Date: 08 February 2019
Professor K Ray Chaudhuri has been involved with the Network since 2010 and is now stepping down from his two NIHR Specialty Group Lead (SGL) roles as he takes up the new challenge of Director of Research at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The roles of SGL for Dendron and SGL for Neurological Disorders are now out to advert. To find out more about how to apply download this form.
Over nine years, Professor Chaudhuri has built up the two specialties, including creating the Dendron specialty which did not exist previously in South London, and feels that research within them has improved substantially in the network since he stepped into the role. He puts this down to the people in the network who he works with closely and very effectively. He said:
“When I began working with the south London Network there was no specialty for Dendron, only for neuroscience, but it has developed enormously and is now one of the highest functioning specialties in the UK. It’s been a real key change.
“Whereas previously there was very little, now a lot of studies are led from south London including CI roles by Prof Ammar Al-Chalabi, Prof Dag Aarsland, Prof Marios Politis, Prof Richard Brown, Prof Clive Ballard and myself among many others."
The specialties now have regular meetings three to four times per year and are well attended, including motivated young trainees. This has been a great development and the specialties have successfully adopted the CRN South London Greenshoots programme enabling several new Principal Investigators (PIs) to come into the fold who are now performing high quality commercial and non-commercial studies. In addition, the specialties under Professor Chaudhuri’s leadership have tried to empower research in non-teaching hospitals as well, and examples include the delivery of CRN research from Lewisham , Croydon and Kingston hospitals. Professor Chaudhuri said:
“One thing we brought to the south London Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) is a range of high quality commercial studies, for example the PANDA study, which has now led to the use of a new class of drugs for the first time to treat pain in Parkinson’s patients and that was really exciting. Also, TOLEDO, which has just been published and will help with the licensing of apomorphine, a key drug for advancing Parkinson’s across many countries in the world.”
Other notable trials include SHAPED, interventional cutting edge studies such as MIROCALS, Refals, HighCALS and COMMEND. Professor Chaudhuri also led development of a training day for CRN staff to learn about administration of complex disease specific scales, the ‘scales training day’ with people from all across the UK CRN attending. He said:
“With CRN I have also developed the first London expert patient group, CRISP*, who made a highly watched patient video and is now recognised nationally. The group in St George’s Hospital as well as the ALS** group at King’s College London have also developed their expert patient groups.”
In 2017, Professor Chaudhuri won the Outstanding Research Leadership award from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and you can read more about his success in this award here. On that award, he said:
“I think the NIHR/RCP award was of particular satisfaction to me because it was for providing leadership across several highly performing trusts.
“It is a role that is not easy and is more difficult given personal research and clinical commitments running alongside, but the fact that we have created a highly functioning group with great people on the ground that continues to perform well in trusts across the region is of great satisfaction to me.”
Research Delivery Manager for Division 4, Andra Cosma, also feels this was an outstanding achievement and that Professor Chaudhuri has been fundamental to the development of his two specialties since he took over and has been an important contributor to the whole of Division 4. She said:
"Professor Chaudhuri has been dedicated to growing the Dendron and Neurological Disorders portfolios. He has actively promoted the NIHR research agenda on many platforms including Research Advisory Group meetings, Parkinson’s Excellence Network, the life sciences industry and at any appropriate local events and conferences.
"Professor Chaudhuri has advised on establishing sites for studies and is always working with national colleagues to secure the placement of research within south London as well as open his own research across south London.
"I would like to thank Professor Chaudhuri for all his work in establishing and developing both portfolios in south London. He has set a strong foundation for us to continue to build on."
Professor Chaudhuri concluded: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has facilitated my work at the CRN South London including Andra Cosma, Clare Meachin and Ann Marie Murtagh.”
* Community for Research Involvement and Support for people with Parkinson’s (CRISP)
** Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
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