Clinical Medicine

Clinical Medicine Research at Wolverhampton

A team of new professors in Clinical Practice and Medicine have been appointed by the University of Wolverhampton and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to drive forward medical research in the region. 

The seven Professors have expertise in a range of areas including cardiology, neonatology and haematology and will work across both the University and the Trust on joint research projects aimed at improving patient care and treatments.  They will also supervise the next generation of researchers, secure external funding for projects and work at a national and international level. They join Professor Baldev Singh, who was appointed in 2015 to lead the partnership's ground-breaking Clinical Fellowship Programme.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, said: "The new appointments will take forward the joint strategic research aims of both the University and the Trust, and be active at a national and international level. Working in areas such as cardiology, neonatology and haematology, the new professors in clinical practice and medicine will lead research projects, supervise the next generation of experts and secure external funding to support our world-leading research."

Professor James Cotton, Professor of Cardiology and Clinical Cardiologist, said: "These appointments mark a huge step forward for clinical research in the Black Country. This commitment from the University of Wolverhampton and the Royal Wolverhampton Trust will allow us to develop first class research projects targeting the considerable health challenges faced by our local population."

The Clinical Medicine Group:

Professor Supratik Basu

Professor Supratik Basu is the Haematology and Oncology Lead, Clinical Research Network West Midlands, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), with a principle area of research interest in haematology and haematological cancer, where he primarily focuses on developing cancer drug treatments for myeloma.

 

Professor Basu’s work developing cancer drug treatments has led to over 30 global and national trials, through collaborations with institutes such as University of Birmingham, Oxford University and University College London. This work has been disseminated into pivotal publications in highly respected journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature and Lancet. Several of the drug trials he has been involved with have led to drug approvals in the UK, EU and USA.

Professor Matthew Brookes

Professor Matthew Brookes is a consultant clinical gastroenterologist at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, where he is actively undertaking research into colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. This innovative research programme has led to insights into the interaction of colonic iron and the development of colon cancer.  His papers in this field have given the first insight into iron absorption within colonic cells, and he is now evaluating how the iron present within the colon interacts with the gut microbiome and mucosal immune system in this process.

 

His trials in the field of pre-operative care have evaluated novel treatment options for anaemia, which have allowed treatment pathways to be developed and have changed practice. Further projects have been developed to expand on this work to look at opportunities to treat anaemia in other settings to improve patient outcomes, including palliative care.

 

Professor Brookes is the deputy chair of the national speciality group for Gastroenterology within the NiHR CRN. In this latter role, he has supported the development of a programme to support the funding of new chief investigators across the West Midlands in a novel project which will lead to the development of a future research active NHS workforce. More recently, he leads the student volunteer research programme, supporting medical students across the West Midlands to become active researchers within their local NHS institutions.

Professor David Churchill

Professor David Churchill is a consultant obstetrician at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, where his principle area of interest is in clinical obstetric epidemiology. He is currently actively investigating the effects of iron deficiency anaemia on mother and baby, together with its treatment and prevention. In addition, he is collaborating on work investigating the mechanisms of iron absorption and inflammation in pregnancy.

 

Professor Churchill led the first survey of national practice that examined the screening, diagnosis and treatment of anaemia in pregnancy. This work found major deficiencies in clinical practice and a national report has now been released on the NHS Blood and Transplant web site and circulated to all trusts in the UK, recommending the implementation of processess to improve the management of iron deficiency anaemia. 

 

He also has an active interest in diabetes and is currently completing a national case–control study of diabetes ketoacidosis in pregnancy (DKA). DKA is rare in pregnancy but its presentation is different from outside of pregnancy and possibly requires a different approach to treatment. This is a national study and will produce information which will direct clinical practice in this area throughout the UK.

Professor James Cotton

Professor James Cotton is a consultant interventional cardiologist at the Royal Wolverhampton Trust. He has a special interest in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease (angina and heart attacks) and also the treatment of patients with aortic valve stenosis using trans-catheter techniques. He acts as the local principal investigator for a number of large national and international clinical trials in the field of clinical cardiology and is the research lead for cardiovascular research at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton. His main research areas include:

  • the treatment of patients with ischaemic heart disease, using anti-platelet drugs
  • novel techniques aimed at measuring the severity of angina and heart attacks

Professor Cotton’s research has added to the international knowledge base surrounding the drug treatment of patients with angina and heart attacks, and his current research aims to further understand the mechanisms underlying the development of aortic dilation. He is also currently co-leading a collaborative project part funded by the NIHR, exploring distance medicine for patients with aortic stenosis using a smartphone app interface – a technology that could markedly improve access to healthcare at a time of huge healthcare reorganisation.

Professor Rousseau Gama

Professor Rousseau Gama is a consultant chemical pathologist serving the Black Country Pathology Services, supporting The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. His major research interest is in laboratory healthcare delivery to improve patient safety, care and outcomes, and he works in an award winning clinical laboratory and treats patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders.

 

Professor Gama’s work has led to the introduction of a ‘chest pain pathway’ at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, which allows patients reporting to the Emergency Department with chest pains to be immediately tested using a hsTnl test, to reliably measure their levels of Troponin proteins. These proteins increase when heart muscle is damaged during a heart attack, so recording a low level allows a heart attack to be ruled out early. Due to this early stage testing, admissions to the hospital for patients reporting with chest pains have reduced from above 60% to below 40% - saving money, staff time and reducing stress on patients.

Professor Tilly Pillay

 

 

 

Professor Tilly Pillay is a consultant neonatologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Her clinical interests are in:

  • neonatal health service delivery,
  • neonatal quality improvement,
  • reducing risks for neonatal mortality,
  • parent empowerment,
  • consultant LNU-NICU networking,
  • infection and immunity.

Professor Pillay is the chief investigator on a £1M National Institute of Health research grant, OptiPrem, which provides insights into the best future locations in England for the birth and care of preterm babies between 27-31 weeks gestation. This project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, University of Leicester, Imperial College, Neonatal Data Analysis Unit, the National Neonatal Research Database, BLISS (the national charity for babies born sick and preterm), and MBRRACE. It is hoped that recommendations from the study will contribute to shaping delivery of neonatal services for preterm births in the future in England, where currently these babies are cared for in one of two types of neonatal units (Neonatal Intensive Care Units [NICU] and Local Neonatal Units [LNU]), which have different resources and capabilities to treat illness in new-born babies. Details of the project can be found at https://www.royalwolverhampton.nhs.uk/research-and-development/opti-prem-improving-neonatal-service-delivery/.

 

She is also Director of The STORK Collaborative, a multi-Trust regional parent empowerment training programme aimed at reducing the risks for infant mortality in the West Midlands.  Her work on this programme can be seen here.

Professor Helen Steed

 

 

Professor Helen Steed is a consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust with specialist and clinical research interests in:

  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • nutrition
  • medical education

Professor Steed’s research investigates the effect of pregnancy in IBD on gut microbiota and biomarkers and bile acid malabsorption. Furthermore, her innovative nutrition projects focus on reducing the impact of complications around usage of enteral feeding tubes.

 

Her work has contributed greatly to the Living in Silence project, a collaborative multi-disciplinary project with colleagues at the School of Art at the University of Wolverhampton. This project uses an innovative, art focussed, approach to increase the awareness of IBD amongst the South Asian community, where such conditions are little known and understood, enabling the wider community to support sufferers. See a short documentary on the project here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJrCHdoml4c.

 

Professor Steed has an ongoing, active collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians, and her passion for medical education has led to her working on both enablers and barriers to research engagement amongst new consultants, and the development of a wellbeing training programme, Thriving in Medicine, for junior doctors with Health Education West Midlands. She also has a productive ongoing research collaboration with Crohn’s & Colitis UK.