Research Leaders

Members of our Research Leaders Scheme

POMCTN aspires to nurture and support interested clinicians with experience in research at a local level, to progress to become grant co-applicants, members of trial clinical investigator groups and ultimately Chief Investigators.

As such we have set up our Research Leaders Scheme (previously known as the Chief Investigator scheme) to develop and mentor the CIs of tomorrow.

All current Research Leaders Scheme members were recruited through open competition. All recruitment rounds are advertised on this website, our newsletter and on our Twitter feed.

Those wishing to register an interest in the Research Leaders Scheme should contact us.

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Caroline Thomas

Consultant in Anaesthesia
St James University Hospital

Caroline Thomas was appointed as a Consultant in Anaesthesia at St James University Hospital, Leeds in 2017. Her clinical interests include colorectal and thoracic anaesthesia and developing perioperative services for patients undergoing major elective surgery. As a senior trainee she developed and lead trainee research groups both regionally and nationally. She is on the steering committee of a large multicentre Portfolio study and is currently PI for PQIP (Peri-Operative Quality Improvement Programme) in Leeds. Other work includes a study on the peri-operative patient experience of anxiety and she is a steering group member for the anaesthesia workstream of the Yorkshire Bowel Cancer Improvement Programme. She is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Leeds and was recently appointed as the NIHR CRN specialty lead for Anaesthesia, Peri-op Medicine and Pain for Yorkshire & the Humber.


Louise Savic

Consultant in Anaesthesia
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Louise is a consultant anaesthetist in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. She has a clinical and research interest in drug allergy, with a focus on the prevention, management and investigation of perioperative drug allergy. She has worked in the Anaesthetic Allergy clinic in Leeds for 8 years and is a founder member of the International Suspected Perioperative Hypersensitivity Reaction group (ISPAR). Louise has a research interest in the effects of penicillin allergy on surgical outcomes and the development of novel pathways to allow preoperative de-labelling of patients. She chaired an ISPAR working party to develop consensus recommendations for the perioperative management of patients with a label of penicillin allergy, and currently chairs the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) working party to develop national guidelines in this area. She led a penicillin de-labelling study (PADLES) and the DALES epidemiological study of drug allergy conducted by the Research and Audit Federation of Trainees (RAFT). In her clinical work she has developed a novel drug provocation service for the investigation of suspected perioperative anaphylaxis including neuromuscular blocking agent allergy.

Mandeep Phull

Mandeep Phull

Consultant in Anaesthesia and intensive care
Royal Free and University College Medical School

I graduated from Royal Free and University College Medical School and after my foundation years obtained run through training in anaesthesia. I completed a perioperative medicine fellowship at the Royal London with Professor Pearse during which time I realized that I wanted to be involved in an eventually be leading in research for the rest of my career. I am a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care working at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust. I hold a honorary senior clinical lecturer post with the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London. I am departmental research lead and recently have been appointed as North Thames NIHR speciality lead for anaesthesia, perioperative medicine, pain and critical care. My special interest include the high risk surgical patient, emergency surgery and perioperative critical care.


Ciara O’Donnell

Consultant Anaesthetist
Royal Victoria Hospital

Ciara O’Donnell works as a Consultant Anaesthetist in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. As a regional centre, emergency and trauma surgery including thoracic and neurosurgery form a large part of her daily job. She has a research interest in the perioperative outcomes of elderly patients with hip fracture which formed the basis of her MD in 2018. Ciara is a co-applicant and principal investigator for the NIHR funded Sugammadex for preventIoN oF pOst-operative pulmoNary complIcAtions (SINFONIA) study. As part of her research experience, she has been the primary site investigator for a GSK sponsored clinical trial and has engaged with RAFT projects such as DALES, as site lead. Ciara has collaborated with groups such as Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) and Fragility Fracture Network UK (FFN UK). She is an Honorary Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

Tom Abbott

Tom Abbott

NIHR Clinical Lecturer
William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London and Anaesthetic registrar at Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK

Dr Abbott completed his undergraduate training at the University of Oxford and a PhD at Queen Mary University of London. He is a registrar in Anaesthesia in central London. He uses epidemiological methods to investigate the health and well-being of patients undergoing surgery, which includes interventions to improve postoperative survival and reduce perioperative complications. His research interests include perioperative myocardial injury, sub-clinical cardiac failure, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, autonomic dysfunction, postoperative pulmonary complications and the impact of COVID-19 on surgery.

Katrina Knight

Katrina Knight

Clinical Lecturer / ST7 General Surgery
University of Glasgow / Glasgow Royal Infirmary

I am a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and ST7 in general surgery at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. My long-standing research interest centres on supporting patients to actively prepare for major surgery. During my PhD, I led recruitment to PREPARE-ABC in Glasgow and gained valuable experience in delivering the exercise intervention and supporting participants through the preoperative period. As part of my postdoctoral programme, I am developing tailored approaches to prehabilitation for high-risk patients through a study-within-a-trial utilising the PREPARE-ABC dataset. I am fortunate to be funded by the Chief Scientist Office and am delighted to be the first surgical recruit to the POMCTN CI scheme. Collaboration is key to improving patient outcomes during and beyond the perioperative period. The warm welcome coupled with the support, mentorship and wealth of experience provided by the POMCTN has ensured that I am well equipped to develop as a clinical trialist and tackle the challenge of optimising those patients who need it most.

Sarah Bell

Sarah Bell

Dr Bell has been a Consultant Anaesthetist with an interest in obstetric anaesthesia in Cardiff since 2015. She was one of the lead clinicians for the OBS Cymru quality improvement project, a Welsh Government funded initiative to improve and standardise post-partum haemorrhage care across Wales. She is an honorary lecturer at Cardiff University and received a Clinical Research Time Award from Health and Care Research Wales in 2022. Dr Bell is co-Chief Investigator for the NIHR-funded OBS UK study, a stepped wedge cluster randomised control trial evaluating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a maternity quality improvement programme to reduce excess bleeding and need for transfusion after childbirth.

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Andrew Cumpstey

NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine
University of Southampton/University Hospital Southampton

Andrew Cumpstey completed his undergraduate medical training at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford before starting his training in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine in Southampton. He completed his PhD at the University of Southampton, exploring the effect oxygen therapy has on oxidative stress in major surgery and critical illness. His research interests include translational clinical studies in oxygen physiology and oxygen therapy, improving clinical outcomes from major surgery and intensive care, and physiological changes in extreme environments.

Sundar Raj Ashok

Sundar Raj Ashok

Consultant Anaesthetist & Intensivist
Croydon University Hospital

My special interest areas are prehabilitation, perioperative assessment and optimisation and more recently the impact of long COVID syndrome on perioperative outcomes. My ambition is to raise awareness among clinicians in district general hospitals of the untapped potential to contribute massively to clinical research. District general hospitals are responsible for the wider clinical areas of treatment that impact a significantly large population. As the lead for perioperative medicine and research, I have proved that active clinical research is achievable by showcasing our position as one of the best research recruiters in the UK.

Shaun May

Shaun May

Consultant Anaesthetist
Royal London Hospital

Dr May was awarded a PhD from Queen Mary University of London for his research investigating the mechanisms underlying perioperative myocardial injury. The work was awarded the NIAA Research Award in 2021. His research interests include translational clinical studies to understand the pathophysiology of morbidity after major surgery. He is currently the PI for the SINFONIA trial at the Royal London Hospital site.