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Andrew Shepherd

Andrew Shepherd

Regular Member

Assistant Professor

[email protected]
Zayed Building - Z8.5042

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Symptom Research

Our research program focuses on the neuroimmunology of chronic pain – how crosstalk between the immune system and the nervous system drives persistent pain and how we might target these mechanisms to reduce the burden of chronic pain. We have projects focusing on the dysregulation of the innate immune system in diabetic neuropathy, as well as injury to the nervous system caused by cancer, otherwise known as paraneoplastic neuropathy. Such damage to the nervous system is potentially of major importance, since one of the chief risk factors for developing chronic neuropathic pain is pre-existing injury to the somatosensory nervous system.

Most of our projects relate at least in part to macrophages - cells of the innate immune system that are found in most tissues in some form or another and are incredibly heterogeneous and plastic in nature. Several of our collaborative projects have demonstrated that lasting pain relief can be achieved by targeting macrophages alone, usually by delivering drug-laden nanoparticles that modify the phenotype of macrophages at sites of injury, thereby bringing about lasting resolution of inflammation alongside pain relief.

We use a combination of wild-type and conditional knockout mouse behavior testing, immunohistochemistry, high-throughput sequencing and live-cell imaging of cultured neurons to better understand these disease processes. Our goal is to leverage this understanding to develop novel therapeutics that target neuroimmune interactions, which could one day bring safe, effective relief from chronic pain within reach.


MDACC Faculty

Shepherd Lab

Education & Training

PhD, The University of Manchester, 2006

Research Opportunities