Our research teams


Research teams at ESNEFT

Following the merger of Colchester and Ipswich hospitals in July 2018 we have successfully integrated our research teams, creating a single leadership and administration structure for research across our Trust.

Our highly experienced Research & Development office has combined experience of over 50 years of leadership, set up and ongoing management of research within the NHS.

Our integrated team has very experienced nurse and practitioner team leaders who have expertise in research and study delivery managing our research teams across the two hospital sites.

They oversee the day-to-day running of research studies and ensure that the patients enrolled in the studies receive the best care possible. Many patients involved research studies are seen in hospital for many years and the research nurses/practitioners are often the first points of contact for these patients. We are on track to increase research recruitment by 22% in the first year.

Organisational Chart for ESNEFT Research Unit

Organisational chart




Leadership team

Trust Board Director and executive lead for Research and Development
Dr Shane Gordon.
Email Shane

Clinical Director of Research
Dr Richard Smith
Email Richard

Head of Research and Development
Frances Farnworth
Email Frances

Clinical Research Nurse Lead

Research and Development teams

Many of our doctors, nurses and practitioners are involved in national and international research studies and nine teams of specialist research nurses, facilitators, practitioners, grant coordinators and administrative staff support them. Our research programmes run across all disciplines from diagnosis to treatment to supportive care. This enables us to offer to our patients’ possible new treatments or procedures, which may widen their treatment options. The same clinical and research teams care for our patients during their course of treatment and follow up within the research study.

Delivery teams


Oncology research team

Celine Driscoll

Celine Driscoll: Senior Therapeutic Radiographer/Team Leader.

Celine is an experienced therapeutic radiographer and enjoys her varied role within the radiotherapy department and clinical research. She heads up an enthusiastic and committed group responsible for looking after the complex needs of oncology patients on clinical trials. As a team leader she has oversight of several ongoing research studies and liaises with different departments within the hospital as they carry out their work needed to successfully progress trials. Celine’s role within the team includes identifying and facilitating new studies and ensuring the portfolio of studies is balanced to ensure the needs of as many potential cancer patients as possible are met. She spent 10 years working on the radiotherapy machines in the department, so has a great understanding of the challenges different patients can present, and how research studies can potentially assist them. Celine enjoys the opportunities she is able to give patients through trials at what can be a very difficult and challenging time in their lives and considers it a privilege to work in cancer research.

Haematology research team

Nyasha Nago

Nyasha Nago: Senior Research Nurse/Team Leader

Nyasha is an experienced nurse and leads the Haematology Research Team at Colchester. Nyasha has completed a Masters of Science in Adult Nursing from the University of Essex and has additional qualifications in haematology and research. The expert haematology research team undertake a number of clinical research studies in cancer of the blood. The team recruit patients to research studies for haematological cancers such as myeloma, leukaemia, lymphoma and some precancerous conditions. Nyasha ensures that she and her team are kept abreast of the latest developments and advancements in haematology research. Nyasha ensures that the portfolio of studies is equally distributed in order to be able to offer patients an opportunity to take part in research and access novel treatments.

Generic research team

Alison o'kelly

Alison O’Kelly: Senior Research Nurse/Team Leader

Alison qualified as a nurse in 1986 and has worked in many disciplines before moving to specialise stroke twenty years ago. She has gained additional qualifications in stroke management and has enjoyed being an acute stroke nurse prior to embarking on a career in research. As a dedicated stroke nurse, she was aware of how various research studies have benefited patients over the years. She has been active in clinical research in stoke for the past seven years. She has had the opportunity to be part of a team writing and carrying out their own research. She has witnessed the results of research studies and the benefits of its implementation in clinical practice; She now leads the Generic research team at Colchester covering a wide range of disciplines and this has enabled patients to have the opportunity to take part in the research studies.


Cancer research team

Paul Ridley

Paul Ridley: Senior Clinical Research Practitioner/Team Leader

Paul Ridley joined Ipswich Hospital in 2003 and now leads the cancer research team as Senior Clinical Research Practitioner.  He has a BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology and prior to clinical research had a number of academic and industry research posts in histopathology, cancer cell biology, genomics and biotechnology. The  Cancer research team comprises research nurses, practitioners, radiographers, data managers and coordinators. We usually have 30 plus cancer studies open to recruitment at any one time and several more in the follow-up phase. These are a mix of observational and interventional studies across the main tumour sites. The majority of these studies are academic but we like to have a number of commercial studies too.  We also have non-malignant dermatology studies, mainly for psoriasis.

Generic research team

Stephanie Bell: Senior Research Nurse/Team Leader

Stephanie has been leading the Generic research team at Ipswich since 2016. Steph has 16 years of experience as a CCU nurse at Ipswich with a passion for acute care nursing which she has always enjoyed. She has prior experience of working as a neurosurgical research nurse and in CCU working on observational and interventional research multicentre RCT in device, CTIMPS and Management pathways.  Her team cover a wide range of studies over many specialities recruiting outpatients and inpatients, collaboratively working within many departments. She has enjoyed introducing research to new specialities and working with new investigators and would like to spread research activity to research naïve areas to give the wider public the opportunity to be part of the research.

Diabetes research team

Photograph of Jane-Zhixin Jiao

Jane-Zhixin Jiao: Senior diabetes research nurse/Team Leader

Jane has an MSc in Clinical Research and worked in a Diabetes research unit in London for three years before joining the diabetes research unit in Ipswich 12 years ago.

Jane is involved in all aspects of trial-related patient-centred care in both commercial and academic research. She is the first point of contact for any queries from study participants or sponsors. Jane leads on planning the logistics and the smooth running of the studies – from the demands of planning recruitment strategies to organising clinics. Jane has a proven track record of delivering studies on time and on target with experience in working with pharmaceutical companies with a special interest in diabetes, including interventional and observational studies, but also other disciplines such as renal, liver and cardiac. Jane leads an amazing team who are caring, kind, respectful and knowledgeable.


Support team


Photograph of Ashley EldenAshley Elden: Senior RD Facilitator/ Team Leader

Ashley is an experienced R&D facilitator who leads a dedicated R&D support team across all ESNEFT sites  with a ‘can do’ attitude.

Ashley’s team set up and manage research studies that are sponsored and funded by external organisations as well as supporting research designed and conducted by ESNEFT staff. Ashley and his team work closely with our Research Delivery teams as well as our clinical departments that support and help with the delivery of our research.

Ashley is committed to the ESNEFT belief of looking at ways to improve and evolve; he is currently undertaking a Leadership and Management Apprenticeship course.


Katharine Fowler: Research and Grant Co-ordinator/ Team Leader

Katharine has a PhD in Clinical Exercise Physiology and is a registered Clinical Research Practitioner. Katharine has over 15 years working within research in various settings including the NHS and military.

As a team leader she is involved in the management of ESNEFT Sponsored and collaborative research projects; from initial study concept and design, to the delivery at ESNEFT. The team also support researchers with grant applications for research funding.

Katharine is passionate about research studies that focus on patient benefit, and is keen for research at ESNEFT to continue to evolve to enable all healthcare professionals that are interested in research to be fully supported with their research aspirations.

Email the support team


Clinical Academic Research Leads – Allied Health Professionals


Rebecca Impson is an experienced physiotherapist working with Older People/ Frailty at Colchester Hospital. She graduated from the University of East London in 1992 with a BSc (HONS) in Physiotherapy and in 2002 gained a MSc in Gerontology from the University of London.

Rebecca has an interest in all issues that affect older people and is keen to continually improve services for older people. She has undertaken, presented and published research around falls prevention in older people and is keen to support AHP research in general.


Kate Harrall is a Speech and Language Therapist who graduated from University College London in 2003 with BSc (Hons) Speech Sciences, subsequently achieving her Masters in Research in Clinical Practice in 2011 from St George’s, University of London.



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