Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Chief Investigator: Professor Alastair Hay Alastair is a GP and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Bristol Centre for Academic Primary Care with over 20 years of experience in conducting applied health research. Alastair leads a 15 strong research group that specialises in respiratory health and associated infections. As Chief Investigator he has overall responsibility for the scientific integrity, conduct, and delivery of the AFRI-c trial across the UK. Read more about Alastair’s research here.



Head of Trial management and operations at Bristol Trials Centre (CH Hub): Dr Jodi Taylor Jodi is the Head of Trial management and operations at Bristol Trials Centre (CH Hub). She supports the design and conduct of high quality pragmatic randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in primary and secondary care, as well as non-NHS settings such as schools and in public health. With 15 years of experience within a clinical trial research environment, she has a strong interest in project management and career development.


Study Manager: Dr Rachel Brierley Rachel has over 11 years of experience of managing clinical trials.  She has extensive experience in setting up and managing a range of different studies. She has been responsible for the governance, data management and communications in randomised controlled trials. Rachel has a particular interest in knowledge exchange, with the aim of ensuring that research changes practice in the real world and has a positive impact on population health.


Research Nurse: Laurel Campbell-Smith Laurel is a mental health nurse by training and has since worked predominantly within the care of older adults. She has worked clinically on a specialist dementia ward, before moving into research where she has worked as a research nurse delivering on a wide range of studies. Laurel moved back to clinical work during the pandemic, working as a charge nurse on a dementia assessment ward. Laurel has since returned to research and is enjoying being part of the AFRI-c team and working on an important and exciting study.


Research Projects Manager: Jessica Frost Jessica works at the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration (BRTC) unit, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol and is a highly experienced Trial Manager. She currently manages a range of trials, mentors other Trial Managers and has a strong background in Public Health and Psychology.



Research Projects Manager: Holly McKeon Holly is a Research Projects Manager from the Bristol Trials Centre helping in the set up of the AFRI-c study. Holly has extensive experience in trial coordination, facilitation and administration. She has a background in health research and has worked at the University of Bristol for the past 7 years.



Team Administrator: Craig Riddington has recently joined the University of Bristol having run his own business as a commercial photographer. Prior to this, he worked in database management, project management and as a regulatory manager for AstraZeneca. He also has experience in an occupational health trial setting. Craig will be providing support to the study manager and team throughout the course of the study.



Clinical Research Practitioner: Catherine Roiz de S’a works for the West of England’s Clinical Research Network, in the WE ReACH Team who support the local delivery of national research studies and will be supporting AFRI-c. Catherine worked in Community Mental Health for 5 years before moving into Research. Catherine supports both Mental Health and Public Health Research Studies and over the past 7 years has worked with a wide range of participants in a variety of research studies. 






PPI Team:

Mrs Karen Sargent Karen has first-hand experience of being a carer for a parent with dementia and currently, both parents reside in a Care Home. Karen is a well-versed PPI member, contributing as a Befriender for the Alzheimer’s Society for over 7 years. She also holds the highly prestigious ‘Celebrating Achievement Together Award’. This accolade came about through supporting the Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service as a carer. Previously, Karen spent 31 years working for a financial organisation as a Risk and Project Support Manager.



Ms Jane Sprackman Jane has extensive experience working with numerous local Care Homes and her father-in-law sadly passed away in a Care Home. She has a 20-year background in the NHS at Thornbury Health Centre and Thornbury Hospital in both administration and clinical staff supporting roles. Jane has an ongoing interest in primary care research and took on the role of administration lead for research projects being undertaken at the Practice. She is also part of the Centre for Academic Primary Care steering committee and various PPI groups at the University of Bristol.




Professor Chris Metcalfe Chris is a Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Bristol and is the senior statistician for this trial. He provides statistical expertise or supervision to a number of major research studies. He has extensive trials’ methodological expertise and is co-Director of the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration (BRTC), part of the Bristol Trials Centre (BTC), a UKCRC registered CTU.



Dr Ruth Kipping Ruth is an Associate Professor in Public Health and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health. She has expertise in public health research and service work through previous roles as a Consultant in the NHS and Local Government. She has expertise in developing and evaluating complex public health interventions for NIHR funded public health Randomised Control Trials as Chief Investigator and Trial Steering Committee Chair.



Dr Nick Turner Nick is a Research Fellow in Medical Statistics at the Bristol Population Health Science Institute at the University of Bristol. He has experience and expertise in the design, conduct and analysis of public health cluster trials and will supervise the statistical aspects of this trial. Nick has a background in a range of research areas in primary care including understanding the causal role of obesity and physical activity.



Ms Clare Clement Clare is a Senior Research Associate in Qualitative Research in Trials and Qualitative Lead for the Bristol Trials Centre at the University of Bristol. Clare has experience and expertise in the design, conduct and reporting of qualitative research to optimise trials. Clare is a social scientist with a background in Health Psychology. She uses a range of methods to understand and improve trial conduct and intervention implementation. Clare is leading the qualitative aspects of the AFRI-c study.


Dr Joanna Thorn Joanna is a Research Fellow at the Population for Health Science Institute Health Economics at the University of Bristol. She has an interest in applied health economic evaluations alongside randomised controlled trials, particularly for non-pharmacological interventions for long-term conditions. Joanna has also recently led a Delphi survey to identify the key content of a health economics analysis plan (HEAP) to create guidance for practitioners.



Dr Emily Henderson Emily is an Academic Geriatrician at the University of Bristol and runs the Ageing and Movement Research Group; a team of 11 multidisciplinary researchers working in the field of clinical trials in older people, neurodegeneration and ageing. She is Chief Investigator of a portfolio of trials with funding of  >£12 million and Principal Investigator delivering studies in ageing and Parkinson’s. She works as a Consultant Geriatrician at the Royal United Hospital in Bath with a special interest in Parkinson’s and related conditions.


Dr Tomas Welsh Tomas is a is an Academic Geriatrician and Deputy Director of the Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE). He has clinical and academic experience of working with Care Home residents and is an expert on care home medicine.



Dr Michael Jenkins Michael is a GP and the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG) Clinical Lead for Integrated Care, which includes providing clinical leadership for, and oversight of, the care of residents in BNSSG care homes.



Dr Gemma Morgan Gemma is a Consultant in Public Health, South Gloucestershire Council, and a Consultant Senior Lecturer. She will provide the Local Authority and care home policy perspectives, ensuring we understand implications for running the project and interpreting results.



Mr Dominic Mellon Dominic is the (Acting) Deputy Director of Health Protection at UK Health Security Agency. Dominic is an expert in public health with a professional focus on health protection and environmental health. He has a background in the public and civil servant sector managing a number of complex programmes of work ranging from health, wellbeing and air quality.



Dr Derren Ready is a consultant in public health infections at UK Health Security Agency. He is an expert in microbiological public health research and is involved in numerous microbiology related outreach projects. He will advise the trial in all aspects of epidemiological infectious microbes including the viral respiratory disease known as Covid-19.



Dr Claire Woodall is a microbiologist with expertise in public health infections and antimicrobial resistance mechanisms. Claire has a background in wet-lab techniques, event management, website design and is also a qualified teacher. As a Daphne Jackson Fellow and has learnt to apply microbial bioinformatics to investigate the impact of microbiomes associated with respiratory tract infection including Covid-19.