Steering group

Silvia Bortoli

Silvia’s role is to support the early engagement of the public and other relevant communities (including charities, patient groups, academics, clinicians and industry) with the Wellcome-funded Translational Research Exchange @ Exeter (TREE). She acts as initial point of contact for engagement with the public and relevant communities; develop and strengthen links with relevant individuals, communities and groups who have an interest in engaging with, and shaping new, research opportunities.

Prior to joining the team, Silvia worked at the University of Exeter Medical School supporting the meaningful involvement of families with disabled children in the research activities of the Peninsula Cerebra Research Unit. Before moving to Exeter in April 2017, Silvia worked for several charities, policy institutes and think tanks in England and Belgium.

Jo Bowtell

Professor Jo Bowtell completed her PhD examining the effects of nutrition and exercise on protein turnover at Dundee University in 1996. She subsequently spent 3 years lecturing and researching at Loughborough University and 12 years at London South Bank University, where she led sports science research and enterprise activity. She has been at Exeter University since September 2011, where she is now Head of Department for Sport and Health Sciences.

Her main research interest is in exercise and nutrient-induced changes in human physiology and metabolism, and the application of this knowledge to both optimise athlete performance and to support healthy ageing.

Olwen Goodall

As a retired university lecturer who has been the lay member of the Exeter University Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board for some time, Olwen discovered a fascination for both finding out more about biological science research and for communicating it to the wider public.

Trained as an educational psychologist, Olwen has a science background and is captivated by the way in which the TREE mathematicians draw on research from a wide range of disciplines (astrophysics anyone?) to help solve biomedical problems.

Willie Hamilton

Professor Willie Hamilton is a third generation doctor from Belfast. He specialises in primary care diagnostics, with particular expertise in cancer.

Willie’s research has had a major impact on improving earlier diagnosis of cancer in the UK, which saves lives. He was clinical lead on the main NICE guidance, ‘Referral for Suspected Cancer’ NG12, published in 2015; this governs approximately £1 billion of annual NHS spending. Of the 210 NICE recommendations in NG12, 100 can be traced back in part or wholly to his publications. These new guidelines have contributed to meeting the target of reducing the number of avoidable cancer deaths in the UK by 10,000. The battle is not yet won, but patients are being diagnosed earlier, cancer survival is improving, and year on year hundreds fewer cancer patients are being diagnosed with an emergency complication of their cancer.

Bea Knight

Dr Bea Knight is a Senior Research Nurse/Midwife with The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Exeter Clinical Research Facility (EXETER CRF). She has nearly 40 years clinical experience in the NHS as both Nurse and Midwife, during which time she also spent a year working as a Registered Nurse in Toronto, Canada. Bea has also been involved in developing and undertaking a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) training Programme in the Gambia, to help improve the lives of local mothers and their families.

Bea has over 25 years’ experience in health service research and is passionate about ensuring NHS research is a key part of improving the care that is given to patients and their families. Bea is committed to ensuring that patients and the public are involved in all stages, to make sure that the voices of the NHS users are a key part or the research process.

Sabina Leonelli

Professor Sabina Leonelli serves as the Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences (Egenis), where she leads the Data Studies research strand; theme lead for the "Data Governance, Algorithms and Values" strand of the Exeter Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (IDSAI); and Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute in London. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the international journal History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, together with Professor Giovanni Boniolo, and Associate Editor for the Harvard Data Science Review. She serves as External Faculty for the Konrad Lorenz Institute for the Advanced Study of Natural Complex Systems and holds an Honorary Professorship at the School of History of the University of Adelaide.

Nigel Reed

Nigel is a trusted member of our MAGPIE group (Modelling Advisory Group Public Involvement and Engagement). Before becoming involved in research as a lay person Nigel worked for most of his adult life for the Met Office. He went on to spend several years as an operational weather forecaster before finally leading the 'applied science and software development' activity for the Met Office. Following a period of illness about 8 years ago he retired early. Then, after participating in a clinical trial he became involved, as a lay person, in research and other activities at the University of Exeter. His main areas of interest are mental health, the vulnerable elderly, and increasingly how to improve the quality, relevance and impact of the research we do.

Beverley Shields

Beverley has been working as part of Andrew Hattersley's diabetes research team, in data management and statistics roles since 2001, and has been involved in research including genetics of diabetes, fetal growth, and thyroid hormones in pregnancy.

She is currently working as a statistician for the NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility supporting a variety of projects looking at urinary C-peptide as a new test for assessing endogenous insulin production in patients with diabetes. She is also involved in research looking at clinical prediction models and biomarkers for monogenic diabetes, and thyroid disease in pregnancy.  Her most recent work involves classification of diabetes subtypes and stratification of Type 2 diabetes.

Chrissie Walker

Chrissie is TREE's Project Manager.  Her background is in scientific publishing, having worked on a wide range of journals and reference works at Nature Publishing Group, the University of Oxford and the Royal Society before more recently moving into website development and project management while at the Institute of Physics.

Chrissie's role is to manage TREE by supporting the research fellows in managing their projects, managing seed corn project and secondment recruitment as well as promoting the Centre within the University and the wider community.

David Whitehouse

David is the Business Development Lead for Health Technologies based at the Living Systems Institute (LSI).

David has over 20 years’ experience in the Healthcare Sector working across multiple therapy areas and technologies. He has held commercial positions in Sales, Marketing, and Business Development with Janssen (J&J), Genzyme, Baxter Ltd. and most recently with Baxter International as Commercial Marketing Director responsible for the renal portfolio across Europe based in Zurich, Switzerland.

David is tasked with developing new collaborations with external partners, supporting impact development and advising on translational research funding, and driving income generation across the University for Health Technologies.

Katrina Wyatt

Professor Katrina Wyatt's research seeks to understand how we can create the conditions for health and wellbeing and address health inequalities in schools, communities and workplaces. Working with service users, patients, carers and communities to understand the nature of the issues which prevent good health and then supporting the creation of partnerships to develop and deliver research to address these issues. Underpinning the work is an understanding of health as an emergent property which arises from complex social systems and the creation of the conditions for health focuses on the nature of relations within the workplace, school or community.