Dr. Shepherd's major area of research is in the field of clinical trials for lung cancer. She has been instrumental in developing and evaluating new treatment modalities at the local, national and international level for patients with both small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Under her leadership, the Canadian Clinical Trials Group Lung Cancer Site conducted many international practice-changing studies. These landmark studies have shown that post-operative chemotherapy can change the cure rate for resected lung cancer and that molecularly targeted treatments can improve survival even in the most advanced stages of the disease. In collaboration with her basic science colleagues, she has established lung cancer tumour banks that have proved to be an invaluable resource to study the biology of lung cancer at a molecular level and to link the laboratory to the clinic.
Dr. Shepherd has designed and led paradigm-shifting clinical trials over the past three decades that have changed treatment and outcomes for patients with lung cancer at a global level. She has mentored more than 40 post-doctoral research fellows from around the world, many of whom now hold senior academic positions in their home countries. She has authored or co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and 35 book chapters.