Professor Mary Sheppard MBBCh FRCPath                                                       

Professor Mary Sheppard is a cardiac pathologist with a national and international reputation.

She is the director of unit that undertakes examination of the heart in cases of sudden cardiac death in UK. She has established a national cardiac pathology database, with funding from UK charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which now has over 7,000 cases on file. The unit has built up a large biobank of heart tissue and genetic material for research.

Professor Sheppard’s main area of interest are the cardiac conditions that cause 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 works closely with cardiac genetics to examine phenotype/genotype expression. She also has an interest in cardiac development, anatomy and congenital heart disease.

The unit is a multiuser facility using histological techniques for diagnosis of heart disease. Scanning techniques are used to quantify changes which are diagnostic of specific cardiac diseases. The unit uses quantification and immunocytochemistry with a digital 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, as well as clinicians in understanding the pathophysiology underlying these conditions.

Dr Joe Westaby – Clinical Lecturer in Histopathology

Joe is an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Histopathology based at St George’s, University of London and in the South London Deanery. He studied Graduate Entry Medicine at The University of Nottingham and has trained in London since. He undertook an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship and PhD sponsored by Cardiac Risk in the Young in the Cardiac Risk in the Young Cardiovascular Pathology Laboratories. His primary research interest is Sudden Cardiac Death. He also undertakes coronial autopsies for the Inner West London Coroner.

Joe is specialising in both diagnostic and academic cardiovascular pathology, combining both diagnostic and autopsy material from our large referral database. He is now undertaking his own original research having completed a PhD at St George’s University. He is publishing peer reviewed articles and contributing to book chapters with Professor Sheppard. He is working closely with Professor Sheppard and developing expertise in all aspects of cardiovascular pathology. He has extensive teaching experience and has developed the cardiovascular course with both virtual and hybrid delivery. Together, he and Professor Sheppard are training other pathologists including general and forensic pathologists in this specialist field.

About the Centre

CRY cardiac pathology is based at a St Georges University medical School and was transferred from the Royal Brompton hospital in 2013. It acts as a national referral centre for sudden cardiac death, examining the hearts of those who have died suddenly throughout the UK. The CRY centre for cardiac pathology receives up to 500 heart cases per year as well as genetic material for testing and has established a biobank of over 2000 cases used for research with the consent of families.

The main CRY website contains information on how we are able to offer this service. Click here for more information. 

External Links

The Coroners’ Society of England and Wales

The Royal College of Pathologists’


Prof M N Sheppard
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St George’s University of London
Cranmer Terrace
London SW17 0RE

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