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Current NIHR Research Professors



NIHR Research Professorships

Round 9, 2019

  • Launched – 19th September 2018; Closed – 28th November 2018. 25 applications received.
  • Shortlisting March 2019; 11 invited to interview on 6th June 2019 in London.


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Amanda Daley

Loughborough University


Innovative lifestyle interventions to improve population health

Many diseases could be prevented if the public were more physically active and spent less time sitting. My NIHR professorship award involves four interrelated work streams to develop lifestyle interventions to help the public become more physically active throughout the whole day, reduce the time they spend sitting and prevent obesity.

The research aims to involve the public, NHS and wider environment. The Department for Health and Social Care would like to integrate more opportunities for NHS staff to promote healthy lifestyles within routine NHS consultations; this campaign is called ‘making every contact count’.

Therefore my award will focus on testing interventions that can be delivered to the public during routine consultations by health care professionals in primary care and community settings. This award also aims to develop a world class centre for public health physical activity research.

Dr Jonathan Jeffers

Imperial College London


Restore healthy biomechanics after early intervention orthopaedic surgery

Jonathan’s professorship will improve the treatment options available for patients with early stage arthritis in two ways.

First, his team will perform joint preserving surgery in the laboratory and use a multitude of sensors to measure the effect of surgery, such that surgical techniques can be evolved to create improved joint biomechanics.

Second, his team will use the latest additive manufacturing technology to create more bone-like materials for implants that will repair the joints of patients with early stage arthritis.


Professor James Catto

University of Sheffield


Improving the outcomes from bladder cancer through genomic stratification and novel agents

I aim to improve the outcomes from bladder cancer using 5 work packages to focus care on personalised treatments for aggressive disease and less intense surveillance for low risk disease. The work has be designed with patients to address unmet needs and to open the field of more individualised approaches.

In particular, I will test genomic classification as a tool to stratify patient care, I will evaluate in vitro response as a method of selecting an individual’s chemotherapy and study the use of patient reported outcomes to debulk follow up pathways.

Professor Richard Emsley

King’s College London


Design and analysis of efficient trials in mental health

Randomised clinical trials are considered the gold standard way of testing if a new treatment works or not. In some disease areas, researchers increasingly use ‘efficient trial’ designs that test several new treatments simultaneously and deliver answers to more questions more quickly.

In other areas such as mental health, the full toolbox of these efficient trial designs is not currently being used. Professor Emsley’s research programme aims to deliver better trials of treatments in mental health by reviewing all aspects of ‘efficient trial’ designs and establish why they are not being used effectively. 

The research will produce new ideas for designing and analysing trials in mental health, and consult widely with clinicians, patients and the public to work out how they can best be used in the future. 

The research will develop new statistical methods to make better use of the data already collected in trials and improve its interpretation, particularly in situations where patients are unable to follow their allocated treatment or provide outcome data. Ultimately this will benefit patients by more efficient trials being funded, quicker delivery of effective treatments and fewer patients being randomized to ineffective treatments.

Dr Charlotte Coles

University of Cambridge


Risk adapted breast radiotherapy

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in the UK and around 55,000 people are diagnosed each year. Breast radiotherapy is required for around two-thirds of people with breast cancer. It is important as it reduces the risk of the cancer coming back and can improve survival. Breast radiotherapy can cause some side effects, but most are mild and do not last. However, around 25 in 100 women have a change in breast appearance and some notice breast shrinkage, firmness or tenderness. These changes can be permanent and may cause psychological distress. There are also rare, but serious side effects. These include heart damage and new cancers that may not be cured easily.

Research shows that breast cancer is made up of several different subtypes, which have different risks of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Different cancer drugs that can be given to different breast cancer subtypes, however, breast radiotherapy tends to be similar even if women have very different risks of recurrence.

This research aims to adapt breast radiotherapy according to a patient’s risk of recurrence so she has the best chance of cure with least side effects. It will use clinical trials to create high quality evidence that will drive a change in current radiotherapy practice. It will also increase understanding of the biological effects of breast radiotherapy to help design and test future more individualised approaches.


 Round 8, 2018

  • Launched – 20th September 2017; Closed – 29th November 2017. 31 applications received.
  • Shortlisting March 2018; 10 invited to interview on 7th June 2018 in Manchester.


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Olga Ciccarelli

University College London

Neurology, Multiple


Predicting individual treatment responses – towards personalised medicine in Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic neurological condition that causes physical and cognitive disability. There are many licensed drugs that reduce the risk of relapses in Multiple Sclerosis, but doctors cannot predict which of these will work best for an individual. The decision about which drug to give to a patient is based on personal preference. Medications are changed if patients develop relapses, disability and adverse events. The goal of this research is to develop a computer tool that predicts whether an individual patient will respond to a drug by taking into account all the elements that may influence treatment response, including demographic and genetic factors, blood biomarkers, MRI, diet, comorbidities and life style. We will use machine learning, which is a sub-area of artificial intelligence, to predict individual treatment responses. This crucial information will help doctors to select the most appropriate treatment for Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Professor Andrea Cipriani

University of Oxford


Mental Health,


Choosing the right antidepressant for depressive disorder

Depression is the second leading causes of global burden and a significant challenge for healthcare systems worldwide. Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments are available, but antidepressants are commonly used to treat moderate to severe depressive symptoms. In England alone, for instance, every year approximately 800,000 people receive one of these drugs for a new or recurrent episode of depression. Many patients, however, are given antidepressants, which, for them, prove ineffective or cause intolerable side-effects.

This happens mainly because antidepressants are prescribed without a clear understanding of which drug is the most appropriate medication for each individual in terms of both efficacy and tolerability. By integrating the best available scientific information with individual preferences and values, the aim of this project is to develop a bespoke internet-based clinical decision aid to help doctors and patients together choose in real world settings the best antidepressant for each individual. Professor Andrea Cipriani will

involve patients, carers and clinicians in the design and development of this innovative and user friendly tool for shared decision making, and will test it in a scientifically sound study of depressed patients who are to be treated with antidepressant medication in both primary and secondary care across the UK.

Dr Menna Clatworthy

University of Cambridge

Renal Medicine,


Identifying biomarkers and mechanistic pathways to improve organ utilisation and kidney transplant outcomes

Kidney failure is a devastating medical condition. Although we can keep patients alive by offering them dialysis – a treatment that cleans the blood – their quality and quantity of life is significantly compromised. Transplantation provides the best treatment for most patients with kidney failure but organ shortage is a major problem; there are currently hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for a transplant worldwide.

To try and address this problem, doctors have begun to consider using organs from donors that are older or who have medical problems. Some of these kidneys work well, but some take a long time to get going and have poor function, meaning that the patient ends up back on dialysis. The aim of this research is to find ways of predicting whether, and to understand why, a kidney is going to work well in the short and long term.

This will allow us to develop tests that can be used by transplant doctors to help them decide whether to use an organ. Our study will also provide a detailed map of the different types of cells that live in the kidney and will investigate how they contribute to the injury and repair processes that takes place during the course of an organ transplant. Together, this information will help to shape the development of treatments that promote kidney transplant longevity, and lead to more kidney transplants that last longer.

Professor Gisli Jenkins

University of Nottingham



Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a process that leads to progressive scarring in the lungs and ultimately death. Pulmonary fibrosis affects over 50,000 people in the UK but early, subclinical disease is likely to affect many, many more. The best-characterized type of the condition is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that is responsible for more deaths than many cancers.

Pulmonary fibrosis has a variable course and an inconsistent response to therapy. It is not currently possible to predict which patients will progress, or who will respond to therapy. Current management strategies rely on trying to identify a cause and monitoring disease severity. However, neither aetiology nor lung function reflect the disease activity that might predict the course of fibrosis.

The aim of these studies is to identify genetic signals and peripheral blood biomarkers that reflect fibrotic disease activity regardless of aetiology or lung function and which can be used to predict response to therapy. This information will be used to develop a precision medicine approach to target therapy to patients likely to benefit ensuring we treat the right patients, with the right treatment at the right time.

Professor Gerry McCann
University of Leicester


Heart failure in type 2 diabetes: improving diagnosis and management in a multi-ethnic population.
Heart failure is the most common and deadliest cardiovascular complication of diabetes. Professor McCann’s research aims to identify which characteristics of a multi-ethnic population with type 2 diabetes are most likely to be associated with early heart failure, detected on a MRI scan. He will also explore whether early heart failure can be reliably diagnosed by a blood test using a combination of proteins. The aim will be to validate the findings in additional large cohort studies such as UK Biobank. Additional funding will be sought to undertake clinical trials to treat early and established heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The benefit of the research to the NHS will be to develop a clinical risk score and diagnostic blood test that may be used to screen people with type 2 diabetes so that treatments to reduce the risk of heart failure can be initiated.

Round 7, 2017

  • Launched – 21st September 2016; Closed – 14th December 2016.
  • 31 applications received.
  • Shortlisting April 2017; 10 invited to interview on 12th June 2017 in Manchester.


Research Area

Research Project

Dr Udai Banerji

The Institute of Cancer Research/The Royal Marsden NHS FoundationTrust

Molecular Cancer


Understanding and overcoming resistance to targeted anticancer drugs

Targeted anticancer drugs act upon specific parts of cancer cells to stop the flow of information through signalling pathways within the cells. However, cancer cells often find alternative ways to transmit information, becoming resistant and continuing to grow. The purpose of this research is to study the re-wiring or re-routing of information within cancer cells that causes drug resistance. This critical information will allow researchers to predict mechanisms of resistance and overcome these by using rational combination therapies of existing and future targeted anticancer drugs.

Professor Diana Baralle

University of Southampton


Translational genomics- maximising potential for NHS patient care.

Genomic sequencing technologies have the acknowledged potential to improve diagnostic accuracy, stratify disease and personalise treatment for immediate patient benefit. Before this can happen, physicians must assess the relevance of the sequence change to disease. Professor Baralle will develop pathways for the interpretation of genetic variation in human disease using RNA technologies, transforming clinical care.

Professor Sally Barrington

King’s College London

PET-guided cancer


Using PET Imaging to improve survival and reduce side-effects of treatment for patients with cancer.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an imaging technique that shows metabolic changes in cancer at the molecular level and allows earlier and more accurate monitoring

of treatment than CT and MRI scans. Professor Barrington’s research will focus on the use of PET-guided therapy to improve the effectiveness of cancer treatment with fewer side effects.

Clinical trials will test how chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be tailored, using PET to evaluate an individual patient’s risk and response, in haematological and head and neck cancers. Ways to maximise the benefits of modern radiotherapy techniques, using advanced imaging, will be developed and translated. Methods to improve the reliability of PET reading and inform how PET can monitor new drugs that target the immune system will be assessed.

Dr Graham Cooke

Imperial College London

Infectious Diseases

Accelerating the Elimination of Hepatitis C in the UK

Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death worldwide. New advances in hepatitis C treatment have the potential to cure all those infected. Once unrestricted access to new treatments can be achieved it will open up the possibility of elimination of hepatitis C in the UK and


Professor Cooke’s programme will bring new methods of viral sequencing into the clinic and, by combining with detailed clinical study of recent infections, seek to improve our

understanding of where transmission of hepatitis C is still happening. Such data will help inform policies for elimination of infection. Alongside this, he will continue to develop new diagnostics suitable for use outside of routine clinical settings to improve linkage to care for hard to reach populations.

Dr Manju Kurian

University College London

Paediatric Neurology

Understanding Genetic Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is one of the commonest neurological disorders of childhood, associated with significant disability. It can cause problems with movement and co-ordination, as well as with learning and behaviour. Although traditionally associated with birth injury, it is increasingly recognised that a significant number of children labelled as “cerebral palsy” have an underlying faulty gene causing their problems. Over the course of this NIHR Professorship, I plan to identify these disease-causing genes and develop practical guidelines to aid patient diagnosis and management. Furthermore, I will generate stem cell laboratory models to better understand disease mechanisms and develop new therapies.

Round 6, 2016

  • Launched – 23rd September 2015; Closed – 16th December 2015 at 1pm.
  • A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
    Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 24 nominations were received.
  • Shortlisting – 11th April 2016; 9 invited to interview on 9th June 2016 in London.


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Rachel Batterham

University College London



One quarter of UK adults are obese having an unhealthy amount of body fat. People with obesity die at a younger age and are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and certain types of cancer. The causes of obesity are complex but we know that genetic make-up plays a role. Losing weight by dieting and
exercise improves health, but staying at a lower weight is difficult because the body’s weight-control systems try to return weight back to the higher level.

Bariatric (obesity) surgery is the most effective treatment for people with severe obesity. This surgery causes long-term weight loss, reduces the future risk of dying in the future and makes people with obesity healthier by improving and preventing many of the illnesses linked to obesity. However, access to bariatric surgery is very limited and unfortunately around 1 in 5 people do not respond well to bariatric surgery in terms of improved health.

This programme of research aims to improve the health of people with obesity by ensuring that bariatric surgery is delivered in the best way possible to improve the health of obese patients and by studying people having bariatric surgery to gain new knowledge into how body weight is regulated.

Professor Anthony Gordon

Imperial College London

Intensive Care Medicine,


Personalised Medicine in Sepsis
Sepsis is the body’s response to severe infection. It is very common worldwide and has a high death rate. In the UK alone more than 120,000 people are admitted to intensive care units due to sepsis.

Professor Gordon’s research programme aims to develop a personalised medicine strategy for patients with sepsis to allow treatment of patients as individuals. He is
combining pharmacogenetic, gene expression and metabolic profiling with rapid point-of care diagnostic tests to select the most appropriate treatments for patients and improve their outcome.

Dr Alexander Leff

University College London


Development, evaluation

and roll-out of therapeutic

interventions for patients

with cognitive disorders.

Digital neuro-interventions to enhance re-learning in patients with acquired and degenerative brain diseases

Acquired brain injury (stroke, traumatic brain injury and tumours) and degenerative brain diseases (dementia) account for the vast majority of the cognitive impairments suffered by adults worldwide. There is a wealth of evidence showing that damaged brains can learn if engaged in the correct form of deliberate practice.

Neuro-Interventions (practice-based treatments that target specific brain functions) can improve outcomes in adult patients with cognitive impairment, but there is currently no easy way for patients to access these treatments, which are traditionally provided during face-to-face therapy sessions. My research addresses this translational failure. I will produce three computer-based therapies (digital neuro-interventions) that patients with specific impairments of their thinking and memory skills can use to boost re-learning: 1) for patients with visuospatial neglect; 2) for patients with dementia and problems naming the people they know; 3) a naming intervention for aphasic patients who have word-finding difficulties.

Professor David Mole

University of Oxford

Experimental Medicine

and Renal Oncology

Translating genomic signals in kidney cancer into patient care
New techniques in genetic research have changed preconceptions about cancer and revealed the involvement of far more widespread pathways than previously considered.

These drive changes that both promote and inhibit progression of tumours. In order to advance, the cancer has to adapt the balance of these pathways to favour its growth.

Professor Mole’s research will focus on how oxygen-sensing pathways that are activated in kidney cancer are re-balanced to promote tumour progression and how these findings

can be translated into improved healthcare. In particular, it will use innovative types of (large-scale DNA-sequencing) data and methods of analysis to find new ways to predict how tumours will behave, which patients will respond to existing treatments and what new treatments might be effective.

Round 5, 2015

  • Launched – 24th September 2014; Closed – 17th December 2014 at 1pm.
  • A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
    Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 24 nominations were received.
  • Shortlisting – 15th April 2015; 9 invited to interview on 1st June 2015 in London.


Research Area

Research Project

Dr Lucy Chappell

King’s College London

Obstetrics & Gynaecology,

Health Services Research

Improving maternal and perinatal outcomes in high-risk pregnancies

Of the 800,000 pregnancies every year in the UK, medical co-morbidities now affect 45% and greatly increase the risk of maternal and perinatal mortality

and morbidity. Uncertainties remain over management and treatment options for women with these high-risk pregnancies. This research programme, using clinical trials and other robust methodology, focuses on women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, and aims to reduce adverse outcomes for the mother and baby through providing the evidence base for appropriate interventions.

Professor Waljit Dhillo

Imperial College London

Experimental Medicine &


Using hormones to improve reproductive health

Disorders of reproductive health affect millions of patients worldwide. The hormones kisspeptin and neurokinin B have recently been identified as potential novel targets for the treatment of infertility and menopausal flushing, respectively. My programme of work aims to develop novel treatment protocols based on kisspeptin and neurokinin B to treat patients with disorders of reproductive health.

Professor Daniel Freeman

University of Oxford

Clinical Psychology,


Overcoming persecutory delusions

Persecutory delusions (unfounded beliefs that others intend harm) occur in over 70% of patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia. Examples of such beliefs include: “My neighbours are spreading nasty rumours and tormenting me”, “An evil spirit is out to kill me”. This major psychotic experience is a key treatment target. The delusion has substantial impact for patients (and their families), including isolation, suicidal ideation, and hospital admission. Yet too many patients do not adequately respond to current treatments. Translating advances in understanding the causes of the delusions into treatment, Professor Freeman has been developing a new targeted psychological intervention. During the NIHR Professorship the new treatment will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial. The goal at this stage is recovery in
persistent persecutory delusions for 50% of patients. Improvements in psychological well-being and activity levels are also predicted. Work will also be carried out during the award to ready the intervention for implementation in the NHS. The promise is of a major improvement in outcome, using an intervention that patients want and that health professionals have the confidence to use.

Dr Waseem Qasim

University College London

Paediatrics, Experimental


Next generation T cell gene therapies for children with leukaemia and immunodeficiency

T lymphocytes are key orchestrators of immune responses against viruses and certain types of cancers, and adoptive transfer of these cells during bone marrow transplantation has revealed their powerful therapeutic effects. The ability to harvest, manipulate and return these cells to patients makes them attractive targets for gene therapy, and there has recently been notable progress in modifying T cells with antigen specific receptor, and other genes, using viral vectors. Dr Waseem Qasim is applying a new generation of gene editing reagents to develop novel therapeutic strategies for children with haematological malignancies, and inherited or secondary T cell deficiencies.

The work aims to extend and disseminate the application of these new genetic medicines.

NIHR Global Research Professorships

Round 2, 2019

  • Launched – 19th September 2018; Closed – 28th November 2018. 9 applications received.
  • Shortlisting March 2019; 4 invited to interview on 7th June 2019 in London.


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Melita Gordon 

University of Liverpool


Preventing Invasive Salmonella Disease in Africa

I am a doctor-scientist who has worked for 21 years in Malawi on understanding and preventing 2 invasive blood-stream infections, both caused by bacteria called Salmonella:

1.    Typhoid fever (caused by Salmonella Typhi), which causes over 3 million cases of serious illness and over 33,000 deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa. Typhoid mostly affects healthy pre-school and school-aged children, and can be prevented by a new conjugate Vi vaccine, for which I am leading the first clinical trial in Malawi

2.    Invasive Non-Typhoidal Salmonella disease, also called ‘iNTS disease’ (caused by Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis), which causes over 500,000 cases of serious illness and 78,000 deaths each year. Two thirds of these occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and most affect very young children and people with HIV. Vaccines for iNTS are in early clinical development, and we aim to lead their introduction for children in Africa.

Over the next 5 years, the NIHR Professorship in Global Health will allow me to accelerate the vaccine prevention of both of these diseases, by answering questions in 3 workstreams:

1.    Epidemiology: how much typhoid and iNTS disease are happening, and how do they spread in urban and rural communities?
2.    Protection: How do people’s bodies make protective immune responses against Salmonella infection, and how can we design better vaccines?
3.    Vaccines: How well do the vaccines actually work in healthy and immunosuppressed children?

I will support these workstreams with 3 cross-cutting activites:

1.    Discussing and explaining Salmonella disease and research among the communities with whom we work
2.    Engaging and advocating with the Malawi government and other stakeholders and agencies
3.    Training the next generation of doctors and scientists to be the researchers of the future

Round 1, 2018

  • Launched – 20th September 2017; Closed –29th November 2017. 12 applications received.
  • Shortlisting March 2018; 5 invited to interview on 8th June 20178 in Manchester.


Research Area

Research Project

Dr Joseph Jarvis

London School of Hygiene &

Tropical Medicine


Translational Research to Reduce Mortality from CNS Infections in Africa

Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) are major causes of mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Professor Jarvis’ research aims to generate a detailed understanding of the aetiology of adult meningitis in this setting to inform diagnostic pathways and treatment strategies. His research group will evaluate affordable point-of care diagnostic tests for meningitis, which are urgently needed to facilitate diagnosis, screening and prevention strategies, and trial novel effective treatments required to improve patient outcomes.

Professor Nuala McGrath

University of Southampton


Improving adult health in sub-Saharan Africa through couples-focused interventions for HIV, STIs and diabetes

The majority of adults are in a partnership and to varying degrees live shared lives. Couples-focused interventions can be more effective than individual interventions in facilitating long-term behavioural change by one or both members of a couple. The aim of this Global Health Professorship is to evaluate couple-focused interventions to reduce the burden of diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular HIV and diabetes. The programme of work is a partnership between the University of Southampton and two South African institutions: Human Sciences Research Council and University of Cape Town.

Completed NIHR Research Professorships

Round 4, 2014

  • Launched – 26th September 2013; Closed – 23rd January 2014 at 1pm.
  • A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR
    Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 29 nominations were received.
  • Shortlisting – 1st April 2014; 11 invited to interview on 11th and 12th June 2014 in London.

The details of the five successful nominees are below:


 Research Area

 Research Project

Dr Cathy Creswell

University of Reading

Clinical Psychology

Anxiety Disorders

Treatments for childhood anxiety disorders: Improving patient access

and clinical effectiveness

Anxiety disorders are among the most common of all mental health difficulties and often first arise in childhood. Evidence based treatments for childhood

anxiety disorders do exist, but many children do not access them. Furthermore, a significant number of treated children do not benefit. Professor Creswell’s research aims to increase understanding of barriers to accessing evidence based treatments, develop efficient methods of treatment delivery, and improve understanding of psychological mechanisms that maintain difficulties among those children who do not benefit from currently available treatments. The ultimate aims of this work are to improve access to evidence-based treatments for childhood anxiety disorders and improve treatment outcomes.

Mr Paolo De Coppi

University College London

Paediatric Surgery

Oesophageal atresia

Professor De Coppi’s research aims to build and test an artificial oesophagus as a model treatment for paediatric patients with oesophageal atresia. This condition is characterised by the congenital absence of part of the gullet, which occurs in about 1 out of 3,500 births, and often cannot be repaired by simply suturing the upper and lower segments. The study will also provide a platform for treating other congenital and acquired diseases using regenerative medicine approaches.

Professor Christian Mallen

Keele University

General Practice /

Musculoskeletal Medicine

Missed opportunities to improve care for people with musculoskeletal disorders in primary care

Musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis and gout, are common and have a significant impact on individuals, their families and wider society. Professor Mallen’s Professorship addresses missed opportunities to improve the diagnosis and management of these conditions in a primary care setting.

Dr Christopher Millett

Imperial College London

Public Health Medicine

Active Travel

Health and economic benefits of active travel

Cross-sectoral interventions that encourage active travel (walking, cycling) have enormous potential to improve population health as they can embed physical activity into peoples’ everyday lives. The purpose of my research programme is to better understand which interventions work to increase active travel and their associated health, economic and carbon reduction benefits in England.

Professor Rupert Pearse

Queen Mary University of London

Intensive Care Medicine

Perioperative Care

Maximising the safety and effectiveness of major surgery through better perioperative care

Approximately five million NHS patients receive surgical treatments each year. In a technical sense, surgery and anaesthesia are very safe, yet high-risk patients frequently develop medical complications, such as pneumonia or heart attacks, in the days following surgery. These complications have a lasting human and financial cost which may be avoidable. The aim of this research is to improve our understanding of why patients develop complications after surgery and how they can be prevented.

Round 3, 2013

  • Launched – 15th October 2012; Closed – 12th December 2012 at 5pm.
  • A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Nominees who were unsuccessful in previous rounds of the NIHR Research Professorships, were eligible to be re-nominated by their institutional partnership. 27 nominations were received.
  • Shortlisting – 25th April 2013; 11 invited to interview on 25th and 26th June 2013 in London.

The details of the five successful nominees are below:


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Persis Amrolia University College London

Transplantation Immunology

To develop novel cell therapies to improve outcomes after stem cell and organ transplant.

Professor Amrolia's research aims to harness the power of the immune system to prevent virus complications and malignancy after transplantation. He is establishing a programme of clinical trials translating T-cell therapy from "bench-to-bedside".

Professor Louise Howard King’s College London

Perinatal Mental Health

Mental health problems in pregnancy and the postpartum period have potential adverse consequences for women, their infants and their families. Professor Howard’s research aims to contribute to the evidence base on effective and safe ways of treating mental health problems in the perinatal period. Her research will include studies on the risks and benefits of medication, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complex non-pharmacological interventions.

Mr Peter Hutchinson

University of Cambridge


Head injury: monitoring and optimising cerebral metabolism to improve outcome

Head injury is a major cause of morbidity and the commonest cause of death under the age of 40 years. Our research aims to increase the understanding

of the pathophysiology of this heterogeneous condition using imaging and monitoring techniques (brain pressure, oxygenation and chemistry) and to

apply novel medical and surgical treatment strategies to improve outcome. The studies also provide a platform for training the next generation of academic surgeons.

Dr Alison Simmons

University of Oxford

Gastrointestinal Disease and


Re-define Crohn’s at a molecular level to identify new biomarkers and therapies

Crohn’s disease is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease with limited treatment options. This research will use molecular techniques to re-stratify this disease to define patients amenable to new treatment approaches, and to develop new therapies for Crohn’s patients.

Professor Jim Wild
University of Sheffield

MRI Physicist
Pulmonary Imaging

Translating novel pulmonary MR imaging methods in to clinical practice
Jim Wild is a magnetic resonance imaging physicist, who has developed imaging techniques for respiratory and pulmonary vascular disease using proton and hyperpolarised gas MRI. In this project he will work with clinicians in the NHS to establish these methods as non-ionising clinical imaging modalities applied to a wide range of pulmonary diseases.

Round 2, 2012

  • Launched – 15th February 2012; Closed – 3rd April 2012 at 5pm.
  • A maximum of two nominations were accepted per institution. Partnerships were kindly asked not to re-nominate those who had been
    unsuccessful in Round 1, unless they had been specifically asked to do so by the panel, via NIHR. 26 nominations were received.
  • Shortlisting – 29th June 2012; 11 invited to interview on 24th and 25th September 2012 in London.

The details of the five successful nominees are below:


Research Area

Research Project

Professor Ashley Adamson

Newcastle University

Obesity, Dietician

Prevention of obesity at family, community and national level and treatment of obesity in individuals.

Obesity is one of the major public health challenges facing the UK. Professor Adamson’s research aims to contribute to prevention of overweight and obesity and to the treatment of obesity. Her research will explore changing eating behaviour in population settings, supporting individual behaviour change and gathering evidence to inform policy by robust evaluation of dietary interventions.

Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald

University of Cambridge

Oesophageal disease and

Gastrointestinal Oncology

Improve outcomes from oesophageal cancer through innovative screening and surveillance tests

Cancer of the oesophagus is a global problem with a high mortality due to late diagnosis. Dr Rebecca Fitzgerald plans to extend her novel approach for detecting precancerous cells in Barrett’s oesophagus to molecular tests for early detection of squamous cell cancer of the oesophagus. For higher risk cases Rebecca and her team are developing molecular imaging tools todefine areas for biopsy and treatment.

Dr Alastair Hay

University of Bristol

Primary Care

Paediatric Respiratory Tract


Reducing the burden of paediatric respiratory tract infections to the NHS

Community, primary and secondary care services are frequently overwhelmed by children with infectious illnesses, most commonly respiratory. Children also

play a key role in the transmission of infection both to other children and adults. Presentation to primary care often results in the use of antibiotics, many of which are unnecessary, and promote illness medicalisation and bacterial resistance. The overall aim of this Professorship is to reduce the burden of respiratory tract infections in children to the NHS.

Professor Richard McManus

University of Oxford

Cardiovascular Disease,


Primary Care

Improving outcomes in Hypertension and Pregnancy through self monitoring of blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure affects over seven million people in the UK and is an important risk factor for heart attack and stroke. In pregnancy, high blood pressure can lead to significant problems for women and their babies. Professor McManus’ programme of work evaluates how involving people in monitoring their own blood pressure might lead to better diagnosis and control of high blood pressure in both hypertension and pregnancy.

Professor Andrew Peet
University of Birmingham

Paediatric Oncology

Improving the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer through functional imaging
Imaging is essential for diagnosing cancer and planning treatment but current methods have significant imitations. Professor Peet’s group have been developing functional imaging techniques which probe tumour properties, allowing improved diagnostic accuracy and the tailoring of treatment to the individual. Future work will concentrate on translating these advances into
routine clinical practice.

Round 1, 2011

  • Launched – 22nd July 2011; Closed – 21st September 2011.
  • 59 applications received.
  • Shortlisting October 2011; 11 invited to interview on 8th December 2011 in London.

The details of the eight successful nominees are below:


Research Area

Research Project

Professor James Bainbridge

University College



Prevent blinding retinal diseases by developing effective new treatments including gene and cell therapies.

The majority of people with sight impairment are affected by disorders of the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive nerves in the eye. Professor Bainbridge aims to develop effective new treatments, including gene therapy and cell transplantation surgery.

Professor Nadine Foster

Keele University



Ensure GPs and Physiotherapists offer treatments and services that help people with musculoskeletal pain and disability, so they can cope with and reduce pain, preventing common joint and back pain from restricting their lives.

Professor Foster's research will support the development, piloting and testing of treatments and services for common and costly musculoskeletal problems in primary care, including lower back, knee and shoulder pain. She will develop and test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of different treatments and services, including early identification of musculoskeletal problems, support for patients of working age and approaches that better match patients to the right treatments.

Professor David Jayne University of Leeds

Colorectal Surgery

Develop better bowel cancer treatments, via translational research, into new surgical techniques including robotics, biosensors and fluorescence guided surgery.

Professor Jayne's research focuses on new developments in minimally invasive surgery with the aim of bringing innovation in engineering and the biological sciences from "theory to theatre". In this he hopes to advance current surgical approaches to cancer for the benefit of patients and healthcare providers.

Dr Marian Knight

University of Oxford

Perinatal Health Services


Improve outcomes for infants following surgery in the first year of life by enhancing the evidence base for choice of surgical strategies.

Dr Knight will lead research aiming to improve care for pregnant women and babies with life threatening illnesses, particularly focusing on helping babies to recover from early surgery.

Professor Louise Robinson

Newcastle University

Mental Health, Neurology

Improve the health and wellbeing of older people and the quality of community care they receive, especially for people living with dementia.

Dementia presents one of the major care challenges for the 21st century. Professor Robinson's research aims to improve the quality of community care for people with dementia and create a skilled and motivated NHS workforce to deliver such care.

Professor Anne Schilder

University College London

ENT, Health

Services Research

Develop the evidence base for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) medicine and surgery, ensuring new and current treatments in ENT are tested and evaluated so that patients can benefit from the best treatments in the field.

ENT problems such as hearing loss, dizziness and sinus and ear infections are amongst the most common health problems affecting people of all ages. Up until now, little rigorous research has been done into exactly how effective treatments for ENT conditions are. Professor Schilder will be leading a programme of clinical trials across the UK to test and evaluate new and current treatments in ENT.

Dr David Sharp

Imperial College London

Neurology (Traumatic Brain


Improve recovery from traumatic brain injury by enhancing the function of intact brain regions so people can regain independence and improve their quality of life.

Dr Sharp's research focuses on diagnosing and treating the effects of head injury on the brain. He works with civilians and soldiers, aiming to minimise the long-term disability that traumatic brain injury often produces. His research will allow treatment to be targeted and recovery enhanced.

Professor Justin Stebbing

Imperial College London


Translate findings from basic cell biology science into new treatments for cancer.
Professor Stebbing's research will help people living with cancer to have a better quality of life, by overcoming resistance to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. His research aims to integrate laboratory science and clinical work to produce newer targeted therapies by utilising a new approach that focuses on a newly identified genetic tumour signature.