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Trust staff appointed to national leadership positions at the NIHR Clinical Research Network

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Following a competitive process, three Trust staff were appointed to strategic leadership positions across the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides the infrastructure and support that allows the delivery of clinical research studies across the NHS. The network comprises 15 regional networks spanning the length and breadth of England and covering over 30 medical specialities.


Professor Eric Alton is the national lead for CRN Theme B. This theme encompasses respiratory, ear nose and throat, gastroenterology, hepatology and infection. In this role, Professor Alton will liaise with the speciality national leads and external stakeholders for these different clinical areas, to develop and catalyse delivery of the NIHR portfolio of research studies.


Professor Alton is also director of the Trust’s respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) and co-ordinates the UK Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Gene Therapy Consortium. He was recently featured in several national news stories covering the world’s first phase 2B CF gene therapy clinical trial, which is taking place at the Trust.


Professor Wisia Wedzicha is a speciality national lead for respiratory diseases where she has responsibility for the national portfolio of airway disease research (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma).


Professor Wedzicha is a research lead in the Trust’s respiratory BRU, an NIHR senior investigator and the current editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


Professor John Pepper OBE, consultant cardiac surgeon at the Trust, has been appointed to the role of speciality national lead for cardiovascular disease with a sub speciality interest in surgery and heart failure. Professor Pepper will provide expert advice and have national oversight of the NIHR portfolio in this area.


Professor Pepper is an area research lead in the cardiovascular BRU and earlier in the year was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to heart and lung surgery.


These appointments recognise the standing and track record these staff have in their respective academic and clinical fields. We wish all three well in these exciting new positions.


Discover more about the NIHR Clinical Research Network and how these roles help support it.

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