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Invention for Innovation - Dementia Committee


30 March 2022


1.0 - March 2022


The funding committees for the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme are multidisciplinary, comprising academic, clinical and commercial experts, as well as patient and public members. 

Committee members - Dementia

Professor David Llewellyn

  • Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Digital Health
  • University of Exeter

David’s research aims to enhance the timely detection of dementia, with a focus on developing strategies for primary and secondary prevention. He uses a combination of evidence synthesis, data science and machine learning to develop new translational insights to identify more effective interventions and enhance the diagnostic pathway for dementia. He sits on the Steering Committee and leads the Clinical Advisory Group of the Early Detection of Neurodegeneration (EDoN) Initiative and is Director of the Deep Dementia Phenotyping (DEMON) Network.

Professor Blossom Stephan

  • Professor of Neuroepidemiology And Global Ageing, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • University of Nottingham

Professor Stephan completed her training in psychology and mathematical statistics at Sydney University, Australia. She completed her postdoctoral training in epidemiology and public health at Cambridge University. In June 2019, she became Professor of Neuroepidemiology and Global Ageing at Nottingham University. She has published over 160 peer-reviewed articles and has a funding portfolio of over £5M. Her research focuses on risk prediction and risk reduction of neurodegenerative diseases. This includes programs of work in high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Society Research Strategy Council and Chair of the Dementia Prevention Subcommittee.

Professor Claude Chelala

  • Professor of Bioinformatics & Turing Fellow
  • Barts Cancer Institute, QMuL

Professor Chelala is Professor of Bioinformatics at the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. Her research is driven by a high motivation to translate her work from a substantial basic/computational research platform into a translational/patient setting. She leads an interdisciplinary research team with complementary expertise in translational bioinformatics, health data science, molecular biology, databases and software engineering.

Dr Ross Dunne

  • Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist
  • Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Dunne is an Old Age Psychiatrist working in Greater Manchester. He is a principal investigator for both commercial and industry studies on the NIHR portfolio. He is CRN clinical lead for dementia (GM), Health Innovation Manchester Theme lead for Dementia, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre at the University of Manchester. He has a clinical and research interest in biomarkers, and implementations of machine learning.

Professor Phil Evans

  • National Speciality Lead at the CRN for Primary Care
  • NIHR CRN / University of Exeter

Philip Evans is an academic GP and until recently Senior Partner in St Leonard’s Practice in Exeter (where he was 31 years as a GP). He is NIHR Clinical Research Network Deputy Medical Director and CRN National Specialty Lead for Primary Care. He is also Associate Professor in General Practice & Primary Care in the University of Exeter. Phil has had a long-standing research interest in continuity of care in general practice as well as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

Dr Elizabeth Ford

  • Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Research
  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex

Elizabeth Ford is Senior Lecturer in Primary Care Research at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Lead for Data Science in the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration in Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. Her research focuses on analysis of primary care data and linked routinely collected health data as well as public engagement around the use of health data to inform data governance. She works on projects developing risk prediction and early disease detection models in mental health and dementia; and assessing the impact of social determinants, multi-morbidity and frailty on health outcomes in cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Ms Lorna Green

  • Director of Enterprise and Growth
  • Innovation Agency

Until recently Lorna was director of enterprise and growth at the Innovation Agency (NWC AHSN). In 2021 she secured £7.5m to establish LYVA Labs, a business support and early stage investment company for health and life science start ups. Following an early career as an NHS dietitian, Lorna worked in a variety of private sector senior management in sales, marketing, business development and seed investment, and at board level in medical technology companies.

Ms Gillian Harrison

  • PPIE representative

Gillian Harrison has been a Research Network Volunteer at the Alzheimer’s Society for over 20 years. She joined the network after having cared for her mother, who had dementia, for eight years at home until she died aged 92. Part of her role at the Society is monitoring the research projects it funds and she has also carried out a number of PPI reviews for the NIHR and is the PPI representative on several of its funded projects . Her career has been as a journalist and she has three adult children.

Professor Zoe Kourtzi

  • Professor of Experimental Psychology Deputy Head (Research)
  • University of Cambridge

Professor Kourtzi is Professor of Computational Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. Her research aims to develop predictive AI-guided models of neurodegenerative disease and mental health with translational impact in early diagnosis and personalised interventions. She was a Senior Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and then a Chair in Brain Imaging at the University of Birmingham, before moving to the University of Cambridge in 2013. She is a Royal Society Industry Fellow, Fellow and Cambridge University Lead at the Alan Turing Institute, and the Scientific Director for Alzheimer's Research UK Initiative on Early Detection of Neurodegenerative Diseases (EDoN).

Dr Eirini Mavritsaki

  • Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Director of Research and Enterprise and Director of Postgraduate Research Studies for the School of Social Sciences
  • Birmingham City University

Professor Eirini Mavritsaki is Director of Research for the School of Social Sciences in Birmingham City University (2016-present) and Professor in Cognitive psychology. Eirini has over 20 years’ experience in computational cognitive neuroscience. Her computational modelling work allows her to combine different methodologies (e.g. experimental studies, fMRI, behavioural and EEG) and to investigate the brain processes in attention, cross-cultural studies in attention, decision-making, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, visual neglect and extinction. Eirini’s research was awarded the BPS cognitive section award in 2012.

Dr Richard Milne

  • Senior social scientist
  • Wellcome Genome Campus

Dr Richard Milne is a sociologist with expertise in social and ethical challenges associated with the early detection and diagnosis of dementia and the sharing of genomic and health data. He is Deputy Director of the Kavli Centre for Ethics, Science and the Public at the University of Cambridge, Head of Research and Dialogue in Wellcome Connecting Science and leads work on ethics, law and society within Cambridge Public Health. He has worked on and advised on a number of UK and international projects focused on developing innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Professor John T O'Brien

  • Professor of Old Age Psychiatry
  • University of Cambridge

John O’Brien is Professor of Old Age Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. He is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Emeritus Senior Investigator and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. He is the NIHR National Specialty Lead for Dementia. His main research interests are in the clinical and research application of imaging and other biomarkers in dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and clinical trials. He has been a member of the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) and other national and international Dementia Guideline groups.

Dr Stephen Pearson

  • Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Research Team Lead at Re: Cognition Health
  • Re:Cognition Health, Plymouth Science Park

Dr Stephen Pearson graduated from Bristol University Medical School and worked as a GP principal in South Devon for 3 years before retraining in psychiatry on the S.W Peninsula rotation.
He was appointed Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry 2003 and works in Devon Partnership NHS Trust where he works in the Memory clinic and the community. He also works, with other specialists in a regional specialist Huntington’s disease clinic. In addition, he works as Principal Investigator on a range of Alzheimer drug clinical trials at ReCognition Health located in Plymouth. He also works to deliver academic research locally. He is an Honorary Fellow in Plymouth University Peninsula Medical School and is academic tutor to Year 3 medical students as well as helping to deliver the dementia teaching pathway for Year 4 students.

Professor Dame Louise Robinson

  • Professor of Primary Care and Ageing; Regius Professor of Ageing
  • Newcastle University

Professor Dame Louise Robinson, is an academic GP and Professor of Primary Care and Ageing at Newcastle University. She was the first GP to be awarded a prestigious NIHR Professorship. Professor Robinson also holds the first UK Regius Professorship in Ageing. Louise leads a research programme focused on improving quality of life and quality of care for older people, especially those with dementia. She leads 1 of 3 Alzheimer Society national Centres of Excellence on Dementia Care. Louise was primary care lead for the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and is a member of the National Dementia Care Guidelines development group.

Ms Jan Speechley

  • PPIE representative

Mr George Tsangarides

  • Co-founder
  • Coniston Capital

George co-founded Coniston Capital in 2021. Prior to Coniston Capital, George has spent nine years investing into SMEs at BGF and two years in the TMT M&A team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
George holds a MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford and a MSc in Finance from the London School of Economics.