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

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

Hinton B, Ma L, Mahmoudzadeh AP, Malkov S, Fan B, Greenwood H, Joe B, Lee V, Strand F, Kerlikowske K, Shepherd J. (2019). Derived mammographic masking measures based on simulated lesions predict the risk of interval cancer after controlling for known risk factors: a case-case analysis. Medical Physics; Mar;46(3):1309-1316. doi: 10.1002/mp.13410. Epub 2019 Feb 14. PubMed PMID: 30697755; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6416079.

Ng BK, Sommer MJ, Wong MC, Pagano I, Nie Y, Fan B, Kennedy S, Bourgeois B, Kelly N, Liu YE, Hwaung P, Garber AK, Chow D, Vaisse C, Curless B, Heymsfield SB, Shepherd JA. (2019). Detailed 3-dimensional body shape features predict body composition, blood metabolites, and functional strength: the Shape Up! studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Dec 1;110(6):1316-1326. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz218. PubMed PMID: 31553429; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6885475.

Drukker K, Giger ML, Joe BN, Kerlikowske K, Greenwood H, Drukteinis JS, Niell B, Fan B, Malkov S, Avila J, Kazemi L, Shepherd J. (2019). Combined Benefit of Quantitative Three-Compartment Breast Image Analysis and Mammography Radiomics in the Classification of Breast Masses in a Clinical Data Set. Radiology; Mar;290(3):621-628. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018180608. Epub 2018 Dec 11. PubMed PMID: 30526359; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6394732.

Ng BK, Liu YE, Wang W, Kelly TL, Wilson KE, Schoeller DA, Heymsfield SB, Shepherd JA. (2018). Validation of rapid 4-component body composition assessment with the use of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and bioelectrical impedance analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Oct 1;108(4):708-715. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy158. PubMed PMID: 30099474.

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)
"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)
“Shape up! Kids”
01/20/2017 – 12/31/2021

J.A. Shepherd and Steven Heymsfield, Co- PIs
“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 - 2020

J. Shepherd, Project Investigator
National Institute on Aging (NIH)
Funded through the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS)
"DXA Body Composition and Bone Mineral Density Review and Analyses for HANDLS"
2019 - 2020

J. Shepherd and Peter Sadowski, Co-PIs
Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH)
"Space-Feasible Body Composition and Body Shape Analysis for Long Duration Missions (Astro3DO)"
2019 – 2020

J. Shepherd, Project Investigator; Rachael Leon Guererro, Margaret Hattori-Uchima, Neal Palafox, and Carl Vogel, MPIs
National Cancer Institute
Funded through UH Cancer Center/University of Guam U54 competitive renewal grant
"Accessible Breast Cancer Screening in the Pacific - iBreastExam"
2018 - 2020

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 - 2020