UCL Medical School


Research Staff

UCL Medical School is committed to excellence in education and has a strong reputation for teaching informed by cutting-edge research.

The School has a distinguished cadre of academic staff who are at the forefront of international research in medical sciences and clinical medicine. 



Dr Kirsty Alexander, Research Fellow

Kirsty’s main research interests are in widening participation and diversity in UK medicine, and in exploring how these relate to wider ideas of social mobility and social accountability.  Her work to date has been primarily qualitative, using methods such as semi-structured interviews, focus groups, critical discourse analysis and thematic analysis.  

Before completing her PhD in Medical Education and entering academia, Kirsty worked as ‘Widening Participation Officer’, where she developed and ran outreach activities for young people from backgrounds that have not traditionally participated in Higher Education.  This practical experience sparked her interest in this fascinating area.

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Prof Jane Dacre, Professor of Medical Education

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Dr Bettina Friedrich, Research Fellow

Bettina is a research psychologist who has been conducting research in the areas on mental health, intervention evaluation, mental health stigma and inclusion.  She has also a background in media psychology and has therefore a strong interest in health communication research - especially the question how people use classical and social media to communicate about mental health problems and what impact this has on our narrative of mental health (stigma).

Bettina has completed her diploma in psychology and musicology in Saarbuecken/ Germany and received then a stipend from the European Commission to do her PhD in Perceptual Psychology at the University of Glasgow. After appointments at UCSD, King’s College London, and University of Sydney she has joined UCL in 2016 to conduct evaluation research on a football intervention for people with mental health problems. In 2019 she has joined UCL Medical School.

While her original training focused on quantitative methods, Bettina is now particularly interested in using a mixed method approach, ideally in interdisciplinary settings. She is currently conducting research on the education of DITs.  

Bettina enjoys the networking opportunities at UCL and is actively involved the in “UCL Loneliness and Mental Health network” (Department of Psychiatry) and the “UCL Mental Health in Education network” (Institute of Education). Bettina is also elected member of the Academic Board of UCL. 

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Prof Deborah Gill, Director UCL Medical School | Pro Vice Provost Student Experience

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Prof Ann Griffin, Deputy Director UCL Medical School | Professor of Medical Education Research | Honorary Consultant in Medical Education    

Ann’s qualitative research experience covers educational quality and quality assurance, the student voice, medical transitions (from training to workplace), professionalism and appraisal and medical revalidation.  She has used interpretive phenomenological analysis, psychoanalytical and critical discourse analysis, narrative analysis, Foucauldian discourse analysis, linguistic methodologies including the use of metaphor.

The bulk of Ann’s education work is doctoral supervision; supervising five doctoral students studying a range of topics from quality improvement, medical revalidation, professionalism, the impact of less than full-time working, and the impact of consultancy work on partner organisations.  Ann is also a part-time GP in North London.

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Dr David Harrison, Research Fellow

As a philosopher and educator David’s background of interest is in cognition, how people learn and the nature of knowledge – particularly how we can assess knowledge and how it is used.

Much of his research has been looking at knowledge acquisition and the use of technology in education and assessment, using mixed methods such as interviews and focus groups, designing questionnaires and analysing both qualitative and quantitative data.  David’s recent research interests have shifted to looking at widening participation in Higher Education.

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Dr Laura Knight , Research Fellow

Laura’s research interests include health policy and the NHS (with a particular interest in its impact on mental health), governance and citizenship in context of health and healthcare, neoliberalism and the political economy of health care provision, post-structuralist Discourse Theory.  

She has employed research methods such as in-depth interviews, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, discourse analysis, realist analysis and thematic analysis.

Most of Laura’s teaching experience is to undergraduate students on topics such as introduction to social research methods, sociology of health and illness, social psychology, advanced social research methods, and health inequalities and injustice.

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Jeannine McIlroy, Research Administrator

Jeannine has a wealth of experience in postgraduate taught and research administration at UCL Medical School.  She also has a background and keen interest in widening participation, and worked on a successful community engagement project with the Citizens Advice Bureau aimed at improving health inequalities in deprived areas of Essex.

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Prof Chris McManus, Professor of Psychology and Medical Education

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Dr Asta Medisauskaite, Research Assistant

Asta’s main research interests are around doctors’ ill-health and well-being: prevalence of occupational distress, risk factors (individual and organisational) and interventions. She us a quantitative researcher and uses various statistical methods, e.g. meta-analysis, multivariate statistics.

Asta has worked as a tutor and lecturer at Birkbeck, LSE and UEL; preparing, planning and delivering seminars and lectures and also supervising postgraduate students’ final year projects. She has delivered lectures/seminars to undergraduate and postgraduate students on a range of subjects including research methods, professional development and learning, organisational behaviour, leadership and performance management, international human resource management, teams and groups, substance abuse in organisations, perception and communication, positive psychology.

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Dr Lorraine Noble, Associate Professor

Lorraine’s areas of interest are doctor-patient communication and clinical communication in medical education, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches.  

She has taught medical students, doctors and other health professionals about health professional-patient communication, including practical skills work; in addition to how to teach clinical communication to doctors and other tutors, and other related subjects, e.g. doctor-patient communication to health psychologists and perception of risk and risk communication to travel health professionals.

Lorraine has supervised Masters, PhD and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology students, as well as medical students conducting research projects.

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Dr Catherine O’Keeffe, Honorary Associate Professor

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Dr Antonia Rich, Lecturer 

Antonia’s current research interests focus on the challenges doctors face and implications of these, such as problems in recruitment and retention and developing interventions for doctors’ well-being. As a health psychologist, she is interested in promoting health and behaviour change interventions. 

Antonia has experience of quantitative research, e.g., experimental design, using questionnaires to measure change based on psychological theories, in addition to meta-analysis.  Her qualitative research includes interviews, focus groups and observations, and thematic analysis, content analysis and interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Antonia’s previous teaching experience includes training for health professionals in the areas of smoking cessation, sexual health, childhood obesity and adherence, in addition to supervision of MSc Health Psychology students and the development of well-being workshops for doctors with colleagues in the human computer interaction centre who have been doing research on the impact of technology on our work-life balance.

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Marcia Rigby, Research Manager

Marcia has a BSc Criminology & Social Policy (Hons) which during the modular year focussed on women in crime and the criminal justice system.  

Before working for UCL she was a fundraising and donations manager for a children’s charity. Marcia’s areas of interest are how women are treated in the criminal justice system and the links between women’s experience as victims of domestic abuse and their offending behaviour; and she has contributed to a series of CDROMs sponsored by the BMJ.

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Dr Shah-Jalal Sarker, Associate Professor | Divisional Graduate Tutor (Research)

Shah-Jalal has extensive experience of leading, designing, implementation, analysis and interpretation of a substantial portfolio of multicentre cancer trials, with research interests in epidemiology of cancer, psychological effects of cancer and quality of life, measurement scales, pharmaco-economics: sample size for cost-effectiveness trials, and medical statistics: sample sizing, missing data methods. 

As a quantitative researcher, he has carried out research in a number of inter-disciplinary areas covering the fields of statistical methodology, cancer, stroke, psychology, ophthalmology, surgical science, management and education, including collaborative research with UCL, Duke University (USA) and KCL.  

Shah-Jalal’s collaborative work on “Impact of the new UK licensing law on emergency hospital attendances” drew much attention from mainstream media in 2007, and he also contributed to the methods for calculating smaller sample sizes for phase II clinical trials in cancer and for calculating sample size for cost-effectiveness trials - his publication of a C++ program for the latter drawing much attention from pharmaceutical companies. 

Shah-Jalal has taught on the QMUL MSc in Cancer Therapeutics, Cancer & Molecular Pathology and Genomics, Cancer & Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cancer & Clinical Oncology, and Surgical Skills and Sciences, has supervised MSc dissertations and acted as external examiner for MRes and PhD theses at Kingston University.

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Dr Milou Silkens, Research Fellow

Milou’s research endeavours mainly focus on learning environments in medical education and their impact on students’ wellbeing and patients’ safety. With a background in clinical epidemiology she particularly enjoys quantitative research and is especially interested in using complex longitudinal data.

She has experience with multilevel models, psychometric analyses and latent profile analyses. In addition, her qualitative research includes focus groups based on constructivist grounded theory and interviews based on thematic approaches.  

Milou is a health scientist and has completed her PhD and postdoctoral work in medical education at the University of Amsterdam. Subsequently, she was a junior lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where she designed, taught and evaluated undergraduate courses in biomedical sciences and health sciences.  

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Dr Alison Sturrock, Clinical Associate Professor

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Dr Rowena Viney, Research Fellow

Rowena has worked on a range of projects relating to fairness in medical education, evaluation of educational interventions, assessment, and interaction in PACES exams.  She is primarily interested in communication and interaction, including verbal and body behaviours; in particular, the various identities that people bring to their interactions and how they deploy these identities to achieve various things. Rowena’s current research interest is in reflection and how this is accomplished when done verbally with colleagues.

Rowena is a qualitative researcher using conversation analysis, discourse analysis, gesture analysis, and thematic analysis, recently learning within RDME about other theories and analytical approaches including the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Realist Approach.

Rowena has experience in teaching research methods, including conversation analysis to modern language and social psychology undergraduates, PhD students, and peers, plus sessions on qualitative/communication research to management undergraduates, and sessions on using video in research to EdD students.  Rowena also currently supervises PhD, Masters and EdD students and acts as a personal tutor to UCLMS undergraduates.

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Dr Katherine Woolf, Associate Professor

Kath’s research aims to understand and improve medical students’ and doctors’ performance, and thus improve patient care, with a strong belief in equality and fairness being vital for effective selection, learning, and assessment. These values underpin her major research areas of improving educational outcomes for minority ethnic medical students and doctors, and improving access to medicine by helping medical applicants from diverse backgrounds make informed choices about which medical schools they apply to. 

She uses both qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches, including interviews, multivariate statistical analysis of secondary cohort data, and social network analysis and has a keen interest in involving the public in research and teaching. 

Most of Kath’s teaching relates to research methods and teacher training; she is increasingly teaching people about equity and fairness in education and has supervised various undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.

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