RDS-SC Southampton Region

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

Dr Sarah Brien (PhD) is RDS SC Portsmouth site lead and both Principle Enterprise Fellow, University of Southampton & Principal Research Fellow University of Portsmouth. In addition, Sarah is Principle 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 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.

Caroline Eyles

Dr Caroline Eyles (PhD), Senior Qualitative Research Adviser and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Lead.

Caroline is based at the University of Southampton and is a Senior Qualitative Research Adviser with the RDS SC and has a broad range of qualitative research methodological expertise, and experience of using mixed research methodologies. As a PPI Lead she liaises with the RDS national PPI group and works with the South Central PPI officers to ensure that PPI strategy and activities are delivered regionally and locally.

Her research interests include exploring patient experiences, the medical consultation, patient/practitioner relationship, use of delayed antibiotic prescriptions in primary care and the self-management of symptoms in long term chronic conditions. These interests were developed during her MSc and continued throughout her PhD, where she used grounded theory to explore the patient/practitioner relationship in the consultation.

Caroline is also a Senior Research Fellow with Primary Care and Population Sciences at the University of Southampton. Caroline provides qualitative methodological expertise within the academic unit. She is involved in a range of research studies and has considerable experience of using qualitative methodologies in health care settings. She delivers research methods teaching to MSc students and medical students and is an experienced supervisor to PhD (6 to completion) and MSc students. Caroline is also a member of the Faculty of Medicine Research Ethics Committee.

Vasiliki Koutra

Dr Vasiliki Koutra (PhD) is a Senior Medical Statistician with the RDS SC. She is experienced in the development and application of advanced statistical methods. Prior to joining the RDS team, she was a postdoctoral research associate in statistics at King’s College London with research interests in the methodology and application of the design of experiments. She has also held positions at Rothamsted Research, in both Applied Statistics and Bioinformatics, where she provided support for statistical projects and network analysis within the Computational and Systems Biology Department.

Vasiliki’s main research interests are in the design of experiments for networks where experimental units are associated, for example, via a social network or physical connections. She holds a PhD in Statistics from the University of Southampton; the title of her thesis was “Designing experiments on networks”.

Alongside her role in the RDS, Vasiliki provides statistical support to the School of Health Sciences at Southampton and she teaches undergraduate students at King’s College London.

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 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.

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

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.

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.

Isabel Reading

Dr Isabel Reading (PhD) is Director of the Research Design Service South Central and a Principal Medical Statistician 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.

Amy Whitehead

Dr Amy Whitehead (PhD) is a Senior Statistician in the Research Design Service South Central and also the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit based at Southampton General Hospital.

Before joining the University of Southampton, Amy completed her PhD on ‘Sample Size Justifications for Pilot Trials of Publicly Funded Randomised Controlled Trials’ at the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research. While studying for her PhD, Amy was also a teaching assistant at the University contributing to teaching on both Masters and Undergraduate level courses, as well as being an online statistics tutor for the MSc Clinical Trials at the University of Edinburgh.