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evidENT Team

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

I am an ENT surgeon and trialist and lead the translational hearing research programme of the NIHR UCLH BRC Hearing Health 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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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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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 6 PhD students. I am chair of chamber A (Allround) of the Medical Research Ethics Committee (MREC) NedMec, member of the practice guidelines’ 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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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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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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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 with research interests in health economics and implementation science.  

He has a BSc in Aerospace Medicine (King’s College London), an MSc in Health Policy (Imperial College London) and PhD in Implementation Science (University College London), funded by the NIHR UCLH BRC, ARC and the Royal College of Surgeons.  

Rishi has worked as a NICE Scholar and NICE Specialist advisor, contributing to national clinical guidelines and surgical device regulation. He has also been a committee member on the Lancet Commission on Hearing loss, as well as expert member for the World Health Organization. 

As ENT Associate Lead for the Royal College of Surgeons, 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 over 60 NHS Trusts. 

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Talisa Ross - NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow

I am an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) registrar and Academic Clinical Fellow in the North Thames deanery. The academic clinical fellowship programme allows me to divide my time in higher surgical training with research, working as part of the evidENT team. 

My academic outputs have been widely published and presented internationally. I studied Medicine at the University of Birmingham, gaining a distinction in research. I have an intercalated BSc from King’s College London, during which I developed a full-immersion simulation tool for the daVinci robot. I have a Master’s in Surgical Innovation from Imperial College London, for which I gained a distinction. During my MSc, I completed projects evaluating the use of novel energy devices in trans-oral robotic surgery. 

My enthusiasm for innovation in ENT has led to my current research interest in machine learning. I am passionate about harnessing the power of big data to answer meaningful clinical questions. 

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Nikhil Joshi - Clinical Research Fellow

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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Marina Forbes - Clinical Research Audiologist

I am a Clinical Research Audiologist working in the evidENT team since 2021. The projects I have been involved in are:

  1. Ototoxicity Monitoring - a feasibility study introducing portable hearing assessments and biomarker-monitoring (Prestin & Otolin-1) to patients undergoing ototoxic chemotherapy
  2. Dementia Care & Hearing Loss - a feasibility study introducing memory screening to older adults in hearing aid clinics at RNENT hospitals

The above studies involve collaboration with the wonderful clinical teams both at the Royal National Ear, Nose and Throat & Eastman Dental Hospitals and at the Macmillan Cancer Centre of University College London Hospitals. It is so lovely to be able to work with teams who value evidenced-based patient care so highly. I am also the Audiology Research Champion in North Thames Clinical Research Network. Find out more about me and my role here. If you are interested in audiological research, have a research idea or if you have any questions - please get in touch by emailing evident@ucl.ac.uk.

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Fei Long - Clinical Research Manager

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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Fahima Khatun - Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Lead

I run a nationally recognised home care organsiation supporting people who live with sensory and cognitive impairments. I am driven by the philosophy of providing safe and quality care. 

In my role as the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Lead for the NIHR UCLH BRC Hearing Health Theme I advocate for people living with hearing conditions in order to help shape research studies and determine the way their healthcare needs are met.

Through both of my roles I hope to achieve better outcomes for those affected by sensory impairment and particularly hearing loss.

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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.

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Diya Vaid - PhD Student

I am a PhD student supported by the NIHR UCLH BRC and supervised by Professors Anne Schilder (UCL Ear Institute) and Fiona Stevenson (UCL Department of Primary Care and Population Health). 

I hold an MSc in Neuroscience and a BSc in Biomedical Science, where I focused on cognitive neuroscience and clinical applications of data science and machine learning. 

My research focuses on how hearing loss and dementia are addressed as co-morbidities in clinical practice. 

 I apply multiple methods to:

  • Map international recommendations and practice regarding how cognitive health is addressed in adult hearing services, via a systematic review and survey of professional organisations
  • Map stakeholders involved in hearing and dementia care pathways in the UK and their perceived role, via survey of professionals
  • Understand the journeys, experiences and expectations of older adults and their families attending NHS hearing services in terms of memory care, through interviews and focus groups
  • Understand the barriers and facilitators professionals experience regarding addressing hearing loss and dementia as comorbidities in clinical services, through interviews and focus groups

With this work, I aim to co-create practical guidance on how to address cognition in adult hearing services.

Mustafa Jaafar

Mustafa Jaafar - UKRI Clinical Research Fellow

I am an ENT Specialty Registrar in the North Thames Deanery. I am also a researcher in the evidENT team and I am enrolled full-time in the UKRI UCL Artificial Intelligence Centre for Doctoral Training; a programme leading to award of a PhD.

Working under Professor Anne Schilder and Mr Nish Mehta (evidENT) and Dr Waty Lilaonitkul (IHI), my work focuses on creating novel AI to better understand, screen and diagnose sleep-disordered breathing in adults and children. 

If you’re interested in pioneering the future of AI and sleep, get in touch!

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Dr Sara Valencia - Translational Research Manager

Sara holds a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh and has a natural science background. She has held various positions in innovation policy, translational research, lifelong learning education, and knowledge management at the directive, managerial and consultative levels. 

During her time with USAID's Local Health System Sustainability Project in Colombia, she developed the Project Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation strategy. As Director of the Center for Education and Research on Health at the Health Secretariat in Bogotá, Colombia, Sara managed a public investment project on knowledge management, lifelong learning, international cooperation, and science and technology policies. She also led the strategy to certify four public hospitals as teaching hospitals, promoting knowledge transfer from academia to clinical practice.
Over the last decade, her research has focused on the impact of public policies on health innovation and education in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia, as well as the knowledge management of multinational and outsourced clinical trials.

Research Fellow

Dr Liam Barrett - Research Fellow

I am a research fellow with the EvidENT team at the Ear Institute, UCL, where I investigate how AI can enhance hearing care. Specifically, my focus is on utilising large datasets from individuals with hearing loss to train machine learning models that address various issues related to hearing loss.

During my PhD, I researched how machine learning models can predict moments of stuttering from speech and neural signals in individuals who stutter. My continued research interests seek to enhance AI and machine learning models for underrepresented populations in speech and hearing technology.