vitro and in vivo', World journal of hepatology, vol. 12, no. 11, pp. 931-948. https://doi.org/10.4254/wjh.v12.i11.931

Shepherd, E, Saborano, R, Northall, E, Matsuda, K, Ogino, H, Yashiro, H, Pickens, J, Feaver, RE, Cole, BK, Hoang, SA, Lawson, MJ, Olson, M, Figler, RA, Reardon, JE, Nishigaki, N, Wamhoff, BR, Gunther, U, Hirschfield, G, Erion, DM & Lalor, T 2020, 'Ketohexokinase inhibition improves NASH by reducing fructose-induced steatosis and fibrogenesis', JHEP Reports, vol. 2020, 100217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhepr.2020.100217

Chauhan, A, Sheriff, L, Hussain, MT, Webb, GJ, Patten, DA, Shepherd, EL, Shaw, R, Weston, CJ, Haldar, D, Bourke, S, Bhandari, R, Watson, S, Adams, DH, Watson, SP & Lalor, PF 2020, 'The platelet receptor CLEC-2 blocks neutrophil mediated hepatic recovery in acetaminophen induced acute liver failure', Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1, 1939. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15584-3

Patten, DA, Shepherd, EL, Weston, CJ & Shetty, S 2019, 'Novel targets in the immune microenvironment of the hepatic sinusoids for treating liver diseases', Seminars in Liver Disease, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 111-123. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1678727

Bhogal, R, Weston, C, Velduis, S, Henri GD, L, Reynolds, G, Davies, S, Luu, N-T, Alfaifi, M, Shepherd, E, Boteon, Y, Wallace, L, Oo, YH, Adams, D, Mirza, DF, Mergentel, H, Muirhead, G, Stephenson, B & Afford, S 2018, 'The ROS-Mitophagy Signalling Pathway regulates liver endothelial cell survival during ischaemia-reperfusion injury', Liver Transplantation. https://doi.org/10.1002/lt.25313

Wadkin, JCR, Patten, DA, Kamarajah, S, Shepherd, EL, Novitskaia, V, Berditchevski, F, Adams, DH, Weston, CJ & Shetty, S 2017, 'CD151 supports VCAM-1 mediated lymphocyte adhesion to liver endothelium and is upregulated in chronic liver diseases and hepatocellular carcinoma', American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology, vol. 313, no. 2, pp. G138-G149. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpgi.00411.2016

Patten, DA, Kamarajah, SK, Rose, JM, Tickle, J, Shepherd, EL, Adams, DH, Weston, CJ & Shetty, S 2017, 'SCARF-1 promotes adhesion of CD4+ T cells to human hepatic sinusoidal endothelium under conditions of shear stress', Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 17600. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17928-4

Ward, ST, Weston, CJ, Shepherd, EL, Hejmadi, R, Ismail, T & Adams, DH 2016, 'Evaluation of serum and tissue levels of VAP-1 in colorectal cancer', BMC Cancer, vol. 16, no. 1, 154. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2183-7

Wilhelm, A, Shepherd, E, Amatucci, A, Munir, M, Reynolds, G, Humphreys, E, Resheq, Y, Adams, DH, Hubscher, S, Burkly, LC, Weston, C & Afford, S 2016, 'Interaction of TWEAK with Fn14 leads to the progression of fibrotic liver disease by directly modulating hepatic stellate cell proliferation', Journal of Pathology, vol. 239, no. 1, pp. 109–121. https://doi.org/10.1002/path.4707

Weston, CJ, Shepherd, EL, Claridge, LC, Rantakari, P, Curbishley, S, Tomlinson, JW, Hubscher, SG, Reynolds, GM, Aalto, K, Anstee, QM, Jalkanen, S, Salmi, M, Smith, DJ, Day, CP & Adams, D 2015, 'Vascular adhesion protein-1 promotes liver inflammation and drives hepatic fibrosis', Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol. 125, no. 2, pp. 501-20. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI73722


Shepherd, EL, Northall, E, Papakyriacou, P, Safranska, K, Sorensen, KK & Lalor, PF 2023, Decellularization of the Human Liver to Generate Native Extracellular Matrix for Use in Automated Functional Assays with Stellate Cells. in Hepatic Stellate Cells: Methods and Protocols. 1 edn, vol. 2669, Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), pp. 233-244. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-3207-9_14


Adams, DH, Shepherd, EL & Lalor, PF 2018, 'Could endothelial TGFβ signaling be a promising new target for liver disease?', Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 637-639. https://doi.org/10.1080/17474124.2018.1477587

View all publications in research portal