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evidENT Team

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Professor Anne Schilder - Director NIHR UCLH BRC Hearing Theme & evidENT UCL Ear Institute

I am an ENT surgeon and trialist and lead the translational hearing research programme of the NIHR UCLH BRC Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme.

My research focuses on translation of hearing discoveries into novel treatments for patients with hearing loss. This ranges from designing and delivering first-in-man trials, analysis of routine health data, to health economics and health policy to prepare healthcare systems for the arrival of drug, gene and cell therapies for hearing loss.

I have led the successful delivery of the first trial worldwide of a regenerative hearing drug in adults with sensorineural hearing loss (REGAIN, EU Horizon 2020 €5.8m). I also hold a chair at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, working with primary care researchers to develop evidence-based interventions for otitis media in children.

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Nishchay Mehta - BRC Associate Professor Deafness and Hearing Health

I am an Ears Nose and Throat (ENT) Consultant Surgeon with a sub specialty interest in Otology and Auditory Implants appointed at the Royal National ENT hospital within UCL Hospitals Trust. I hold a joint appointment as Associate Professor at the Ear Institute, funded for by the Deafness and Hearing Health Biomedical Research Centre.

My Wellcome Trust funded PhD at UCL was in health informatics and clinical decision making. Currently, my research interests include (with funding body or collaborators):

  • Artificial Intelligence in the diagnosis of hearing loss phenotypes (Wellcome Trust)
  • Developing a National Health Informatics Collaborative for hearing health (NIHR BRC)
  • Remotely assessing and developing early biomarkers for ototoxicity in cancer patients (Action on Hearing Loss)
  • Role of novel measurement techniques in those with hearing loss (UCL BRC)
  • Role intra-operative monitoring technology in auditory implantation (Advanced Bionics and Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre)
  • Developing core outcome sets for ear related conditions (INTEGRATE)
  • Developing on-line hearing health screening and interventions (NIHR PDG)
  • Developing tele-otology services (TympaHealth)
  • Assessing the predictors and treatment of sudden onset sensorineural hearing loss (Sensorion)

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Nikhil Joshi

I am a junior doctor undertaking a 1-year post with the evidENT team as a clinical research fellow. My research interests focus on using data science to answer research questions in the fields of hearing loss and childhood obstructive sleep disordered breathing. During this post I will be undertaking a full-time master’s in health data science at UCL, including modules on machine learning, health informatics and statistics.

I hold an undergraduate degree in pre-clinical medicine from Cambridge University and subsequently completed my medical studies at Imperial College London. During my first two years as a junior doctor, I undertook the Academic Foundation Programme, during which I joined the central academic team of the SeaSHeL study. This is the largest UK cohort study on sudden hearing loss, taking place across 100 NHS Trusts and led by Rishi Mandavia.

I intend to begin ENT surgical training in the next couple of years and will continue to combine clinical and research roles throughout my career. I also have keen interests in global health and environmental responsibility which I hope to incorporate into future research.

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Bella Kalala - Research Data Manager

I joined the evident team as a Research data manager. Passionate about science and research, I am studying for a Bsc in Biomedical science.

I previously worked as a dental nurse in the dental community and the Eastman dental in endodontics, restorative, and special care as part of the EDH and ENT hospital. As part of the evident team, I support with project as Seashel, Macro and Ototoxicity. Since I joined the evident team, I have been learning and developing my knowledge of the different aspect of research and the impact it has on the final diagnosis and treatment.

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Marina Forbes - Clinical Research Audiologist

In August 2021, the opportunity arose for me to work alongside the evidENT Team as a Clinical Research Audiologist. I was very happy to join the team. I have been an Adult Rehabilitation Audiologist within the Hearing Aid Centre at RNENT UCLH since June 2020. I split my time between the two roles. It is so lovely to be able to work within two teams who value patient care so highly. I have about 8 years of experience working as an audiologist within both NHS and private settings.

In my hearing aid role, I help individuals on a one-to-one basis. I love helping people hear and providing advice to those who have hearing difficulties.  I enjoy building rapport with my patients - learning about my patients' wants, needs and lifestyles, before proceeding with procedures or management plans.

I was interested in joining the evidENT Team (within the NIHR UCLH BRC Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme) because I know how much impact research can have on the wider population - even simple studies can help so many people. It's a great feeling to form part of this team. I am constantly learning and developing professionally, and I look forward to working on the various projects that are involved.

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Roderick P Venekamp - GP and Associate Professor of Primary Care

I am a practising GP, epidemiologist and associate professor of primary care at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care of the University Medical Centre Utrecht.

I graduated in Medicine from the UMCU in 2008. While training in General Practice I led a primary care-based RCT of the effectiveness of systemic corticosteroids in adults with acute rhinosinusitis. This resulted in a PhD from the Utrecht University in 2012. In that same year I completed an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology. I completed the GP vocational training programme in 2014.

I have acquired several (inter)national research grants in the field of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) including a prestigious personal research grant for young talented researchers (ZonMw/NWO Veni).

I am currently the principle investigator of the primary care infectious diseases research group of the Julius Center and co-supervisor of 4 PhD students. I am board member of the Medical Research Ethics Committee (MERC) Utrecht, the Authorisation Committee of the Dutch College of General Practitioners and participated in the revisions of Dutch primary care clinical practice guidelines on acute rhinosinusitis, acute otitis media and otitis media with effusion in children. I am also editor of Cochrane ENT and ARI.

I also work as a researcher in Professor Anne Schilder’s evidENT team thereby contributing to the strong links between UMC Utrecht and evidENT at UCL. Currently I am working with the evidENT team on various studies in the field of childhood sleep disordered breathing.

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Asma Awad - Clinical Research Fellow

I am a clinical research fellow at UCL Ear Institute, London, and I am also an Ear, Nose, and Throat Locum doctor at the University College of London Hospital.

I studied Medicine at Benghazi University and graduated in 2006. I completed my Basic Surgical Training and part of ENT Higher Surgical training in Libya (2007- 2014). During my studying and training, I developed a keen interest in teaching, so I worked as an assistant lecturer at Benghazi University (2011-2014). 

I completed MSc in ENT at Benghazi University in 2011 and was awarded a Scholarship from the Libyan Higher Education Ministry in (2015) to continue my post-grad studies. 

I also completed a Master of Surgery MCh in Otorhinolaryngology at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2016.

I have a specialist interest in Otology, especially hearing loss disorders, dizziness, and vertigo. 

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Dr Rohani Omar - Consultant Audiovestibular Physician

Dr Rohani Omar is a Consultant Audiovestibular Physician at University College London Hospital (UCLH), appointed in 2021. She runs adult neuro-otology clinics at the Royal National ENT and Eastman Dental Hospitals. Dr Omar trained in medicine at Cambridge University. She completed general medical training on the London Hammersmith rotation leading to the MRCP. She then obtained an MD(Res) in Neurology from UCL and was awarded a Royal College of Physicians/Dunhill Medical Trust Research Fellowship for her research work on frontotemporal dementia and non-verbal cognitive processing as a Clinical Research Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square.

Dr Omar subsequently completed specialist training in Audiovestibular Medicine in London. She gained a distinction for the PGCert in Otology and Audiology (UCL) and has been awarded competitive presentation and audit prizes. Her clinical and research interests are in cognitive neuroscience and the interface between hearing loss and cognition in older adults. She has numerous publications in high-impact peer reviewed journals and written a book chapter on music cognition in dementia. She is an interviewer for specialist trainee selection and is on the Audiovestibular Medicine curriculum development committee.

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Fei Long - Clinical Research Audiologist

I joined the evidENT team and the UCLH in August 2021 as a Clinical Research Manager. My role is to coordinate the Clinical Research Feasibility Committee within the RNENT & EDH, oversee the delivery of trials running within the evidENT team and manage the research delivery team.

I gained my MSc in Healthcare Research Methods from the Queen Mary University of London prior to working as a Clinical Research Nurse and later on a Lead Research Nurse in the NHS. I have coordinated commercial and non-commercial phase 2-4 trials across specialities including haematology, orthopaedics, general surgery, diabetes, ITU and perioperative care. I then worked on research project management of COVID-19 vaccine trials in the University of Oxford.

My interest is in research support, as I believe well-organised and sufficient research support will help clinicians and researchers to conduct research to its highest quality which will ultimately benefit future patients.

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Deepak Chandrasekharan - NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow

I am an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow combining Core Surgical Training in the London Deanery with research working with the evidENT team at the UCL Ear Institute. 

I studied preclinical medicine at Cambridge graduating with a degree in Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. I completed my clinical training at Oxford and worked as an Academic Foundation Doctor in the Oxford deanery. My research work included studying immunological tolerance with the Transplant Immunology group (TRIG) as well as working with the Cleft Lip and Palate priority setting partnership of the James Lind Alliance. 

I am now working with clinicians, basic scientists and industry to identify areas for future research in ENT to develop a PhD proposal.

I also enjoy teaching and teach neuroscience to undergraduate medical students and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  

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Laurie Springford - NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow

I have joined evidENT as a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Academic Clinical Fellow in Otorhinolaryngology. This fellowship provides the opportunity to divide my time between health research and training in ENT surgery within the London deanery. Within evidENT I am involved in multiple projects related to childhood obstructive sleep disordered-breathing (oSDB). Amongst these, I am currently working towards the standardisation of outcomes used in clinical trials and research in childhood oSDB. This involves systematic review of the literature and a consensus exercise between key stakeholders involved in the care of these children. Patient and public involvement is a cornerstone of this work and is supported by the NIHR UCL Biomedical Research Centre.

My prior experience looking at outcomes and developing evidence-based patient pathways established my interest in health policy, its evidence base and the cost-effectiveness of recommended treatment modalities within ENT surgery. My previous work has been widely referenced and incorporated into online resources: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/congenital-anomalies-of-the-intrathoracic-airways-and-tracheoesophageal-fistula

I hold a first-class honours degree in Biomedical Science and Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prior to securing my current appointment I underwent foundation training in North West Thames Foundation School and took up posts at Queen Victoria Hospital (UK) and Gold Coast University Hospital (Australia). My interest in health economics and policy has led to being awarded a place on the Executive Master’s in Health Economics, Policy and Management at the London School of Economics, which I am studying for whilst training as an ENT surgeon.

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Rishi Mandavia - NIHR CLAHRC and BRC Research Fellow

Rishi is an ENT Surgical Doctor, currently carrying out a Ph.D. at University College London on the implementation of novel therapeutics into healthcare systems, supported by the NIHR BRC, ARC and the Royal College of Surgeons. He holds an MSc in Health Policy from Imperial College London and has published and presented his health services research widely, receiving international recognition.

Rishi has worked as a NICE Scholar and NICE Specialist advisor, contributing to national clinical guidelines and surgical device regulation; and is also a committee member on the Lancet Commission on Hearing loss, and an expert member on the World Health Organization’s World Hearing Forum.

As ENT Associate Lead for the Royal College of Surgeons, NIHR CRN Trainee Lead for ENT, and Committee Member of UK ENT Trainee research collaboratives, Rishi works to promote UK ENT research capacity. He is leading the national SeaSHeL study, the largest UK cohort study on sudden hearing loss, taking place across 100 NHS Trusts.

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Joseph Manjaly - Consultant Otologist, Auditory Implant & ENT Surgeon

I am a Consultant ENT Surgeon specialising in Otology and Auditory implant surgery, and an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the UCL Ear Institute.

I qualified from the University of Bristol in 2008 and underwent higher surgical training in all aspects of ENT on the London North Thames rotation, at units including London North West University NHS Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Imperial College NHS Trust and the Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital.

After being awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, I started to further focus my skills in the area of hearing restoration surgery for children & adults. As a trainee at the Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital I became fluent in middle ear surgery under local anaesthetic, stapes surgery and cochlear implantation as well as paediatric ENT surgery for hearing and breathing-related disorders. In 2018 I undertook an internationally-renowned fellowship in Otology & Implant surgery at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, gaining further experience in tertiary level otology including active middle ear implant surgery, bone conduction implant surgery and surgery for cholesteatoma. I am a visiting specialist on the Microtia & Craniofacial MDT at the Royal Free Hospital, London.

On completion of fellowship training, I was appointed as a Consultant back at the Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital and joined the evidENT research team. I have been a PI delegate on the REGAIN & Audible-S trials delivered at UCL, as well as the Oto-104 trial in which Cambridge University Hospitals was a recruiting site. I have complemented this with a number of journal publications and prizes. My current research interests in include hearing preservation cochlear implant surgery and the use of telemedicine for otologic practice.  

I have a long-held interest in teaching and training regionally & nationally. I authored the popular trainee textbooks 'ENT OSCEs' and 'Advanced ENT Training', both published by CRC press and have held a number of national positions, including as council member for the British Society of Otology and the Royal Society of Medicine Otology Section.

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Catherine Pengelly - Research Nurse

I joined the evidENT team as a Research Nurse in January 2021 and I work with the multi-disciplinary clinical and research teams on the Macro Trial, recruiting patients and providing them with relevant nursing care.

I completed a degree in English Literature at Manchester in 1990 and subsequently trained as a nurse at Barts. I have spent most of my nursing career in multi-specialty Pre-op Assessment Clinics at Central Middlesex and Northwick Park Hospitals, including ENT, and this has been interspersed with roles as the manager of a Surgical Scheduling office and Waiting Times Team. I also worked as an Orthopaedic Coordinator to improve their theatre utilisation. I joined UCLH in 2017 as a Urology Pre-assessment Nurse and became the Deputy Sister there. I am currently the Urology Outpatients Sister at Westmoreland St and am job sharing my role there in order to work at evidENT Tuesday to Thursday. Outside work, I am on the committee of the local residents association, helping to create a shared vegetable garden with funding from the Mayor.