Five National Research Network clinical leads announced
24th January 2023
The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) has announced the appointment of National Research Network Clinical Leads in five key specialties – Infectious Diseases, Genetics, Ophthalmology, Reproductive Health and Childbirth, and Respiratory
These topic-specific specialty networks are a vital part of Scotland’s evolving research and development infrastructure, driving high-quality studies across many areas of disease and clinical need.
Working on a pan-Scotland basis, they act as the interface between the research community, the NHS, and patients themselves, facilitating the development, set up and completion of clinical research studies; and improving the quantity and quality of research within their specific clinical area. They also work closely with a wide range of stakeholders including patients, carers, researchers, NHS, academic institutions, charities, healthcare delivery professionals and commercial organisations.
The appointment and re-appointment of five clinical leads marks further progress for Scotland’s research infrastructure.
Scotland’s Chief Scientist for Health, Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak said: “As we enter a new year, it is vital that we have fresh resolve to continue strengthening the country’s research infrastructure and ensure its central role in the modernisation of NHS Scotland going forward. Our research networks are a major part of that, laying the foundations for patients to eventually benefit from new and better treatments.
“We are delighted to confirm our five clinical leads. With strong track records in their respective areas, they will help us deliver important work to grow and strengthen the resilience of our research portfolio, lead effective delivery of research projects, and fundamentally increase opportunities for patients to participate in trials if they wish to do so.
“Collectively, the appointments represent a very positive step forward at a pivotal time, a reinforcement of our aim to increase levels of high-quality research taking place hand in hand with innovative thinking – and our huge ambition to push for more.”
The re-appointments and appointments are
Dr Charis Marwick – University of Dundee
Dr Charis Marwick is a Clinical Reader and Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases. Her research and clinical interests are in antimicrobial use and resistance (AMR) and improving the way we use antimicrobials (antimicrobial stewardship). She has a particular personal research focus on using routine healthcare data, and linkage to bacterial genomic data, for infection epidemiology and intervention design and evaluation.
Dr Marwick said: “Scotland continues to take a lead on important infection research, so I’m delighted to have been re-appointed to continue contributing to that vital effort. Almost two-thirds of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology studies conducted in Scotland are led by Scotland, demonstrating the interest and expertise among our investigators who are committed to delivering successful infection research.”
Dr Jonathan Berg – University of Dundee
Dr Berg has been a consultant in Clinical Genetics, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee since 2004. His position combines Clinical Genetics with teaching and research. He is also the lead Clinician for Rare Disease in The Scottish Strategic Network for Genomic Medicine.
Dr Berg said: “There are more than 7000 rare genetic disorders which collectively affect 1 person in 17, so this is an important area with unique challenges, and I will relish continuing to address these following my re-appointment as clinical lead. Challenges include identifying enough people with a particular condition to make a research project feasible and working across borders between the four devolved nations. It is essential that Scottish people with rare genetic diseases can participate in research, leading to improved care and the development of new treatments.”
Dr Andrew Tatham – NHS Lothian
Dr Tatham is a consultant eye surgeon at Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, NHS Lothian. He completed clinical and research fellowships at Moorfields Eye Hospital London and University of California San Diego, USA. He is a past recipient of the ARVO Innovative Research Award and Tenovus Scotland Lady Illingworth Award.
Andrew is a member of the European Glaucoma Society (EGS) Executive Committee and co-chairs the EGS scientific committee. He was a member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Scientific Committee from 2017 to 2023. In his spare time, he is a qualified classifier for the British Paralympic Association.
Dr Tatham said: “I’m really looking forward to becoming fully integrated into this exciting new role. Ophthalmology has vast potential for identifying areas of improvement and innovation, and research is where that process begins. The Scottish Ophthalmology portfolio is relatively small, so we are keen to support new investigators wishing to undertake Ophthalmology research in Scotland.”
Prof Adam Hill – NHS Lothian
Respiratory – deputy lead
Dr Philip Short – NHS Tayside
Prof Hill has a special interest in Bronchiectasis, Community Acquired Pneumonia and Tuberculosis.
He graduated from the University of Glasgow where he obtained his MD Thesis in 1991. After a spell working as a Specialist Registrar and Clinical Research Fellow in Birmingham, he returned to Scotland where he has been a Consultant Respiratory Physician at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh since 2001.
Prof Hill said: “It is fantastic to have been re-appointed as respiratory clinical lead, an opportunity to continue the significant progress that has already been achieved. I am certain that we will also benefit enormously from the fresh insights of deputy lead Dr Short following his new appointment. Through quality research, the prime aim will be to develop and monitor new therapies and interventions.”
Reproductive Health & Childbirth
Prof Abha Maheshwari – NHS Grampian/University of Aberdeen
A Gynaecologist, Editor in Chief for Human Fertility and Clinical Lead for strategic Fertility Network, Scotland in addition to being an Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen, Prof Maheshwari is Clinical Lead in Reproductive Medicine & Person Responsible at Aberdeen Fertility Centre, a legal responsibility role to ensure that all licensed activities are undertaken with proper regard to the regulatory framework governing treatment and research. Furthermore, Abha is the Andrology Laboratory director and therefore has the ultimate responsibility for the overall operation and administration of the laboratory. She is also subspeciality training programme director for two subspeciality training programmes and is passionate about training the next generation.
Prof Maheshwari said: “Being re-appointed as clinical lead for Reproductive Health & Childbirth is truly exciting for me. I believe that my experience and ambition can help to build on the significant progress already made in this important area, creating fresh momentum as we move forward, particularly with Reproductive Health & Childbirth supporting the delivery of high-quality clinical research studies in a wide range of areas.”