Professor Mary Sheppard is a cardiac pathologist with a National and International reputation. She heads a department that undertakes examination of the heart in cases of sudden unexpected death. She has established a national cardiac pathology database, with funding from UK charity Cardiac Risk in the young (CRY), which now has over 6500 cases on file and is a rich source of research on sudden cardiac death in the UK.
Her main area of interest are the cardiac conditions causing sudden death in young people which are mainly inherited, such as sudden arrhythmic death, cardiomyopathies including dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy and idiopathic hypertrophy She also has an interest in cardiac development, anatomy and congenital heart disease. She has built up a large biobank of heart tissue and genetic material for research
She uses scanning techniques to quantify changes which are diagnostic of specific cardiac diseases which improve diagnostic accuracy. She uses quantification and immunocytochemistry with a rapid scanner for image analysis
Professor Sheppard’s main focus is on the pathological diagnosis of sudden cardiac death. She collaborates with cardiologists who screen the families for these cardiac conditions throughout the UK. She works with scientists, immunologists and anatomists in understanding the pathophysiology underlying these conditions. She works closely with cardiac genetics to examine phenotype/genotype expression.
Professor Sheppard is a specialist cardiac pathologist and has established a national cardiac referral centre with funding from the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) to investigate sudden cardiac deaths in the UK. She has built up a large biobank of heart and genetic material for research purposes. She collects genetic material from each case so that a genotype/phenotype correlation can be established in collaboration with clinical geneticists and cardiologists
She collaborates closely with St George’s Cardiologists including Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor Elijah Behr, Dr Maite Tome, Dr Jan Till and Dr Michael Papadakis. She is on the board of UK association of Inherited Cardiac conditions. She is member of consultation group, a UK strategy for aortic dissection in association with Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery
She qualified in medicine from University College Cork Ireland and did her postgraduate training in pathology in London. She is consultant cardiac pathologist and is a national trainer for cardiac pathology in the UK. She also trains pathologists from Europe. She is cardiac pathology representative for Cyprus Cardiomyopathy Association.
Professor Sheppard does extensive research and teaching and has built up an international reputation in the field. She was awarded the Stokes Medal for her work by the Irish Cardiovascular society in 2009 and gave the Phillip Poole Wilson memorial lecture in London in 2014. She was awarded honorary fellowship of Royal college of Physicians in Ireland in 2018. She was medical alumnus of year for university college of Cork Ireland. 2015.
She is visiting professor to the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia and New Zealand to the Turkish Pathological Society and to the International Academy of Pathology. She is visiting professor to the Forensic Academy of Australia and New Zealand as well as to the Brocher Foundation for Human Genetics on cardiac disease in Geneva. She is honorary professor to Cameron Forensic Medical Sciences at St Mary’s University of London.
Professor Sheppard is member of the council and was President of the European Association of Cardiovascular Pathology 2016 – 2018. She is on cardiac working groups in European Society of Pathology and European Society of Cardiology as well as American Society of Cardiovascular Pathology.
Professor Sheppard has published 350 peer reviewed papers, 30 book chapters and 9 international guidelines. She is at present working on the third edition of her book on cardiovascular pathology. She co-wrote guidelines on the investigation of sudden cardiac death issued by the Royal College of Pathologists in 2015. She is on several International committees applying guidelines in training in Cardiovascular Pathology, investigation of sudden cardiac death, ischemic heart disease and congenital heart disease