Meet the Newcastle MIC Team

Director the Newcastle MIC
Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Newcastle University

Dr Joy Allen
Senior Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist
With 10 years of training in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, Joy took on a new challenge in 2014 when she joined the DEC and applied her analytical and problem solving skills to diagnostic test evaluation research.  A strong grounding in mathematical modelling and an inquisitive mind made the transition (albeit scary!) a successful one.  She has worked on the design and analysis of many of the MIC's projects to date including the clinical and economic evaluation of rapid tests for viral infections, infections which confer antibiotic resistance and inherited conditions such as familial hypercholesterolemia.  Joy has also spearheaded the academic development of the MIC by securing collaborations with leading expertise in research into the interdisciplinary methodologies involved in evaluations of diagnostic tests and medical devices and continues to advocate methodological development throughout all the MIC's projects.  While Joy is fascinated by many areas of test evaluation research, a key personal interest of Joy's is the development of novel methodologies to aid the evaluation of new diagnostic tests and devices when the current reference standard is non-existent or imperfect.

Dr. Jana Suklan
Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist 
Jana has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Statistics and a BSc in social research along with 13 years of industry experience coupled with 6 years of teaching and research in Academia.  Since 2008, she has worked on a freelance basis, assisting companies and research teams with their research as well as advanced analytics, gaining key experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, as well as contributing to project management activities and coordinating multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines. Over the past six years, she worked in higher education organisations as a researcher and assistant professor, being responsible for all research activities within the Faculty, including the preparation and submission of project applications, project management of successful submissions from inception to completion. In addition she regularly lectured on modules, supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students, covering topics such as Methods of Quantitative Research, Descriptive and Interferential Statistics as well as Multivariate Analysis.  Jana joined the Newcastle MIC in the autumn of 2018 as a clinical test evaluation methodologist focused on mixed methods analysis and reporting. 

Amanda Winter
Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist
Amanda joined the MIC in 2019 after enjoying a successful 10 year career as a Biomedical Scientist working in NHS clinical pathology laboratories. Although originally trained in microbiology at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, her later laboratory career has focused on haematology, blood transfusion and stem cell transplantation. She has experience of working within a highly regulated environment, having worked in UKAS (ISO15189), HTA and MHRA assessed facilities. She has worked on a wide variety of projects within this time including validation of new laboratory methods, audit of clinical and laboratory processes and the implementation of new IT infrastructure. Amanda has an MSc in Biomedical Science, gained from Nottingham Trent University in 2019 with a heavy focus in her studies on genetic and molecular technologies. She has a strong background in all things laboratory and wants to apply this knowledge to the future development of diagnostics.

Dr. Clare Lendrem
Statistical Methodologist
Clare has recently joined the MIC; she has a broad background in handling and analysing data, and over 30 years of experience of programming in languages such as SAS, visual basic, and R.
As pre-clinical statistical manager at Sanofi, she worked with lab scientists (in analytical sciences, in-vitro toxicology, toxicokinetics) on assay development and transfer to production sites, acquiring an understanding of in-vitro work, and particularly statistical analysis of lab data.  She was also a member of several project teams, responsible for managing the development of drugs through preclinical stages to regulatory submission, working with a diverse range of specialists in multidisciplinary teams. She oversaw the development of a data analysis system at Sanofi, which focussed on improving workflow, quality of data and graphical visualization of results; and is constantly aiming to improve the quality and reproducibility of data handling and statistical skills of both herself and the teams she works with. She has a methodological interest in developing biomarkers to ensure they are fit for purpose within healthcare settings.
Clare is familiar with the regulatory requirements for the development of in-vitro diagnostic tests, and has extensive experience of the development/submission process in general from her work in pharmaceuticals.
More recently, working as a data manager and statistician at the university, Clare has provided statistical support for undergraduates, PhD students and researchers; become familiar with NHS data, including setting up an MS-Access based database for the bone-marrow transplant team; and contributed to various ethics submissions and grant applications for research projects.            

Dr. Andrew Sims
Deputy Director the Newcastle MIC
Head of Department of Northern Medical Physics & Clinical Engineering, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dr. Sara Graziadio 
Senior Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist
Sara joined the NIHR Newcastle DEC in August 2015 after being a Research Associate at Institute of Neuroscience in Newcastle University since 2009. She is a scientist with ten years’ training in statistics and has a strong academic background in the analysis and interpretation of large and complex datasets. In addition to her PhD in Neuroscience obtained in 2009, she has been awarded an MPhil in Statistics in 2017 for her innovative work in expert opinion elicitation and care pathway analysis within a Bayesian framework. She developed statistical and economic models in a number of clinical areas including diagnosis and monitoring of COPD, sepsis and stroke. Her interest has been focused in care pathway analysis and how it can inform subsequent clinical and economical study designs. She loves to design studies and plan new projects having extensive experience of project planning, management and coordination.

Dr. William Jones
Clinical Test Evaluation Methodologist  
Will is a philosopher (BSc) and neuroscientist (MSc, PhD) with 8 years of experience in theoretical and empirical research. William joined the NIHR DEC in the Autumn of 2017 and has since being involved in a mixture of academic and hands-on training. In the former, this has involved courses in diagnostic evaluation run by Cochrane group. In the latter, this has involved shadowing and assisting the MIC team in their ongoing research projects.  William has worked on a broad range of research topics and consequently has developed a uniquely disparate range of skills. He is competent in statistical analysis (published) and programming, but is also well read in many philosophical areas such as ethics, logic, the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language. For his PhD, William performed electroencephalography research in patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, therefore, he has a working knowledge of the regulatory issues involved in the clinical environment and an awareness of the NHS structures and policies involved in the performance of ethically approved and empirically-valid clinical research.

Anna Halstead
Project Manager

As a Research Project Manager in Newcastle University Faculty of Medical Sciences,  Anna is currently the Project Manager in the Newcastle MIC. This is a very varied role, which involves managing the team's resources, finances, planning and reporting as well as liaison with industry and stakeholders.  After completing her BA in languages (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies) she began a role providing IT support to Spanish customers. This eventually led her to project management, predominantly in IT. Since then she has worked for several years in the private and public sectors, gaining experience in a wide range of projects and settings.  She joined Newcastle University in 2018.  She is a Prince2 Practitioner and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). 

Dr. Rachel Dickinson
Research and Development Study 
Over her 15 year academic career Rachel applied her genetics knowledge to advance different fields of medical research including haematology, breast and ovarian cancer and female infertility. As well as research she gained experience in a variety of activities including project management, administration, public engagement and teaching.  In March 2018 she joined the Newcastle MIC as a Research Project Administrator and in November was appointed as a Research and Development Study Manager, supporting governance of Newcastle MIC projects.  She is also the communications lead for the Newcastle MIC and provides administrative support.