RDS-SC Southampton Region

Megan Barlow-Pay

Megan Barlow-Pay

Megan Barlow-Pay joined RDS South Central in August 2014 as a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Officer. She has since developed extensive expertise in the area of Public Involvement through working on a wide range of projects both regionally, nationally and internationally. She advises, facilitates and reviews Public Involvement in grant applications, as well as working to ensure delivery of long term Public Involvement strategy both within the RDS and regionally. In addition to her RDS role, Megan is undertaking a part time MSc in Public Health at Southampton University. She has a particular interest in Global Health, specifically the use of community based approaches to help address and alleviate health inequalities in developing countries.

She is involved in community work through volunteering as a mentor for Young Offenders within restorative justice programmes, and was a panel member of the Hampshire NHS Research Ethics Committee for a year.

Before living in Southampton Megan was based in Brighton where she spent several years running an art gallery. She is motivated by working in areas that are socially meaningful; and feels that PPI plays a fundamental role in improving health research, health delivery, and ultimately improving the health and wellbeing of the population.

Sarah Brien

Sarah Brien

Dr Sarah Brien (PhD) is RDS SC Portsmouth site lead and both Principal Enterprise Fellow, University of Southampton & Principal Research Fellow University of Portsmouth. In addition, Sarah is Principal Research Advisor at both our Southampton and Portsmouth sites where she provides advice in qualitative and mixed methods methodology as well as generic research advice.  She is also the Southampton lead for NIHR fellowship applications

Sarah has a broad range of expertise in research methodologies, which are informed by her own research over the previous 14 years. Primarily, she has expertise in qualitative methodology, but is additionally experienced in quantitative and mixed methods methodologies.

Sarah conducted her own research whilst based in the Department of Primary Care, University of Southampton. Her research interests have mainly focused on self-management in long term medical conditionsShe has a particular interest and expertise in the role of complementary medicine in the management of long-term conditions. Sarah was awarded two fellowships within this area, including an NIHR postdoctoral fellowship (2004-2008). She has been CI on 16 studies  obtaining funding, as the lead researcher of just under £1million (including NIHR funding) to run her research, as well as and experienced PhD and MSc supervisor. Her studies have utilised different methodologies: ten qualitative studies, three clinical trials and one mixed method study, and two surveys. She has 41 publications, most as lead or final author.

Her current research is exploring psychological and behavioural determinants of quality of life impairment in people with the lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, with a view to developing interventions to improve poor quality of life in this patient group.

Sarah joined the RDS SC in July 2014. In addition to her current RDS SC posts, Sarah has also worked as a non-clinical researcher in Primary Care, University of Southampton since 1998. Additionally Sarah has undertaken consultancy work in the field of herbal &  nutritional medicine in the self-management of long term conditions,  and as a consultant researcher since 1998 too.

Maria Chorozoglou

Maria Chorozoglou

Maria Chorozoglou is a Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics and part of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton since 2008. Maria is a member of the health economics team within the SHTAC – Southampton Health Technology Assessment Centre, and she is also a Senior Research Adviser for NIHR Research Design Service South Central (RDS SC).

Maria’s work as a member of the Health Economics team at SHTAC includes assessing the cost-effectiveness of health technologies for NICE and NIHR. In addition her work includes participating as the lead health economist in primary research with a focus in economic evaluations alongside clinical studies including both RCTs and observational cohort studies. Her research interests and methodological research focus on early life interventions and research for children incorporating long term implications. This work is mainly focused on methodological challenges measuring and incorporating health and quality of life gains, as well as long-term economic implications of chronic disease, physical impairment and mental health.

Maria’s research includes clinical trials and studies funded by NIHR and the Wellcome Trust. She is an active reviewer for a variety of medical journals and NIHR for both applications for funding and final reports. Through her work at RDS SC, Maria has the opportunity to be involved in a variety of clinical studies and to provide health economics support and advice to researchers applying for funding to NIHR and other funding bodies. For further information and details of her current work, please follow the link: Maria Chorozoglou.

Mio Hu

Mio Hu

Dr Xiao-Yang (Mio) Hu (PhD) is an NIHR School for Primary Care Research Fellow within the Primary Care, Population Science and Medical Education (PPM) academic unit at the University of Southampton, as well as a Senior Research Adviser for NIHR RDS South Central.

Mio has previously been awarded a prestigious NIHR launching fellowship from the National School for Primary Care Research, to explore the use of herbal medicine in respiratory tract infections. With a background in Chinese Medicine, integrative and complementary medicine, her research interests lie in exploring the use of herbal medicine in symptom relief and reducing the use of antibiotics for infectious diseases in primary care. Mio has been actively involved in leading and delivering research using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods methodologies.

Mio has completed an MSc in Musculoskeletal Science, and her PhD was a mixed methods feasibility study investigating integrative medicine in musculoskeletal disorders.

Dorit Kunkel

Dorit Kunkel

Dr Dorit Kunkel (PhD) joined the Research Design Service South Central team in November 2017 as a Senior Research Adviser. Dorit is a physiotherapist by background with a specialty in neurological rehabilitation and 17 years’ experience in managing mixed methods research studies and trials.

In 1997 Dorit started her MSc part-time and then progressed to a PhD. In this research she explored specific fall-related factors, examined issues surrounding balance and attention using exploratory studies and an experimental design. Dorit successfully completed her PhD in 2002. Her PhD research work led to a funded study on predicting people who are at risk of falls following a stroke.

In 2004 Dorit was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow on the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research programme which explored recovery and rehabilitation following a stroke. Dorit specialised in fall prediction and characterisation of fall events in people with stroke. In recent years, she was the Principal Investigator on a feasibility randomised controlled trial with an embedded qualitative study exploring dance for Parkinson’s, and a mixed methods study exploring foot problems and footwear in people with stroke and Parkinson’s. Her current research is focused on exploring novel interventions to promote independence and stability, with the overarching goal of improving the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s and stroke.

Brian Leask

Brian Leask

Brian Leask is PA to Issy Reading and is the administrator for RDS South Central (Southampton). Brian is the first point of contact for arranging meetings/events with Issy, and is responsible for the upkeep of her diary and for servicing the meetings. On top of this, Brian deals with much of the day to day administration in the Southampton office.

Prior to working with the RDS, Brian spent three years as an administrator for the Faculty of Medicine’s Graduate School with the University of Southampton. Before this he was Diary Secretary and Administrator for a Southampton-based charity, after completing his Philosophy BSc at the University of Southampton.

RDS staff profile picture

Paul Lott

Paul Lott is the Operations and Information Manager for the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) South Central (SC). He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of RDS SC’s business, including its systems and processes, producing information and reports about the operations, performance and financial position of the RDS, and for facilitating good communications both internally and externally.

Paul has a background in management and finance gained from his Accounting and Finance BSc (University of Southampton) and from working for the University of Southampton’s Finance department for a number of years. In addition to his knowledge of finance and management, Paul also holds an MA in Creative Writing (University of Southampton) and has experience of doing freelance writing, editing, rewriting and proof-reading work.

Julie Parkes

Julie Parkes

Professor Julie Parkes is Head of Primary Care and Population Sciences and Professor of Public Health within Medicine at the University of Southampton. Julie is doubly qualified as a GP and in Public Health. She qualified from Oxford in 1982 having done her pre-clinical studies in Cambridge. After 10 years as a principal in General Practice she joined the Wessex Public Health Training Programme. She became interested in Academic Public Health and in 2003 was awarded an MRC Clinical Fellowship in Health of the Public and Health Services Research. Her doctoral thesis was in Biomarkers in Chronic Liver Disease. She has been an active member of Public Health Sciences & Medical Statistics department in Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton for 13 years and is Head of Primary Care and Population Sciences.

She has had a sustained focus on biomarkers in chronic liver disease and chronic liver disease epidemiology for more than a decade. Her epidemiology interest has been focused on Chronic Viral Hepatitis and NAFLD with an interest in Metabolic syndrome and the liver. She has an overarching interest in use of diagnostic tests in clinical practice. She has had an interest in Offender Health since conducting a Health Needs Assessment in the Dorset Cluster of prisons. Currently her interests are in research into the health of people under the supervision of Probation service.

Natalia Permyakova

Natalia Permyakova (Wilding) is a Medical Statistician within the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU). She joined the Research Design Service South Central (RDS SC) team in May 2021 as a Research Adviser. Natalia has been providing statistical support for various projects, with a particular interest in cancer studies. She has an extensive experience in longitudinal surveys and methods, and she has been developing statistical expertise in the design and analysis of randomised clinical trials within the SCTU.

Natalia holds a MSc and PhD in Social Statistics and Demography from the University of Southampton. In her thesis, she applied advanced statistical methods to the Russian longitudinal data to study how changes in family environment affect men’s health. During her PhD, she also took on teaching in statistics and health research modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Before joining the SCTU and RDS SC, she worked at the University of Southampton as a Research Fellow in Medical Statistics within the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group (Health Sciences) focussing on cohort observational studies of cancer survivors. As the only statistician there, she was at the heart of the whole process of designing, analysing and reporting of health studies. She has also been acting as a consultant for a longitudinal study in acupuncture (Acu-Track) and supervising MSc projects at the Northern College of Acupuncture. Within the University of Southampton, Natalia represents medical statisticians at the Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) Management Group and acts as a statistical editor for BMJ Open Gastroenterology.

Dean Phillips

Dean Phillips

Dr Dean Phillips (PhD), Physiotherapist, is a Senior Research Advisor and provides an expert clinical perspective to the Research Design Service South Central team.

Dean has 29 years clinical experience and an advanced clinical qualification in treating musculoskeletal disorders. He has his own physiotherapy clinic based in a GP surgery in Ringwood and jointly owns a clinic at the Hampshire Health and Racquets Club in West End, Southampton. In the past he has worked in a variety of clinical settings – a national sports council; a chronic pain centre; NHS and private hospitals; and in occupational health, treating NHS staff for a local Primary Care Trust. Dean’s career has taken him abroad, working at Singapore Sports Council for two years, as well as working and undertaking postgraduate study in Western Australia for three years. Dean was also a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton from 1995 to 2009.

Dean’s PhD thesis investigated the awareness of posture and movement in people with and without low back pain. He also has a specialist research Masters qualification in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and remains a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton. In addition to this, Dean was the Chief / Principal Investigator in a pilot-RCT investigating early physiotherapy in acute low back pain.

Issy Reading

Isabel Reading

Professor Isabel Reading (PhD) is Director of the Research Design Service South Central and a Professorial Fellow in Medical Statistics within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

She completed an MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine (Distinction) at Southampton University in 1997 and gained her PhD in 2003 and this explored the methodology and application of cluster analysis techniques in the classification of common musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and arm. She worked at the Medical Research Council Environmental Epidemiology Unit in Southampton for 10 years; her work experience there was mainly in design and analysis of epidemiological studies. She was also involved in teaching epidemiology to MSc statistics students and supervised their end of year projects. She is a statistical reviewer for a variety of medical journals.

In addition to her work in the RDS, Isabel currently collaborates on a variety of clinical trials and other health research. Her main areas of interest are common musculoskeletal conditions, surgical trials and obstetric interventions. She sits on a number of Trial Steering Committees and Data monitoring Committees and is currently a member of the Research for Patient Benefit Regional Advisory Panel South West.

Irene Stratton

Irene started her career as a medical statistician in 1980, working for Professor Sir Richard Doll in the Cancer Epidemiology and Clinical Trials Unit in 9, Keble Road. She worked on industrial cancers and radiation. She moved departments in 1988 to work on a large study of Type 2 diabetes, UKPDS. She stayed there for 20 years. She became drawn to the area of diabetic eye disease after reading an article by the author Sue Townsend. Irene lost her sight due to diabetes and then decided that her mission statement would be: “Nobody to lose vision needlessly as a result of diabetes”. A move to the Gloucestershire Retinal Research Group followed, where she worked on screening for diabetic eye disease for the national programme, risk estimation for progression of diabetic eye disease, audit of age-related macula degeneration. Irene retired from that post at the end of 2020.

Irene’s work has underpinned international guidelines in the treatment of diabetes. Her work in diabetic eye disease has been implemented to provide risk-based screening intervals in Scotland and Norway and has led to a new Key Performance Indicator in diabetic eye screening in England.

Irene is the statistical advisor for the journal Diabetic Medicine and review for many journals in diabetes and ophthalmology.

She was on the Research Committee for Diabetes UK for 7 years and on the Grants Committee for the Novo Nordisk Research Foundation for 6 years. She has been a member of many Trial Steering Committees and Data Monitoring Committees in both diabetes and in ophthalmology. She is a Fellow of Faculty of Public Health by distinction and in 2019 was given the Vision UK Award for Excellence in Evidence and Statistics.

Holly Syddall

Dr Holly Syddall (PhD) joined the NIHR RDS South Central in January 2022 as a Senior Research Advisor.

Holly’s background is in medical statistics and lifecourse epidemiology. She completed her MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine (Distinction) at the University of Southampton in 1997 and gained her PhD later in her career in 2013. Her PhD analysed data from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study and identified social inequalities in musculoskeletal health among community dwelling older people in the UK.

Holly worked as an applied statistician and epidemiologist at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit in Southampton for more than twenty years, gaining a wide breadth of experience in all stages of the research process from study design, to data collection, processing and coding, to statistical analysis, through to presentation and communication of results in peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. Holly has particular expertise in cohort studies but has also worked on case-control and cross-sectional studies, surveys, data linkage studies, intervention trials, literature searching and systematic reviews. Holly has taught medical statistics, epidemiology and research methods to undergraduate and postgraduate students, many clinical research fellows and colleagues. Holly has supervised the research projects of undergraduate medical students, masters students in medical statistics, clinical research fellows, and co-supervised four PhD students. Holly has acted as a statistical reviewer for a range of medical journals.

Away from work, Holly is most likely to be found enabling the sporting activities of her two sons, walking or cycling in the countryside, or tussling with her latest crafting creation.

Jane Vennik

Dr Jane Vennik is a Senior Research Fellow within the Primary Care Research Centre at the University of Southampton. She joined the Research Design Service South Central team in April 2021 as a Senior Research Advisor.

Jane completed her PhD funded by NIHR-School for Primary Care Research in 2018.
Her research focused on the implementation of nasal balloon autoinflation for children with glue ear using a mixed methods approach.

Jane is an experienced qualitative researcher employing a range of qualitative methods to inform clinical trials, to develop and optimise interventions, and to support wider implementation of research findings. She is also an experienced research manager delivering NIHR-funded research projects within Primary Medical Care at the University of Southampton.
Jane teaches qualitative research methods in Faculty of Medicine and supervises undergraduate medical students and PhD/postgraduate students. Jane is also a member of the Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee.