John Shepherd, PhD

John Shepherd, PhD

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Full Member, Population Sciences in the Pacific Program (Cancer Epidemiology), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center

Academic Appointment(s):
Professor (Researcher), University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Degree(s):
PhD, Engineering Physics, University of Virginia

Research Focus

Dr. Shepherd has a 30-year background in quantitative imaging. Most of his academic research involves developing novel biomarkers for a variety of imaging modalities including dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scan for bone density and body composition, mammography for breast density and tissue textural measures as risk factors for breast cancer, and 3-D optical whole body scanning for quantifying body shape as a risk factor for metabolic diseases. Using these modalities, he uses advanced statistical methods to extract more information from images. The methods include principal component analysis, shape and appearance modeling, deep learning, and artificial intelligence approaches. While at UCSF he accumulated over 4 million mammograms for the study of breast cancer risk from imaging and was one of the first to show that volumetric breast density measures are a stronger risk predictor than areal density measures. His active research questions include the following:

  1. Can deep learning models for reading mammograms reduce recall rates and unnecessary biopsies for women of the Pacific region?
  2. What is the best way to describe frailty and function using quantitative composition measures?
  3. Can 3-D optical scans of the whole body accurately and precisely quantify body composition and other health risk factors, and improve compliance of nutrition and exercise interventions?

He also holds four patents in quantitative imaging. His group has been expert consultants for the NHANES study DXA component for 20 years. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, is a Fulbright Scholar, and a past president of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry.

Selected Publications

Panizza C, Wong M, Kelly N, Liu E, Lowe D, Weiss E, Heymsfield S, Kennedy S, Boushey C, Maskarinec G, Shepherd J. (2020). Diet quality is associated with lower visceral and overall adiposity among a multiethnic adult population. Submitted to Current Developments in Nutrition. 2020.

Tian IY, Ng BK, Wong MC, Kennedy S, Hwaung P, Kelly N, Liu E, Garber AK, Curless B, Heymsfield SB, Shepherd JA. (2020). Predicting 3D body shape and body composition from conventional 2D photography. Medical Physics. Epub 2020/09/27. doi: 10.1002/mp.14492. PubMed PMID: 32978970.

Wong MC, Ng BK, Kennedy SF, Hwaung P, Liu EY, Kelly NN, Pagano IS, Garber AK, Chow DC, Heymsfield SB, Shepherd JA. (2019). Children and Adolescents' Anthropometrics Body Composition from 3-D Optical Surface Scans. Obesity (Silver Spring);27(11):1738-49. Epub 2019/11/07. doi: 10.1002/oby.22637. PubMed PMID: 31689009.

Panizza CE, Lim U, Yonemori KM, Cassel KD, Wilkens LR, Harvie MN, Maskarinec G, Delp EJ, Lampe JW, Shepherd JA, Le Marchand L, Boushey CJ. (2019). Effects of Intermittent Energy Restriction Combined with a Mediterranean Diet on Reducing Visceral Adiposity: A Randomized Active Comparator Pilot Study. Nutrients;11(6). Epub 2019/06/23. doi: 10.3390/nu11061386. PubMed PMID: 31226790; PubMed Central PMCID: 6627434.

Publication list via PubMed

For a complete list of Dr. Shepherd's peer-review publication, see his NIH MyBibliography website.

Active Grants

J. Shepherd, PI
Centers for Diease Control and Prevention
Funded through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
75D30118D00992
"DXA Scan Analysist and Quality Control Review for NHANES 2018-2022"
2018 – 2022

J.A. Shepherd and Steven Heymsfield, Co- PIs
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases NIDDKD)
R01DK111698
“Shape up! Kids”
01/20/2017 – 12/31/2021

J.A. Shepherd and Steven Heymsfield, Co- PIs
NIH/NIDDK
R01DK109008
“Optical Body Composition and Health Assessment”
05/15/2016 – 04/30/2021

J. Shepherd and Steve Cummings, Co-PIs
Sutter Health/California Medical Center Research Institute
"Deep Learning and Total Body DXA Scans (The TBDXA.I. Project)"
2019 - 2021

J. Shepherd, Project Investigator
National Institute on Aging (NIH)
Funded through the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS)
75N95019C00024
"DXA Body Composition and Bone Mineral Density Review and Analyses for HANDLS"
2019 - 2021

J. Shepherd and Peter Sadowski, Co-PIs
Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH)
NNX16A069A
"Space-Feasible Body Composition and Body Shape Analysis for Long Duration Missions (Astro3DO)"
2019 – 2021

J. Shepherd, Project Investigator; Sharon Nachman, PI
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH)
Funded through the LOC-IMPAACT Leadership Group
UM1 AI068632-13
"IMPAACT 2009 & 2010"
2006 - 2021