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For Researchers

UntitledHolly Brown

I have been at the University of York since 2010, completing both my BSc in Psychology and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience before working in the department as a research associate for 3 years. I started my PhD in cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging October 2017, supervised by Professor Antony Morland, and am working on projects with Dr Richard Gale the ophthalmology research team at York Hospital.

The aim of the PhD is to explore the status of visual cortex following retinal disease. My research involves multiple neuroimaging and behavioural measures including MRI, functional MRI, DTI, clinical visual assessments (visual acuity, microperimetry, perimetry) and psychophysics. Combining methods will allow me to explore potential changes in structure and function of visual cortex in individuals with retinal disease, as well as age-matched sighted controls. I am particularly interested the function of the lesion projection zone and under what viewing conditions neural activity can be observed (potentially a marker for reorganisation), as well and assessing higher-level visual processing, such as face recognition. Understanding the neural consequences of vision loss is essential to ensuring the success of treatments developed to restore retinal function; if visual cortex is not viable and capable of processing new incoming information, restoration attempts will not be successful.


Brown, H. D., Woodall, R. L., Kitching, R. E., Baseler, H. A., & Morland, A. B. (2016). Using magnetic resonance imaging to assess visual deficits: a review. Ophthalmic and physiological optics, 36(3), 240-265. (

RHRachel Woodall

I completed a MSc degree at the University of York in 2014 in Cognitive Neuroscience which led to a two year research assistant position in the same lab. This job focused on changes to the visual cortex in the brain in a group of patients with vision loss who were candidates for implantation of the Argus II retinal device to restore visual input.

Following this, I secured a PhD scholarship working with the same supervisors at York. The aim of my PhD is to establish the structural, functional and chemical changes to the visual cortex in patients with vision loss. Working closely with the ophthalmology research team at York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, clinical assessments of visual performance are compared with neuroimaging assessments of the visual cortex in the brain. Brain images are obtained from York Neuroimaging Centre at the University of York, using techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI and MR Spectroscopy.  


SaraSara Ma

I trained and worked as an Intensive Care Nurse in London and went on to join York Teaching Hospital as an Anaesthetics and Critical Care Research Nurse in 2013. From 2015 to 2018 I helped develop a new Specialist Nurse role in perioperative medicine and establish a new Perioperative Medicine Service at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. During my MSc, I investigated whether pre-operative brain natriuretic peptide could be used to improve the perioperative care patients undergoing major elective abdominal surgery. I now work in the gastroenterology directorate motivated by working with patients to either manage conditions to avoid surgery or providing excellent post-operative care when surgery cannot be avoided.


In 2018 I joined the CARDINAL Fellowship Programme which is designed to encourage Nurses and Allied Health Professionals into PhD programmes. The Fellowship really appealed to me as it allowed me to continue my clinical nursing career while developing my academic knowledge and research portfolio. I currently work part-time clinically as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nurse Specialist and spend two days a week on my research. The Fellowship also represents an exciting collaboration between the Department of Health Sciences and York- Hull Medical School in that I am being supervised and working alongside Professors in both of these departments.


I am interested in the impact of inflammatory bowel disease on male sexual function. This is a sensitive topic that can cause a big impact on a patients quality of life and therefore I want to uncover not only the problems, but also the barriers to assessment and treatment so that we can improve the care the nursing team provides.


Luke Madge

Since completing my MSc in Physiotherapy at York St John in 2015 I've held positions as a physiotherapist in both the NHS and at Leeds United football club. I've also worked abroad in a teaching capacity at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. My currently role is a rheumatology, orthopaedics, pain management and musculoskeletal senior rotational position at York Teaching Hospital. 

I recently began a joint clinical fellowship PhD with York St John, aimed at exploring the aetiology of illiotibial band syndrome with the intention of creating an evidence based conservative treatment intervention to address it. The primary goal is to contribute actionable advice to the working clinician on how to manage this condition. My supervisors are Dr John Thompson, Dr Danial Madigan and Dr Alastair Jordan, who are all senior lecturers in their respective fields at York St John University. I work two days a week on my research with three clinical days in the NHS. I’m passionate about translating research into practise and this collaboration, bridging academia and clinical work, is an excellent opportunity to do so. 

Jillian Webster

I have been a Specialist Nurse for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) since April 2017, following 10 years as a Nurse Prescriber in Jillian Picvarious GP Practices in West Yorkshire. I am employed by York Teaching Hospital but am actually based in our West Yorkshire clinical hub at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. I provide a nurse led clinic which involves genetic counselling and testing Index patients and their relatives (Cascade Testing) for FH. Familial Hypercholesterolaemia is an inherited condition which leads to exceptionally high cholesterol levels, often double and sometimes four times those of the general population.1 in 250 of the general population has FH but many are as yet undiagnosed, leaving individuals at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dying suddenly at a premature age from a heart attack.

I finished a Master’s Degree in Genomic Medicine in November 2020 at The University of Manchester and applied straight away for the PhD opportunity. I am absolutely delighted to have been selected to undertake research in conjunction with St. John’s University, York. This research will focus upon whether physical activity intervention can reduce cholesterol in familial hypercholesterolaemia. Initially establishing what the current physical activity levels of FH patients are and do they currently meet the NICE recommendations and then moving on to ascertain the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour on lipid profile and associated risk factors in FH patients.

Most patients with FH will require lifetime lipid lowering therapy and clinical guidelines include dietary and nutritional recommendations as part of treatment but there appear to be no specific similar suggestions for levels of physical activity, despite continued NICE guidelines for the FH population. Identifying whether activity levels have some benefit in this cohort of patients and indeed if they need a specifically targeted activity programme approach would be the basis of this research.

Tracey Pic

Tracey Daniels 

I am a physiotherapist and the non-medical clinical lead for cystic fibrosis at the York Hull Cystic Fibrosis Centre. I graduated from the University of Manchester in 1999 and completed a MSc in the management of long-term health conditions at the University of Central Lancashire in 2009.  My dissertation for this masters degree provided the foundations for my research interests of the use of electronic data capture to better understand treatment taking.  This work was published in the journal Chest and I was able to present it at a number of conferences across the UK and globally including the Australasian cystic fibrosis (CF) conference.

I have been able to combine my clinical career with a range of research and associated activities including being a steering group member of the James Lind research priority setting partnership for CF, lead authoring a Cochrane review and ACPCF/CF trust physiotherapy guidelines, inputting into NICE quality standards and co-authoring a number of papers & abstracts.  I have guest lectured at both Leeds Beckett and York St John Universities and developed a post graduate short course for clinicians caring for people with CF. I am vice chair for CF DigiCare; a collaboration of CF clinicians and people with CF working together to use real time data within a digital learning health system to learn how to make CF care better.

I have been fortunate to gain a place on the York St John University/York Teaching Hospital clinical fellowship which will give me the dedicated time and support to complete a PhD and to develop a clinical academic career.  This PhD programme is designed to explore burden of treatment, clinician prescribing behaviours, drivers for treatment taking and CF community preferences & thresholds for outcome measures to sanction or challenge changes to prescribing and treatment taking.  The project is being supervised by Dr Alison Laver Fawcett, Associate Professor School of Science, Technology and Health, York St John University & Dr Sam Yoward, Senior lecturer Physiotherapy, School of Science, Technology and Health, York St John University. 

John - Liverpool Student Card IDJohnny Latham

Since 2019 I have been training as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Liverpool on their clinical doctorate programme, with a research focus on end-of-life conversations and the barriers clinicians face to providing effective care. In In 2014 I attended the University of Oxford to complete a PgDip and MSc in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy notably resulting in scholarship to meet and discuss my research with the founder of CBT, Dr. Aaron Beck.  I am also a registered CBT therapist and I have led clinical teams in the Youth Offending Service, Early Intervention Service, One-Eighty - a systemic family therapy service based in Oxfordshire, and in Oxford’s and Wakefield’s Children’s Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

In July 2016 I was honoured to receive the University of Oxford’s Vice Chancellor’s Award for Social Impact, as a result of my commitment to applying research to clinical practice. 

I am currently working with York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust to investigate the relationship between a healthcare worker’s fear of failure, and the impact that this can have on clinical practice – specifically when delivering end of life news and terminal prognosis. This study will be the first application of The Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory (PFAI; Conroy, Willow and Metzler, 2002) in a clinical sample.



1st April 2023 – 31st March 2024

York & Scarborough

50 research studies open to recruitment


3246 patients recruited into clinical trials