Dr Hilary Sheppard is a senior lecturer in developmental and stem cell biology at the University of Auckland.
Dr Hilary Sheppard is a senior lecturer in developmental and stem cell biology at the University of Auckland. Her research focus is to improve cells for use in the clinic by altering the expression of key molecules within cells using a targeted genome engineering technology called CRISPR/Cas9. Dr Sheppard and her team are applying this technology to a number of cell types including human skin cells. The aim is to develop methods which will generate patient-specific gene-edited skin sheets for people with a rare condition called epidermolysis bullosa (EB). People with EB have very fragile skin due to a mutation in a gene which forms the cellular glue for skin cells. The plan is to take a small sample of patient skin, fix the defective gene and generate large sheets of skin in the lab which can be used to replace problematic areas of skin on the patient.