FLIER Round 2 Participants

Meet the second cohort taking part in FLIER, our cross-sector leadership programme:

Dr Parveen Ali,Senior Lecturer, Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield

Parveen Ali works as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. She is a Registered Nurse, Midwife (Pakistan), Nurse Teacher, Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. She is an associate editor of Nursing Open (Wiley) and editorial board member of Journal of Advanced Nursing and Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Her research focuses on gender-based violence, domestic violence and abuse, inequalities in health related to gender and ethnicity, and health care professionals’ preparation. She is a mixed-method researcher and has contributed to various projects over the past decade including: exploring intimate partner violence from the perspective of Pakistani people, evaluation of domestic violence perpetrator programmes; exploring preparedness of nurses and midwives when supporting domestic violence and abuse victims from black and minority ethnic communities in the UK and developing tools and guidelines to help them. 

She has received various awards including the Mary Seacole leadership AwardSigma’s Emerging Nurse Researcher Award in Europe and the Pakistani Diaspora Achievement Award.

Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Clinical Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London

Rasha Al-Lamee is a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London and an interventional cardiology consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

She is a world leading clinical trialist in cardiovascular research with a focus on trials that impact the care of patients with coronary artery disease. She has research interests in coronary intervention, invasive coronary physiology and invasive intravascular imaging. She designed, conducted and led the first randomised placebo-controlled trial of coronary angioplasty, ORBITA. She is lead author of the primary publication in The Lancet and the two secondary publications in Circulation.

As the NIHR CRN North West London Cardiovascular speciality lead, she is actively involved in the development and recruitment of many multi-centre clinical trials. She has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and leads a research team at the National Heart and Lung Institute with a focus on the mechanism, diagnosis and treatment of stable coronary artery disease.

Dr Cat Ball, Head of Policy, Association of Medical Research Charities

Cat Ball is Head of Policy at the Association of Medical Research Charities, the UK’s membership body for health and medical research charities. She leads on the development of policy positions with the ultimate aim to ensure the best possible environment for charities to fund research in the UK. She works across a range of policy areas and has a particular passion in supporting charities to develop new ways of funding, including ‘passion capital’ approaches where the drive and mission-focus of a charity is combined with an investment strategy.

Cat has recently completed a secondment in the Department of Health and Social Care where she worked on policy for open science. She has previously worked in policy roles in the House of Lords and Learned Societies and has advised the Scottish Funding Council on research funding strategy. Cat has a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford.

Dr Giovanni Biglino, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics, University of Bristol

Giovanni Biglino is a biomedical engineer. He studied at Imperial College London and obtained his PhD in cardiovascular mechanics from the Brunel Institute of Bioengineering. He has carried out research at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and University College London, with the cardiac engineering team, focusing on congenital heart disease. Now he is a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at the Bristol Medical School. He has studied biostatistics at Harvard Medical School and has started to enthusiastically explore the world of narrative medicine at Columbia University. His current research is very collaborative, involving cardiologists, surgeons, imagers, psychologists and artists.  

Giovanni has a natural curiosity for and propensity toward interdisciplinary collaborations. He would like to explore new ways of combining technologies and creative practices to represent health and disease in new ways and spark new conversations in our society.

He strongly believes in the importance of engaging and involving patients in medical research. 

Professor Tim Chico, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University of Sheffield

Tim Chico is a Consultant Cardiologist and Head of the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at The University of Sheffield. His research interests include vascular developmental biology, clinical cardiovascular medicine and application of digital and pervasive monitoring technology to the diagnosis, treatment, prediction and prevention of heart disease.

Dr Muireann Coen, Associate Director, Oncology Safety, AstraZeneca

Muireann Coen is a Discovery Safety Specialist at AstraZeneca and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction at Imperial College London. Her research background has involved the development and application of metabolic phenotyping and associated bioinformatic strategies in the field of pre-clinical and clinical hepatotoxicity to further mechanistic understanding of toxicity and ultimately identify translational biomarkers.

Muireann has published over 65 peer-reviewed papers, was awarded the BTS early career researcher prize in 2010 and an MRC Integrative Toxicology Training Partnership (ITTP) career development fellowship in 2009. She is an editorial board member of the British Journal of Pharmacology and Nature Scientific Reports and a member of the British Toxicology Society Scientific Sub-Committee and MRC ITTP committee.

Dr Elizabeth Coulthard, Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology, University of Bristol

Liz Coulthard is an academic dementia neurologist at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust. She established a dementia service in 2011 which has expanded to include Mild Cognitive Impairment and Brain Health Initiatives. She is committed to offering early diagnosis and effective treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Her research programme harnesses new technology to measure and improve long term memory and sleep. Through modulation of sleep and a range of other clinical trials, she aims to help delay onset and progression of dementia. Liz currently serves on the Alzheimer's Society Biomedical Grant Panel.

Dr Michael Crichton, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

Michael Crichton is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University where he runs the Soft Tissue and Biomedical Devices Laboratory (STABD Lab, https://tissuedevices.hw.ac.uk/).  His research interests lie in understanding how disease changes the material behaviour of biological tissues, and how we exploit these for innovative medical technologies. 

Michael’s background is multidisciplinary with an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering, followed by a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Queensland.  There he worked on a microneedle vaccine technology which led to a number of patents which were licenced to Vaxxas, a company established with $15m funding to commercialise this technology. Joining Vaxxas, Michael worked on a variety of projects and led device engineering aspects.  He returned to academia and in 2017 joined Heriot-Watt University, where he has won funding to research wound healing sensors, mechanobiology and other medical microdevices.  He loves the challenges and benefits from multidisciplinary research.

Dr Davide Danovi, Director, Cell Phenotyping / Senior Research Fellow, King's College London

Davide Danovi’s group at King's launched within the framework of the Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Initiative (HipSci) project, funded by Wellcome and MRC. In parallel to his research, he spearheaded the 'Stem Cell Hotel’ project, a collaborative cell phenotyping space providing to internal and external scientists from academia and industry methods for translational projects in regenerative medicine and advanced therapeutics.

Davide has several years experience in high content analysis to characterise stem cell behaviour in academia and industry. He holds an MD from University of Milan and a PhD in Molecular Oncology from the European Institute of Oncology where he demonstrated the causative role of the HdmX protein in human cancer.

He completed his postdoctoral training with Austin Smith and Steve Pollard at University of Cambridge and University College London where he developed screening platforms to isolate compounds active on human neural stem cells from brain tumour samples.

Professor Jason Gill, Professor of Cardiometabolic Health, University of Glasgow

Jason Gill is Professor of Cardiometabolic Health in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He leads an active multi-disciplinary research group investigating the effects of lifestyle on the prevention and management of vascular and metabolic diseases. This work includes studies into the epidemiology of lifestyle and cardiometabolic disease risk, particularly why certain population groups appear to have increased susceptibility to the adverse effects of an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle; lifestyle interventions for the prevention and management of cardiometabolic disease; and investigations into the mechanisms by which diet and exercise regulate insulin sensitivity and lipoprotein metabolism. 

In recent years, he has become increasingly focused on collaborative projects involving biological and medical scientists working together with social scientists and external stakeholders to develop realistic and sustainable lifestyle interventions for the primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases.  Jason has contributed to the UK Physical Activity guidelines, NICE guidelines for prevention of type 2 diabetes, and SIGN guidelines for obesity and cardiovascular disease.  He is also Director of the MSc in Sport and Exercise Science & Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Gráinne Gorman, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Professor of Neurology, Newcastle University

Grainne Gorman is a Consultant Neurologist in the NHS Highly Specialised Service for Rare Mitochondrial Disorders at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust and with her colleagues, has established the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University as an internationally renowned centre of excellence in mitochondrial disease.

She has developed research programs on two levels: 1) investigating genotype-phenotype correlations of primary mitochondrial disorders to better understand the basic pathophysiology and improve diagnostic yield (the first translational gap), and 2) Identifying strategic patient-centred research themes and validated outcomes (the second translational gap).

She established and now leads the Newcastle Mito Hub – a research group designed to build on the world-class medical science at Newcastle University. She has led the development of clinical operating procedures for this group and holds overall responsibility for its use and governance. The Newcastle Mito Hub is growing to become the clinical platform for therapeutic interventions in mitochondrial medicine research.

Dr Ilaria Mirabile, Transformation Lead (Innovation, Treatment and Care), NHS England and NHS Improvement

Ilaria Mirabile, PhD has more than 10 years’ experience spanning academia, charity and public sectors.

She currently leads the innovation, treatment and care teams and agendas in the NHS Cancer Programme, with a vision to develop and deliver local and national plans to harness collaboration of NHS, academia, and industry to rapidly translate innovative approaches into practice; to tackle unwarranted variation in treatment; and to embed personalised care across the cancer pathway.

Previously, she worked at Cancer Research UK, driving the strategic and operational development of the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network, a joint initiative between CRUK and the Department of Health of the devolved nations. A scientist by background, she obtained her PhD in Clinical Neuroscience from UCL.

Ilaria is motivated by the opportunity to drive progress in science and the healthcare sector, promoting innovation with significant long-lasting impact on the lives of people and patients.

Dr James Pickett, Director of Research and Innovation at Epilepsy Research UK.

James Pickett was recently appointed as the first Director of Research and Innovation at Epilepsy Research UK, a UK charity uniquely dedicated to supporting life changing research into epilepsy. James’ role is to grow and develop the research programme and develop strategic partnerships which put epilepsy at the forefront of UK life sciences. 

James was previously Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, where he led a dementia research funding programme across basic, translational and applied research,. James developed many research partnerships collaborations that span academia, government funding, industry and lived experience of disease to deliver impactful research. He has published over 20 papers covering research priorities in dementia, research funding and models of public and patient involvement. James was also a frequent public and media spokesperson on new developments in research.  

James has a PhD from University of Cambridge and has previously worked in journal publishing at Nature and in grant funding at Diabetes UK. 

Professor Alison Pilnick, Professor of Language, Medicine and Society, University of Nottingham

Alison Pilnick is Professor of Language, Medicine and Society at the University of Nottingham. For more than 20 years she has been using audio and video data to conduct fine-grained analyses of how healthcare professionals and patients talk to one another. Her interest in healthcare communication began as a hospital pharmacist, and following a Department of Health funded PhD in sociology, she has studied interaction in settings including primary care, genetic counselling, antenatal screening, anaesthesia, learning disability services and dementia care. Underpinning this research is an aim to produce findings of practical relevance for healthcare delivery, and of utility for policy makers, which are underpinned by high quality social science analysis. Her work has been funded by bodies including ESRC, NIHR, Big Lottery Fund and the General Research Fund of Hong Kong. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science in 2015 in recognition of her work in healthcare.

Professor Elizabeth Sapey, Professor in Acute and Respiratory Medicine, University of Birmingham

Liz Sapey is an academic respiratory and acute medicine physician at the University of Birmingham.  She graduated from The Royal London Medical School and undertook a PhD at the University of Birmingham while completing specialist clinical training.  Liz’s research focuses on translational insights in lung disease, to mitigate aberrant and damaging inflammatory processes.

Recognising the need for innovation in acute medicine, Liz started the first national clinical academic training programme in Birmingham, establishing a cross-cutting acute care research group, with the first NIHR Clinical Lecturer in acute medicine awarded in 2019.  Liz is now the Director of an HDR-UK health data hub in acute care, a cross-sector programme to join siloed acute healthcare providers, AI systems, academia and industry, aiming to transform care in this area of critical need.

Liz is the Managing Director of Birmingham’s NIHR Clinical Research Facility and Chair of the British Thoracic Society Science Committee.  

Dr Reecha Sofat, Associate Professor, Clinical Pharmacologist, University College London

Reecha Sofat is a Clinical Pharmacologist at UCL and UCLH. She is interested in using emerging tools to understand the cause and consequence of disease with a focus on subtypes of disease as these will generate the next generation of randomised trials through drug other therapeutic interventions. She is the PI of a national platform aiming to achieve this through recruiting patients with complex cardiovascular disease linking the health record to a genetic and multi-omic sample. The leading study has recruited 10000 patients with stroke. The platform is CORUM with interests in not only stroke, but heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vascular risk factors.

She is also the lead for the UCLH initiative AboutMe which aims to embed research into routine clinical care as well as beginning to return genomic information to both patients and clinicians and to examine how this can be utilised for patient, public and translational benefit.

Dr Julia Wilson, Associate Director, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Julia Wilson builds and supports the relationships needed to support the strategic vision of the Sanger Institute. These activities range from interactions with the academic scientific community, commercial partners, funders, government and policymakers.

Julia increases awareness of the Sanger Institute’s research, explores new collaborations and areas of research, strengthens and builds on existing links to expand the impact and reach of Sanger Institute science.  She works to position the Sanger Institute as a source of translational opportunities and raises awareness of the importance and impact.

Dr Paul Wright, Principal Scientist, LifeArc

Paul Wright is a Principal Scientist at LifeArc, working in the Centre for Therapeutics Discovery. Paul is a drug discovery scientist who collaborates with academics to help translate research into new therapies. Paul specialises in the development of cell-based assays to study ion channels and GPCRs and has a particular interest in using new screening technologies and quantitative pharmacology to identify ligands for novel or previously 'undrugged' targets. Most recently this work has focused on identifying and developing molecules to help advance novel, first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of pain. Paul completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and post-doctoral training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Harvard Medical School, developing systems to identify potential new treatments for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

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