Meet the research team
Our research team come from a variety of clinical and academic backgrounds, bringing a wealth of experience in their field of speciality. The Research Development Unit is broken down in to our leadership team, research support team, research delivery team and dementia research team. Click here for the RDU staff structure.
You can find out a bit more about the team and the work they do by taking a look at their biographies below.
Michelle Horspool – Deputy Director – Research
Michelle is a Mental Health Nurse by background, specialising in substance misuse. She completed her PhD in 2008 and has over 10 years of experience working within NHS and academic research environments. Throughout this period she has been involved in the development and management of clinical trials and complex interventional studies across both primary care and mental health.
Michelle manages and is responsible for the research office and delivery teams within the Research Development Unit. She leads on performance, research capacity building, grant development and the development of strategic partnerships for research collaborations.
Telephone: 07814 867370
Research support team
Wendy Swann – Research Manager
Wendy has a number of years of experience working on clinical research in older adults, children and more recently mental health, and has a diploma in clinical research. She is an expert on research regulations and legislation, and has vast experience of managing the quality aspects of clinical research. This includes ensuring that standard operating procedures are introduced and followed, organising routine MHRA GCP inspections and implementing a microsystems approach to quality improvement.
Wendy oversees the running of the research office and is responsible for commercial clinical trials and grant application finances. She is also involved in developing research champion, recruiting patient research ambassadors and service user involvemennt in research.
Telephone: 0114 2716605
Yiwei Harland – Research Facilitator
Yiwei joined the Research Development Unit back in 2006. She plays a key role in the day-to-day running of the team, as well as implementing local processes for portfolio, commercial and non-portfolio projects.
Yiwei is responsible for assessing, arranging, confirming capacity and capability, processing research passports, maintaining, amending and closing research projects at the Trust, as well as at NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group. She also provides support with our quality system improvement, as well as maintaining and administering the EDGE research management software.
Telephone: 0114 226 3490
Alison Stubbs – Research Administrator
Alison has worked at the Trust for more than 16 years in a variety of roles, including our specialist dementia service and in our community mental health teams, before moving into the Research Development Unit.
She is responsible for organising the team and ensuring the office runs smoothly – she is the first point of call for anyone contacting for the department. Alison is also our EDGE administrator and is responsible for ensuring the accurate monitoring of information.
Ellie Wildbore – Patient Ambassador – Medical Education and Research
Ellie works between the Medical Education and Research teams using her Lived Experience in mental health to aid her role as Patient Ambassador. She is a qualified primary teacher but has also worked and volunteered in mental health organisations in support roles, occupational therapy assistant and in teaching and training. She currently teaches on the clinical psychology course at the University of Hull, works for the Royal College of Psychiatrists as a peer reviewer for therapeutic communities and is involved with training staff both within SHSC and further afield – such as police, railway staff and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals staff. She also runs workshops and speaks at conferences about her experiences.
In the research team Ellie is concentrating on the involvement of service users in research improving access to research opportunities for service users and promoting the importance and benefits of clinical research. This means encouraging more people to take part in research as participants and volunteers in studies and as collaborators on studies. In Medical Education she is part of the team that focuses on undergraduate teaching of medical students and physician associate students.
Jane McKeown – Senior Nurse Research Lead/Lecturer
Jane joined the RDU in April 2019 when she was appointed as one of 70 nurses in England on the National Institute for Health Research Senior Nurse Research Leader Programme. This 3 year role aims to develop research capacity and capability amongst nurses within SHSC as well as working closely with the Chief Nurse to ensure that research informs the quality and safety of care for service users. Jane serves on an NHS Research Ethics Committee and she is the Chair of a Dementia Patient and Public Research Involvement Group at the University of Sheffield.
Telephone: 0114 2263950
Research delivery team
Alix Smith – Research Delivery Team Manager
Alix has been working in mental health research delivery for more than nine years within the NHS and within academic research environments. She comes from a Youth Justice background and has previous experience of working in clinical roles in Multi-Systemic Therapy, Youth offending Services, Youth and Crown Court and the Prison Service. Alix has an MSc in Forensic Psychology, an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology and holds a professional Certificate in Effective Practice for Youth Justice.
Alix manages the research delivery team and oversees the running of mental health research projects across the Trust. Alix is responsible for accessing the pragmatic feasibility of supporting new studies within SHSC Services.
Alix is also a Good Clinical Practice Training Facilitator for the National Institute of Health Research.
Telephone: 0114 226 2748
Alex Carey – Clinical Studies Officer
Alex studied psychology at university and since then has worked in a variety of research and clinical roles around mental health. He is particularly interested in the onset and treatment of psychosis, as well as how social situations can impact on it.
Currently Alex is working on a range of mental health studies that cover topics such as cultural diversity, dementia, psychosis and the interaction between physical can mental wellbeing.
Telephone: 0114 271 8070
Elissa Thompson – Research Nurse
Elissa is a mental health nurse by background with six years experience in various inpatient and community settings. She recently completed a MSc in Psychological Research Methods at the University of Sheffield and now works part time in the CMHT as a nurse and part time in the research delivery team. She is particularly interested in the onset and treatment of personality disorder and the development of more effective front line services in this area.
Currently Elissa is working on studies covering topics such as carer support, pharmaceutical treatment for Bipolar disorder and evaluation of the new UK wide Decision Units.
Dani Chadderton – Research Assistant
Dani completed her MSc in Psychology in July 2019, and has been working at SHSC since 2017. Before working in the Research Development Unit she was employed as a Peer Recovery Worker in the Community Mental Health Team where she worked with people as part of the ‘personality disorder’ pathway.
Her particular areas of interest are how we include lived experience in mental health services and research, working with people who have experienced trauma and adversity and improving the evidence base for community mental health interventions.
She is employed as part of the delivery of the TACK study, assessing the effectiveness of a technology intervention for people with chronic depression.
Telephone: 0114 271 6918
Dementia research team (commercial)
Amanda Bennett – Senior Research Nurse
Qualifying as a mental health nurse in 1987, Amanda completed her first commercial pharmaceutical study in 2000. Her main areas of work have been in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia related randomised control studies of new pharmaceutical products or interventional activities.
She works as part of the small specialised clinical trials research team based at the Sheffield Memory Service. The team provides access to a range of randomised control trials for investigative products for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. As the study co-ordinator, senior research nurse and primary rater within the service she is responsible for the management and co-ordination of the clinical research team within the department. She also looks at new studies and completes feasibility assessments, ensures there are enough resources for the team and manages the study delivery.
Telephone: 0114 271 8320
Hannah Gower – Research Nurse
Hannah is a mental health research nurse who specialises in dementia studies. She works on both pharmaceutical commercial trials and observational studies. She has a BSc in Psychology and has worked as a qualified mental health nurse since 2005. She has worked in a variety of settings including adult acute mental health care and dementia services. Her role in research involves study co-ordinating, working as a rater on commercial trials and carrying out clinical procedures.
Telephone: 0114 271 6315