Our team

Meet our team

The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) provides a skilled and experienced team who are committed to delivering expert support and efficient trial management.

Our staff are specialists, whether within data management, statistics or clinical operations.

Our CTU leadership comes from Dr Lise Estcourt, CTU Director and Rachel Johnson, Assistant Director Statistics and Clinical Studies. 

For enquires please contact us.

Our Leadership Team

Lise Estcourt


Lise became our Director in January 2018. Lise is a consultant haematologist with NHS Blood and Transplant and a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Transfusion Medicine at the University of Oxford. She graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in medicine. She did her haematology training in London before moving to Oxford in 2010 to become a Clinical Research Fellow in Transfusion Medicine with NHSBT. During her time as a research fellow she was awarded a prize for her research from Oxford University, as well as being awarded a DPhil from Oxford University in research on risk factors for bleeding in people with haematological malignancies. She also holds an MA in Medical Ethics and Law from Keele University and an MSc in Clinical Trials from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has already worked with the CTU as a CI or co-investigator on several studies and trials (TREATT, InCiTe, ATHENA, and TOPPS). She performs Cochrane and non-Cochrane systematic reviews in transfusion medicine in association with the Systematic Reviews Initiative in Oxford.

Rachel Johnson

Assistant Director - Statistics and Clinical Research

After gaining a Masters degree in Medical Statistics at the University of Southampton, Rachel joined NHS Blood and Transplant (or UK Transplant as it was then) as a statistician in 1992. Since then she has worked with clinicians, scientists and others to analyse the UK Transplant Registry database to provide an evidence base for clinical practice and organ allocation. In 2017 she was appointed Assistant Director for Statistics and Clinical Studies in NHSBT, leading the statistics team and the NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit. In 2021, the R&D Office and Systematic Review Initiative joined the team and Rachel became the Assistant Director for Statistics and Clinical Research. She is a member of the NHSBT Clinical Services Management Team and supports the Board level NHSBT R&D Committee. Rachel is also a member of the steering group for the UK Organ Donation and Transplantation Research Network and is an elected member of the British Transplantation Society’s Clinical Trials and Research Committee.

Our Statistics Team

Our statisticians provide a full statistical service throughout the life cycle of the clinical trial. From the outset, we can advise on trial design and sample size requirements, and contribute to the production of trial protocols and funding applications. Our statistics team, based in Bristol, will also work with you to develop plans for interim analyses and develop the analysis plan for the final dataset using the latest techniques to make best use of the data. After the data has been locked and the analysis performed, we can assist with final trial reports and papers for publication

Helen Thomas

Head of Clinical Trial Statistics

Helen has an MSc in Medical Statistics from University of Leicester and has worked at NHSBT since 2004. Helen is head of clinical trial statistics and co-ordinates all aspects of statistical support for CTU. Helen is the lead statistician for several trials within CTU and the trial statistician for CRYOSTAT-2. She also works on the design of forthcoming trials. Helen also has experience serving as the independent statistician on a Data Monitoring Committee.

Tel: 01179 757485

Email: helen.thomas@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Cara Hudson

Principal Statistician

Cara is a Mathematics graduate from University of Bristol and joined the Statistics and Clinical Studies team in August 2007. She subsequently gained and MSc in Statistics and Management Science from University of West England. Cara is a Principal Statistician providing statistical support for the design and analysis of clinical trials. Cara was the trial statistician for PLANET-2 and is the trial statistician for TREATT and the PANDA programme. She is the lead statistician for several trials and is also involved in several funding applications.

Tel: 01179 757432

Email: cara.hudson@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Laura Smith

Senior Statistician

Laura undertook a placement year at NHSBT during her undergraduate degree and subsequently gained an MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine from University of Southampton. She returned to NHSBT in 2011, initially undertaking analyses of kidney transplant data from the UK Transplant Registry. Now as a Senior Statistician, she provides statistical expertise in the design and analysis of clinical trials. Laura is the trial statistician for several transplant trials, and is the independent statistician for TREATT.

Tel: 01179 757431

Email: Laura.Smith2@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Daphne Kounali

Senior Statistician

Daphne joined NHSBT CTU in March 2021. Before that she spent approximately 15 years working in biostatistics, epidemiology and evidence synthesis at the University of Bristol, Bath and Manchester. She is a chartered Statistician (RSS), trained in Mathematics (BSc) and Computational Statistics (MSc). The MRC supported her PhD at the Environment Epidemiology Unit in Southampton which was followed by an ESRC post-doctoral award at the Centre for Multilevel Modelling. Daphne is currently working on the DRIVE and PLUS trials.

Email: daphne.kounali@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Mark Jones

Senior Statistician

Having spent eight years in NHS finance, Mark became a mature student at the University of Lancashire and graduated with a degree in Statistics and Business Information Systems. He then went on to join the Statistics and Clinical Studies team in September 2000 and subsequently gained an MSc in Statistics and Management Science from the University of West England. Mark is a senior statistician previously working with ocular tissue, and is currently providing support for the ADVENT clinical trial.

Tel: 0117 975 7555

Email: mark.jones@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Joseph Parsons


Joe is a Mathematics graduate from University of Bath, and during his degree he undertook a placement year working as a Biostatistician at Amgen. Joe started work at NHSBT in 2018. He provides statistical input in the clinical trials team to support the TREATT clinical trial and the PROGRES study.

Tel: 0117 975 7471

Email: Joseph.parsons@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Rebecca Hendry


Becky first joined NHSBT in September 2018 working as a National Transplant Liaison Co-ordinator in ODT Hub Operations, then joined the Statistics and Clinical Studies department in July 2019. Becky is a BSc Economics graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University and undertook a placement year at the Office for National Statistics. She is providing statistical support for the PITHIA clinical trial and kidney transplant data.

Tel: 0117 975 7463

Email: rebecca.hendry@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Alice Newton


Alice graduated from the University of Exeter with an MMath in Mathematics with International Study. She then went on to join the Statistics and Clinical Studies team at NHSBT in November 2019. She currently provides support for the CRYOSTAT-2 clinical trial.

Email: alice.newton@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Jenni Banks


Jenni joined NHSBT in August 2020 after graduating from Cardiff University where she studied Mathematics with Statistics Operational Research. During her degree she undertook a placement year as a Biostatistician at Amgen. Jenni is a support statistician for the SIGNET and RePAST clinical trials.

Email: jenni.banks@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Rosie Brown


Rosie joined NHSBT CTU in September 2021 following the completion of her PhD in Cardiovascular Science and a short post-doctoral position at the University of Glasgow. Before that, she obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Bath, where she undertook a placement year at Roche, and an MSc in Statistics with Applications in Medicine from University of Southampton. She is currently providing statistical support to the PLUTO, PANDA and DeFat trials.

Shaminie Shanmugaranjan


Shaminie graduated from the University of Bath with a BSc in Mathematics. She started working for NHSBT as an Insight Analyst within Donor Experience in July 2019 and joined the Statistics and Clinical Research team in September 2020. She has provided support for REMAP-CAP, RECOVERY and SONAR-12m clinical trials.

Our Data Management Team

Our Data Management team provides overall data management support; from data capture form and database design, to data entry, query production and resolution, and final data cleaning. An industry standard clinical trial database management software system – MACROTM - is used for the design, management and capture of clinical trial data for all our randomised clinical trials, and supports data entry via a web browser. 

Renate Hodge

Senior Clinical Data Manager

Renate has a BSc (Hons) in Biology from Portsmouth. She began her career in the haematology lab of the local hospital where she went on to complete an MSc in Biomedical Science specialising in haematology. Renate moved into clinical research and gained over 12 years experience working in the pharmaceutical industry before joining CTU in 2010 when she worked on several trials in the portfolio.

Tel: 07471 147968

Email: renate.hodge@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Rupa Sharma

Clinical Data Manager I

Rupa joined NHSBT CTU data management team in April 2017. She is the lead data manager for the CRYOSTAT-2 trial and ITOPS trial and is involved in all aspects of processing the trial data. Rupa's role encompasses database build, CRF design, handling data queries, and she provides training and support to sites. Rupa also supports several other trials in the CTU portfolio.

Email: Rupa.Sharma@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Nikki Dallas

Data Management Support Officer

Nikki has recently joined the clinical data services team as a Data Management Support Officer. She has 12 years experience in a pharmaceutical laboratory setting, liaising with clients and generating and assessing data packages. Nikki also has experience in dealing with governing bodies such as the MHRA and adhering to Good Manufacturing Practice.

Tel: 01223 588151

Email: nikki.dallas@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Emily Arbon

Junior Clinical Data Management

Emily joined CTU in April 2018. She is involved in supporting the data management team with the various trials in the portfolio. Her duties include data entry and CRF receipt; ensuring the clinical data collected is reviewed for accuracy, which includes query management.

Tel: 01223 588151

Email: emily.arbon@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Lisha Gracias

Clinical Data Manager I

Lisha has recently joined the CTU data management team. She has completed her MSc in Biochemistry and has a Diploma in clinical research. Lisha has overall 3+ years of clinical data management experience working on a variety of trials for a consultancy firm in India. At CTU she will be working on SONAR and Redjuvenate studies.

Tel: 01223 588060

Email: lisha.gracias@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Jo Mullings

Clinical Data Services Manager

Jo joined the NHSBT CTU as a Senior Clinical Data Manager in October 2019. Jo started her career in research at GlaxoSmithKline where she obtained a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology from the University of Hertfordshire. She later moved into clinical data management and most recently has over 6 of years experience as a senior data manager in Early Phase Oncology trials within the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit based at Addenbrooke's.

Tel: 01223 588 070

Email: joanne.mullings@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Maria Lobo-Clarke

Junior Clinical Data Manager

Maria has a BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Science and has previous experience in data management gained at Smithkline Beecham and GlaxoSmithkline. Before joining CTU, Maria worked as a science technician for the Cambridge International School. She will intially be working on the TREATT trial.

Roshni Paul

Junior Clinical Data Manager

Roshni is an engineering graduate with M.Tech in Genetics and B.Tech in Bioinformatics from India. She has 6 years' experience in Data Management working in various CRO's like ICON, PPD, CTS and pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and Novartis. She joined NHSBT in September 2020 and will initially be working on CRYOSTAT-2 and SIGNET trials.

Our Clinical Operations Team

The Clinical Operations team work with investigators to ensure that the trial is successful. A Clinical Operations Manager will be assigned to your trial at the beginning of our involvement and will remain with the trial until completion. They will oversee the work of the trial manager, manage the budget and timelines and liaise with data management and statistical staff as required.

Alison Deary

Head of Operations

Alison graduated from University College Cardiff with an honours degree in Biochemistry before training as a general nurse, and then a midwife. She has an MSc in Clinical Research with over 15 years experience, including managing international trials in various therapeutic areas. Alison joined CTU April 2010, and has been Head of Operations since January 2013. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the CTUs programme of clinical research and overseeing the operational aspects of trial and data management, including ensuring compliance with all relevant guidelines and regulations.

Tel: 07889 304290

Email: alison.deary@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Ana Mora

Clinical Operations Manager

Ana holds a PhD in neurodevelopment from University College London and a PgDip in Clinical Trials. Her previous experience was gained in stem-cell technologies for novel therapies at ReNeuron and pre-clinical research at GlaxoSmithKline. Ana co-ordinated a wide portfolio of commercial and non commercial phase I to phase III haemato-oncology clinical trials for the Cambridge Cancer Trials Centre before joining CTU in 2010. She was appointed Clinical Operations Manager September 2013 with responsibilities for project management support for a portfolio of clinical trials.

Tel: 07889 304288

Email: ana.mora@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Claire Foley

Head of Clinical Operations

Claire graduated from University of Wales with an honours degree in Psychology before embarking on a career as a trial manager in cardiovascular and respiratory disease. She managed multi-centre CTIMP and non CTIMP studies funded by NIHR, charities and commercial companies. Claire has over 15 years experience and holds a PgDip in Clinical Trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Claire joined CTU in 2014 and became a Clinical Operations Manager in 2017. Her particular interest is in cardiovascular disease, trauma, bleeding and transfusion medicine.

Tel: 07823 351738

Email: claire.foley@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Emma Laing

Clinical Operations Manager

Emma graduated from King's College London with an honours degree in Biomedical Science. She started working in clinical research at Luton and Dunstable Hospital in 2012, and was involved in cancer trial co-ordination, discussing trials with patients, obtaining informed consent and performing trial assessments. Emma joined NHSBT CTU in 2015 and is currently working on PLUTO, PITHIA and REMAP-CAP (convalescent plasma for COVID-19).

Tel: 07471 147868

Email: emma.laing@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Amy Evans

Clinical Trial Manager

Amy studied Medical Genetics at The University of Leicester and then went on to study a Masters in Assisted Reproduction Technology at Nottingham University. After University Amy started working for a clinical research organisation, both in the QA department and in toxicology as a trainee study manager. She started working for NHSBT CTU in 2018 as the Clinical Trial Co-ordinator for CRYOSTAT-2. Amy is now the Trial Manager for SIGNET.

Tel: 0776 4280175

Email: amy.evans@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Gillian Powter

Clinical Trial Manager/Senior Research Nurse

Gillian’s background is nursing with a degree in Health Care Studies and a Diploma in Critical Care. Prior to joining NHSBT her specialities had been intensive care, intravenous therapy and blood transfusion. She initially came into the CTU as a research nurse in 2008 for the TOPPS trial and since then has been involved in co-ordinating the TOPPS, GIN, ATHENA and ISOC2 trials. She is manager for the TREATT trial, but also worked on the Convalescent Plasma arm of the University of Oxford RECOVERY Trial alongside many other collaborators from NHSBT. Currently Gillian is working with CTU colleagues on RESTORE and continuing with TREATT, studying the effects of tranexamic acid on bleeding in patients with haematological malignancies, as it approaches the end of recruitment.

Tel: 07590 353091

Email: Gillian.powter@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Anna Sidders

Clinical Trial Manager

Anna’s background is in medical microbiology. She worked for Sanofi-Aventis and then Roche as a Clinical Research Associate. When the Clinical Research Networks expanded, she joined the Kent & Medway CLRN as their Industry Manager, looking after their portfolio of commercial trials. Anna moved on to work at Addenbrooke's Hospital in neurosciences research, working in paediatric epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. Anna joined CTU in November 2017, initially working on PLANET2 and is now managing SONAR.

Tel: 07392 139868

Email: anna.sidders@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Heather Smethurst

Clinical Trial Co-ordinator

Heather’s background has over 30 years’ experience in paediatric nursing at Great Ormond Street, QMC Nottingham, and Addenbrooke’s hospitals. She worked for the University of Cambridge in the Haematology Department as a research nurse on studies before moving to CTU in 2006. Since then, Heather has been worked as a research nurse and trial coordinator on a number of feasibility studies in transfusion medicine before moving to coordinate a CTIMP trial. Her interests are in promoting good presentation and communication skills and implementing different learning styles in the workplace.

Tel: 07471 147896

Email: Heather.smethurst@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Samaher Sweity

Clinical Trial Manager

Samaher is a registered nurse and has worked in adult and paediatric cardiac surgery intensive care. She completed an MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice at Nottingham University in 2005 and a PhD in Public Health Research Policy from University of Central Lancashire in 2016. Samaher has been involved in clinical research since 2007, having worked as a research nurse for several medical and surgical phase II and III oncology and haematology clinical trials in Leeds and Lancaster. Samaher joined CTU in 2017.

Tel: 07392 139747

Email: samaher.sweity@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Joanne Lucas

Clinical Trial Manager

Jo has previously worked as a trial manager in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care, and in the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia. Most recently Jo worked as research & development co-ordinator at the James Paget University Hospital. Her research interests include trauma, critical care, cardiovascular and mental health. Jo is currently managing CRYOSTAT-2 study, looking at the effect of early cryoprecipitate on mortality in patients with major haemorrhage.

Visit the CRYOSTAT-2 website

Tel: 07764 280606

Email: joanne.lucas@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Anna Welford

Clinical Trials Support Officer

Anna has recently joined the CTU team, working on the TREATT trial as a Clinical Trials Support Officer. Anna has worked for NHSBT for 3 years now in various admin roles and has nearly completed her level 3 apprenticeship in Business Administration. She is looking forward to learning more about clinical trials, gaining further qualifications and furthering her knowledge within the NHS.

Anthea Craven

Clinical Trial Manager

Anthea has a BSc in Human Biology and has managed research studies and clinical trials at the University of Oxford in cancer epidemiology, primary health care, and rare disease. Anthea joined the CTU in 2020 and is currently managing the Perfused Liver Utilisation Study (PLUS).

Val Hopkins

Clinical Trial Co-ordinator

Val has both an administrative and clinical background which began in Higher Education at Anglia Ruskin University and The School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge. She went on to train as an Assistant Practitioner in Breast Imaging, working at The West Suffolk Hospital and The Rosie, Addenbrooke's Hospital for the NHS Breast Screening Programme. Prior to joining CTU, Val worked as a Medical Laboratory Assistant at The Pathology Partnership’. Val joined the CTU Data Management Team in March 2014 working on the PlaNeT-2 trial. She is now part of the operations team working on SONAR and REPAST.

Tel: 01223 588188

Email: valerie.hopkins@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Christopher Deane

Clinical Trial Co-ordinator

Chris graduated from Cambridge in natural sciences in 1993 and studied adult nursing at Oxford Brookes. He is a registered nurse with experience in renal medicine and research nursing in coagulation including work in ITP, VTE especially cancer patients, haemophilia and gene therapy. He has a particular interest in the use of information technology in healthcare and research. He joined CTU in October 2020 working on the ADVENT-DS study.

Email: christopher.deane@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Fotini Kaloyirou

Clinical Trial Manager

Fontini has a degree in nursing from the University of Athens, a PhD in cardiology nursing from Cyprus University of Technology, and an MSc in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Fotini's previous role was Senior Cardiovascular Research Nurse in the Vascular Research / Experimental Medicine and Immunotherapeutics department at Addenbrookes Hospital. Prior to that, she was the haematology trials nurse at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre at Addenbrookes hospital.

Our Administration Team

The CTU is supported by our business manager together with a trial administrator.  They ensure that the unit is running smoothly.

Chloe Fitzpatrick-Creamer

Clinical Trial Administrator

Chloe has progressed from being an apprentice business administrator to the role of Clinical Trials Administrator. Her new role involves providing administrative support to the Trial Managers on a day-to-day basis. It entails taking trial meeting minutes, arranging venues, catering, registration and travel requirements, as well as archiving trial documentation. Chloe is largely involved with helping to manage PROGRES and is responsible for sending randomisations to sites for CRYOSTAT-2.

Tel: 01223 588175

Email: chloe.fitzpatrick-creamer@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Katie Keen

GCP Quality Project Specialist

Katie has a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Birmingham. She joined the QA team in July 2019 specifically to provide Quality Assurance support to the CTU by ensuring compliance with Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and the regulatory environment for clinical research. Katie joined NHSBT as a Senior Clinical Data Manager in 2018 and prior to that worked in safety and quality support at Cambridge University Hospitals specialising in applying the principles of root cause analysis to the investigation of serious patient incidents in areas of oncology, haematology and imaging. Katie has over 10 years' experience in clinical data management and clinical research gained in the biotechnology industry and contact research organisations, primarily in the fields of oncology and haematology.

Tel: 01223 588177

Email: katie.keen@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Francesca Clemons

Clinical Trials Administrator

Francesca joined the NHSBT Clinical Trials Unit in October 2020. She previously worked in e-Commerce and has an honours degree in Fashion Management from Nottingham Trent University. Her role involves providing administrative support to the Trial Managers on a day-to-day basis. It entails liaising with hospital research teams, taking trial meeting minutes and archiving trial documentation. She currently provides support for the PLUTO, SIGNET, SONAR and REMAP-CAP (convalescent plasma for COVID-19) trials.

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