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 Shepherd’s main research interests are in the design and testing of implantable medical devices. He has received major grants from Arthritis Research UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the medical device industry. He has supervsied doctoral research 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

Dr Shepherd 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 (eg, articular cartilage).



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


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


Recent publications


Villapún, 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.

Li, W, Espino, D & Shepherd, D 2019, 'Frequency dependent viscoelastic properties of porcine brain tissue', Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

Thomas-Seale, L, Kirkman-Brown, J, Kanagalingam, S, Attallah, M, Espino, D & Shepherd, D 2019, 'The analogies between human development and additive manufacture: expanding the definition of design', Cogent Engineering, vol. 6, no. 1, 1662631.

Burton, HE, Burton, HE, Eisenstein, NM, Eisenstein, NM, Lawless, BM, Jamshidi, P, Segarra, MA, Addison, O, Shepherd, DET, Attallah, MM, Grover, LM & Cox, SC 2019, 'The design of additively manufactured lattices to increase the functionality of medical implants', Materials Science and Engineering C, vol. 94, pp. 901-908.,

Kubiak, A, Lindqvist-Jones, K, Dearn, K & Shepherd, D 2018, 'Comparison of the mechanical properties of two designs of polyaxial pedicle screw', Engineering Failure Analysis.

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.

Kanagalingam, S, Shepherd, D, Fernandez-Vicente, M, Wimpenny, D & Thomas-Seale, L 2019, 'Design principles to increase the patient specificity of high tibial osteotomy fixation devices', Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED, vol. 2019-August, pp. 917-926.

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