Colleen E. Medill

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A. Christal Sheppard

Assistant Professor of Law

259 LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-1250 | Email
Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Expertise
  • Patent Law, Policy and Practice
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Biotechnology Law
  • Intersection of Intellectual Property and Antitrust
  • M.S., Ph.D., Cellular and Molecular Biology, 1998, University of Michigan
  • J.D., 2001, Cornell University
  • Senior Managers in Government Program, 2005, Harvard Kennedy School of Government


  • Assistant Professor of Law, 2011


Assistant Professor Sheppard joined the University of Nebraska faculty in 2011, after over two decades of Science and Intellectual Property Law and Policy experience. She is an Assistant Professor and co-founded a program of Concentrated Study in Intellectual Property law at the Law College. 

Dr. Sheppard began her career as a scientist earning a M.S. and Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan.  After receiving a J.D. from Cornell University Law School and interning with Judge Rader at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy, she was a practicing attorney at the law firm of Foley & Lardner earning extensive experience in patent prosecution, client patent counseling and ligation. She then served in the Office of the General Counsel of the United States International Trade Commission working on Section 337 matters, arguing before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  In 2005, Dr. Sheppard also completed Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Education for Senior Managers in Government program.

Her successful career in intellectual property law and policy included her tenure as Chief Counsel on Patents and Trademarks for the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary where she was integral in many endeavors including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the most comprehensive change to this nation's intellectual property laws in over 60 years. 

In April of 2012, Dr. Sheppard testified before the United States Congress House Committee on the Judiciary at the hearing “International Patent Issues: Promoting a Level Playing Field for American Industry Abroad.” She has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones News Wire, Fox Business News, the Chicago Sun Times and Politico on a variety of intellectual property issues. 

Patent Law

This course will provide an introduction to the basic principles of the law of patents in the United States including the history, utility and function of the patent system; statutory and procedural requirements for patentability; recent case law; and patent enforcement mechanisms, remedies and defenses. The intent is for this class to provide a foundation in patent law for general legal practice that crosscuts all potential business client interests from individual inventors to small and large companies. A scientific background is not necessary.

International Intellectual Property Law and Remedies

Overview of the United States laws of copyright, patent, trade secret and trademark for students of all background levels and discussions on mechanisms to protect intellectual property rights abroad. Analysis of all major international treaties and conventions. This course will cover not only the legal and regulatory schemes but also the policy implications. No prior course in Intellectual Property or background is requisite.

Science and Law

Analysis of the role of science in the law. This class will explore issues such as biotechnology, scientific evidence, regulatory approval, antitrust, and environmental law to explore the intersection of science, scientific evidence, and the effect on the law and legal decision making.

Legislation and Regulation

The class will explore the process and institutions involved in developing law and regulation and how to affect that process as an individual citizen or as company counsel. This class will discuss legislative drafting, the legislative process to become law, the regulatory process, statutory interpretation by the courts and standards of deference.


  • Guenther B.G., Sheppard Christal A., Tran, P., Rozen, R., Matthews, R.G., Ludwig M.L. The structure and properties of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase from Escherichia coli suggest how folate ameliorates human hyperhomocysteinemia. Nature Structural Biology 6(4), 359-65 (1999).
  • Sheppard, Christal A., and Matthews, R.G. Purification and properties of NADH-dependent 5, 10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MetF) from Escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology 181(3):718-25 (1999).
  • Matthews, R.G., Sheppard, Christal A., Goulding, C. (1998) Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase and methionine synthase: biochemistry and molecular biology. Eur. J. Pediatr, 157: Suppl. 2:S54-S59
  • Sheppard, Christal A., Sumner, J.S., Goyette, P., Frosst, P., Rozen, R., Matthews, R. G. (1997) Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase: comparison of the enzyme from mammalian and bacterial sources in homocysteine metabolism: from basic science to clinical medicine. eds. Graham, I., Refsum, H., Rosenberg, I.H., Ueland, P.M. 31-35, Kluwer, Boston.
  • Frosst, P., Blom, H., Milos, R., Goyette, P., Sheppard, Christal A., Matthews, R.G., Boers, G.J.H., den Heijer, M., Kluijtmans L.A.J., van den Heuvel L.P., & Rozen, R. Identification of a candidate genetic risk factor for cardiovascular disease: a common mutation at the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase locus. Nature Genetics., 10 , 111-113 (1995).

Research Areas

  • Patent Law, Process and Policy
  • International Intellectual Property Law and Remedies
  • Intersection of Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law
  • Science and Law