Professor Stephen Robson, Clinical Director
Ms Justine Smith, Senior Manager
Justine Smith BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science, PgDip Clinical Research. Justine has over 15 years experience of clinical research, roles including: laboratory analysis; patient recruitment/treatment/follow-up; management of single and multicentre international CTIMP trials. Justine has worked for the NHS and Universities across Britain; collaborating with pharma and international groups to set up and run academic Sponsored research and collect samples for translational research. Areas covered: liver disease, encephalopathy, alcohol abuse and gastrointestinal oncology. Justine has an in depth understanding of GCP, research governance, trial management and is a trained auditor. Her current role is Lead RM&G Manager for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear CLRN, leading on implementation of CSP and the Research Passport.
Mr Mark Ryan-Daly, RM&G Manager
Mark has worked in the NHS since 2003 in a variety of roles in Mental Health and Primary Care Trusts, mainly in the field of administration management.
Mark is currently a core member of staff at the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Comprehensive Local Research Network, project managing key initiatives to improve research infrastructure in the NHS and supporting the research management and governance teams across the NHS organisations in the region. On a day to day basis, Mark provides researchers in the region with regulatory and governance advice on all aspects of research studies, both commercial and non-commercial.
Mark graduated with a degree in Public Services Management from Northumbria University and has experience in the field of social research. Mark is a member of both the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) and the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA).
Mr Tom Wooldridge, Research Support Staff Lead
After completing my RGN training I started work as a Staff Nurse in the A&E Dept of North Tyneside General Hospital in April 1991 and was the first male staff nurse employed there.
By 1996 my career needed a change of direction and I gained a Clinical Trials Nurse post in the Regional Neurosciences Centre at Newcastle General Hospital. Due to funding issues I left in June 2002.
I worked on the Newcastle Nurse Bank during 2003 then successfully applied for a Research Nurse post in Rheumatology at Freeman Hospital in June 2004. From 2008-2010, I acted as the Team Lead for the Rheumatology Research Team, a role which grew and developed rapidly over that period. Having enjoyed six years in Rheumatology research, I felt a change was needed so I applied for the post of ‘Research Support Staff Lead’ with the NTW CLRN and was successful. My new role began in July 2010.
IT has long been an interest of mine and I am currently studying Bath University’s ‘MSc in Healthcare Informatics’ via Distance Learning.
My main leisure interests are running and horseracing. I completed the New York City Marathon in November 2009 and have also completed half of all the Great North Runs including the 2010 GNR. I have shares in several racehorses and manage the owners’ syndicate of one of these.
Ms Karen Huchinson, Industry Manager
Having qualified as a Registered Nurse in Sunderland, and worked in a Critical Care environment (theatre, High Dependency, and ICU) for several years. I worked overseas in Melbourne Australia for five years. Whilst in Australia I transferred from ICU into a research nurse position working within Australian research regulations. Whilst in Australia, I completed a PgCert Clinical Research Methods.
Upon my return to the UK, I worked as the first Trial Coordinator at the Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at the Royal Victoria Infirmary – embracing the challenges of converting my research skills from Australian regulations into the UK regulatory environment, keeping up to date with the fast-paced changes in the UK clinical research environment, and developing appropriate processes for setting up studies within the CRF. The primary responsibility of the role is to prioritise, conduct and proactively manage study site setup of commercially funded and non-commercial CTIMPs and clinical research studies to be conducted within the CRF. The role involved working closely with industry, academic, and NHS institutions; conducting feasibility assessments for new studies, support to complete necessary regulatory applications required to conduct a clinical research project, and careful project management to deliver projects successfully. This role provided experience and skills invaluable to my role as Norhtumberland, Tyne and Wear CLRN Industry Manager.
The primary role of the CLRN Industry Manager is to facilitate the engagement of industry with NHS Trusts within the CLRN region, promoting the conduct of and recruitment to high quality portfolio adopted studies.
Acting as the key link between the NIHR Coordinating Centre and Nothumberland, Tyne and Wear CLRN, and collaborating with local Specialty Groups, I’m responsible for conducting initial site feasibilities to ascertain interest from sites and PI’s for portfolio-adopted industry studies and appropriate studies for sites. Study setup support – for costing and contracts - is available to sites where needed, and I’ll be undertaking study performance management of recruitment activity to monitor progress. (Ability to deliver study recruitment to target is a metric everyone will be measured by.)
Mrs Lestryne Wheldon, Information Manager
Lestryne has worked in the NHS since 2000 in roles both in Primary Care and Acute Trusts. She initially worked as a Medical Secretary but always had a keen interest in information management systems and took up the role of Diabetes Data Administrator in 2004.
To learn more about and develop this interest, Lestryne enrolled on the Post Graduate Diploma in Health Information Management in 2004 at Sunderland University. Modules studied included application building, systems analysis, research and ethical issues and the risks and opportunities of systems change.
Whilst studying for the PGD, Lestryne took up the role of Senior Systems Administrator in 2006 assisting in the development, roll out and day to day management and support of the Trusts clinical information systems and in August 2008 she joined the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Core Team as their Information Manager.
Dr Sarah Hill, Specialty Group Facilitator
Sarah qualified with a BSc (hons) in Genetics from Leeds University in 1994 and a PhD in Cancer Genetics from Cambridge University in 1998.She has a background in academic medical research and was a research fellow at Oxford University before moving to Newcastle where she was a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Genetic Medicine studying cellular signalling pathways involved in heart failure.She left scientific research in 2010 for maternity and childcare reasons and returned to work in September 2011 in her new role as Specialty Group Facilitator for NTW CLRN.As a medical researcher she was predominantly interested in studies that could lead to insight on human disease and perhaps to direct patient benefits.She is keen to continue with work that benefits both medical research and patients and is excited by the prospect, offered by the CCRN, of combining clinical investigation with national NHS resources.
Miss Rebecca Harrison, RM&G Facilitator
Rebecca joined the NTW CLRN team in April 2011 as one of the NTW CLTN Administrators and provides support for the RM&G, Training and Industry Teams. Following a short time as a CLRN Research Study Co-ordinator, Rebecca returned to the RM&G team as a Facilitator.
Rebecca graduated Newcastle University in 2008 with a degree in Archaeology. She has previously worked for Newcastle City Council from 2008 to 2011, providing project support for a web based application, and the Family Fund, a government funded charity in York.
The day to day operation of the CLRN is supported by an Executive Group, led by the CLRN Clinical Director, which has representation from primary, secondary and tertiary care and mental health. The members of the Executive are:
Dr Scott Wilkes, Primary Care representative
Scott is a general practitioner and clinical research fellow. His principal research interest is the management of infertility in primary care. His research experience includes the use of multiple methods in health care evaluation.
Dr Alan Thomas, Mental Health representative
Alan has many years experience in developing, managing and conducting research in the NHS. He is currently co-investigator on an national study of stepped care systems in mental health care and in the national evaluation of new roles in mental health services.
Professor Julia Newton, Training and Education representative
Julia is clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine and honorary consultant geriatrician at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust. Her research focuses upon understanding the causes and consequences of fatigue in chronic disease. She developed and until recently lead the Newcastle University Masters in Clinical Research and is a Director of the Academic Training Programme in the Northern Deanery. In 2010 in recognition of her development of e-learning training materials she was awarded Vice-Chancellors Distinguished Teacher and a Newcastle University Innovation Award. She currently leads a diploma module in the MClinRes and a recently launched CPD e-learning module ‘Research skills for health care professionals'.
Professor Stephen Robson, Tertiary Care representative
Steve is Professor of Fetal Medicine and leads a multi-disciplinary research group on reproductive health. His current portfolio of research focuses on uterine cell signaling, human embryonic development and clinical trials in high risk pregnancies.
Professor Richard Walker, Secondary Care representative
Richard is the head of the Northumbria Parkinson’s Disease Service. He has research interests in Parkinson’s disease involving epidemiology, palliative care, pain, service use, sexual dysfunction and falls, and presently autonomic dysfunction and its relation to urinary dysfunction as well as cause-specific mortality of PD.
The diagram below shows the delegated areas of responsibility for each Executive member.