FLIER round 2 participants

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


Professor Parveen Ali, Professor of Nursing, Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Parveen Ali, Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield)

Parveen Ali works as a Professor of Nursing 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.

Read more from Parveen: 'Working for a world without domestic violence'.


Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Clinical Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Rasha Al-Lamee, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Imperial College London)

Rasha Al-Lamee is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute within Imperial College London and an Interventional Cardiology Consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

She is a clinical trialist with expertise in stable coronary artery disease, coronary intervention, invasive physiology and invasive intravascular imaging.

She designed, conducted and led ORBITA, the first randomised placebo-controlled trial of coronary angioplasty. She is lead author of the primary publication in The Lancet and the two secondary analyses both published in Circulation. She is an author in over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

She leads a research group with a focus on clinical trials that impact the care of patients with cardiovascular disease. She believes in rigorous testing of clinical practice and the use of evidence-based medicine in all aspects of medical care. She is the chief investigator for several multi-centre placebo-controlled clinical trials of cardiac interventions including the ORBITA-2, ORBITA-STAR and ORBITA-COSMIC trials.

She has a leadership role within Imperial College Medical school as the lead for Clinical Medicine in Phase 1c. She is a deputy editor at EuroIntervention and an associate editor at the European Heart Journal. She is the NIHR CRN North West London Cardiovascular speciality lead and co-head of the cardiovascular theme of the Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.

Read more from Rasha: 'Doing the right research to help patients'.


Dr Cat Ball, Assistant Director, Research & Innovation, Scottish Funding Council
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Cat Ball, Senior Policy Manager, Association of Medical Research Charities)

Cat Ball has recently taken up a role as Assistant Director, Research & Innovation at Scottish Funding Council (December 2020), the body that funds excellent research and supports knowledge exchange in universities in Scotland. Her areas of focus include research culture, postgraduate research student support and the UK R&D policy landscape and environment.

She was previously Head of Policy at the Association of Medical Research Charities, the UK’s membership body for health and medical research charities, where she led on the development of policy positions with the ultimate aim to ensure the best possible environment for charities to fund research in the UK. During her time at AMRC Cat 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 is a Trustee of Orthopaedic Research UK. Cat has a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Oxford.

Read more from Cat: 'A better culture for better research'.


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.

Read more from Giovanni: 'A focus on helping patients'.


Professor Tim Chico, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and 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 career has spanned several sectors, from the military to biotechnology companies, academia and the NHS.

Tim’s research interests include clinical cardiovascular medicine and application of digital technologies to improve diagnosis, treatment, prediction and prevention of heart diseases. In Nov 2021 he was appointed as Research Director for Healthcare Data and AI in the Institute of In Silico Medicine, University of Sheffield and is soon to take up a related role at HDR UK.

Read more from Tim: 'Asking questions of the heart'.


Dr Muireann Coen, Director of Oncology Discovery Safety Science, AstraZeneca
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Muireann Coen, Associate Director of Oncology Safety, AstraZeneca)

Dr Muireann Coen is Director of Oncology Discovery Safety Science at AstraZeneca and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London.

Her academic research 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. At AstraZeneca she works on discovery stage projects to apply both traditional and new tools to better identify, define and mitigate safety risks for new targets in the oncology pipeline.

Dr Coen has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers, 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. She was awarded the BTS early career researcher prize in 2010 and an MRC Integrative Toxicology Training Partnership (ITTP) career development fellowship in 2009.

Read more from Muireann: 'Taking the lead toward more effective treatments'.


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 MRC clinical fellowship panel, Association of British Neurologists Research Committee and Alzheimer's Society Biomedical Grant Panel.

Read more form Liz: 'Seeking solutions for people with dementia'.


Dr Michael Crichton, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Michael Crichton, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University)

Michael Crichton is an Associate 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.

Read more from Michael: 'Building technology for future health'.


Dr Davide Danovi, Head of Cellular Phenotyping, bit.bio
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Davide Danovi, Director, Cell Phenotyping Group / Senior Research Fellow, King's College London)

Davide is Head of Cellular Phenotyping at bit.bio, an award-winning Cambridge based company applying the principles of computation to biology and senior lecturer at the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s. He has several years of experience developing imaging platforms to characterise stem cell behaviour in both university and biotechnology companies.

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. Davide holds an MD from University of Milan and a PhD in Molecular Oncology from the European Institute of Oncology.

Read more from Davide: 'Bringing academia and business together'.


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.

Read more from Jason: 'A vision for tackling obesity'.


Professor Gráinne Gorman, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research / Professor of Neurology, Newcastle University
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Gráinne Gorman, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Newcastle University)

qualified from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 1997 and completed three years of general medical training in Dublin, Ireland. I became medical tutor for third and final medical year students at RCSI for one year, prior to commencing my clinical training in neurology. After completion of my specialist training, I moved to Newcastle to further my interest in neuromuscular diseases and was appointed Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2010. I completed my PhD studies investigating the clinical and genotypic aspects of mitochondrial disease in 2015 and became Senior Clinical Lecturer at Newcastle University the following year.

I was promoted to Professor of Neurology in 2020 and at the same time appointed Director of the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University, where I continue to work with my colleagues to strengthen our reputation as an internationally renowned centre of excellence in mitochondrial disease and dysfunction. To achieve this, I am committed to attracting, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive team of outstanding scientists whilst also promoting creativity, encouraging resilience and equipping our next generation of academics to become global leaders at the forefront of medical breakthroughs. My other leadership roles include the NIHR BRC Lead for Mitochondrial Disease and Lead of the Mitochondria and Neuromuscular Theme within the Newcastle University Translational and Clinical Research Institute, which have all benefitted from my successful recruitment to The Academy of Medical Sciences FLIER leadership programme.

Read more from Gráinne: 'Learning to lead in mitochondrial disease'.


Dr Ilaria Mirabile, Head of Programmes, Accelerated Access Collaborative, NHS England and NHS Improvement
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Ilaria Mirabile, Transformation Lead (Innovation, Treatment and Care), NHS Headquarters)

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

As Head of Programmes in the AAC, she focuses on increasing adoption and spread of highest impact innovation in the NHS, leading on the strategic approach of flagship programmes such as the AAC Rapid Uptake Products Programme.

Previously, as Transformation Lead (Innovation, Treatment and Care), she led 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.

Before NHS E&I, 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.

Read more from Ilaria: 'Making new tests and treatments available sooner'.


Dr James Pickett, Principal Partnership Lead, Owkin
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr James Pickett, Head of Research, Alzheimer's Society)

James Pickett has a diverse career spanning academia, research funding, and industry. He is currently Principal partnerships manager at Owkin, an AI biotech that partners with the NHS and academia to identify novel biomarkers and drug targets. James’ role involves setting up new collaborations to create and access high quality research-ready datasets derived from real-world patient populations.   

Previously, he was the Hub Development Manager at Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), where he drove new initiatives to support secure and trusted health data sharing at scale for the delivery of Covid-19 research and other serious diseases.

At the start of the FLIER programme, James was Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, where he oversaw a dementia research funding programme across basic, translational and applied research. He has published over 40 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. 

Read more from James: 'Facing up to the health data challenge'.


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.

Read more from Alison: 'On a mission to improve communication in healthcare'.


Professor Elizabeth Sapey, Professor in Acute and Respiratory Medicine, University of Birmingham
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Elizabeth Sapey, Reader in Acute and Respiratory Medicine, University of Birmingham)

Liz graduated from The Royal London Medical School and undertook a PhD at the University of Birmingham while completing specialist clinical training.  Clinically, she trained in respiratory and general medicine, but was drawn towards improving the care of medical patients when they first enter hospital, guiding their initial management within Acute Medical Units. 

Recognising the need for innovation in acute medicine, Liz started the first national clinical academic training programme for acute medicine 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, called “PIONEER”, 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.  To improve public trust in and oversight of the secondary use of health data for research, Liz founded the first “Data Trust Committee” within PIONEER, a diverse group of lay members who review every request for health data access, work with data-researchers to improve patient involvement and engagement in research and advise on patient priorities.

As Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, Liz is focused on ensuring translational insights into inflammation are informed by in-depth patient characterisation, bringing together data from the laboratory, health records and demography, aiming for a personalised approach to discovery.  

Read more from Liz: 'Building a more resilient service in acute medicine'.


Professor Reecha Sofat, Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool
(Job title at the start of the programme: Dr Reecha Sofat, Associate Professor, University College London)

Reecha Sofat was previously 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.

Read more from Reecha: 'Better medicines and better use of medicines'.


Dr Julia Wilson, Associate Director, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Julia is responsible for strategy development, and partnerships at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Her office works to drive broader academic and industry engagement needed to support the work of the Sanger Institute and the wider Wellcome Genome Campus. 

Julia is accountable for the leadership and oversight of organisational research strategy, research policy, faculty planning and organisational impact. Her team work to increase awareness of the impact and reach of Sanger Institute science to position the Sanger Institute as a source of translational opportunities and raises awareness of the importance and impact of genomics research with government and policy makers.

Julia leads the organisational partnership agenda to enhance genomic research activity through the development and delivery of new partnerships and approaches that bring together stakeholders from academia, industry, funding agencies and government. Julia ensures that the Institute’s Associate Research Programme portfolio consists of high-quality, high-impact research covering the breadth of organisational interests and enhances the profile of the Institute and Faculty across the national and international scientific community.

Julia is a member of the BioIndustry Association Genomics Advisory Committee, Chair of the Open Targets Governance Board, member of the Global Gene Corp Scientific Advisory Board and Earth BioGenome Project International Steering Committee.

Previously Julia was Assistant Director of Research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Science Programme Manager at the World Cancer Research Fund. As a scientist she was a post-doc at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden and then worked as a researcher at Cancer Research UK and Queen Mary University of London.

Read more from Julia: 'Valuing all players in research'.


Dr Paul Wright, MND Translational Challenge Leader, LifeArc

Paul Wright is an MDN Translational Challenge Leader 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.

Read more from Paul: 'Combining skills to challenge neurological disease'.

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