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Researchers from a wide range of disciplines have been appointed to be the next cohort of NIHR Oxford Senior Research Fellows – seven mid-career researchers identified as having the potential to become future translational research leaders.

As in previous years, the selection process was a coordinated effort by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and its partners in the NIHR Oxford Health BRC and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) for Oxford and the Thames Valley.

This is the fourth cohort of Senior Research Fellows to be appointed since the scheme was launched in 2019.

Capture SRF compositeThe successful Oxford BRC Senior Research Fellows (clockwise from top left) Dr Nicola Curry, Dr Matthias Friedrich, Dr Katy Vincent and Dr Dimitrios Koutoukidis.

The successful candidates were:

  • Dr Nicola Curry, Associate Professor of Haematology in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine and a consultant at the Oxford Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre, where she leads the clinical research team (Oxford BRC).
  • Dr Matthias Friedrich, Group leader in the Nuffield Department of Medicine’s Experimental Medicine Division, where he investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chronic inflammation and fibrosis (Oxford BRC Inflammation Theme).
  • Dr Dimitrios Koutoukidis, of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. He specialises in investigating behavioural science and weight loss – including before cancer surgery (Oxford BRC Metabolism Theme and OTV ARC).
  • Dr Katy Vincent, Associate Professor in the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, and consultant gynaecologist. She leads the Pain in Women group, which looks at the mechanisms that cause pain in women, for example relating to endometriosis and period pain (Oxford BRC Surgery Theme and Oxford Health BRC Pain Theme).
  • Dr Ludovica Griffanti, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN). Her research focuses on neuroimaging methods applied to ageing, dementia and neurodegeneration (Oxford Health BRC Dementia Theme).
  • Dr Lucy Foulkes is Prudence Trust Research Fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology. She specialises in adolescent mental health research (Oxford Health BRC Mental Health in Development Theme)
  • Dr Jiedi Lei is a Paul Foundation Clinical Research Fellow and clinical psychologist whose research is focused on autism and child and adolescent mental health (Oxford Health BRC Mental Health in Development Theme)

The Senior Fellows, who were selected by an expert panel, will receive an award of £5,000 a year for two years that may be used flexibly to facilitate their translational research programme and career development.

The fellowship offers them mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities, as well as supporting them to advance an independent research area which will enhance NIHR research in Oxford and strengthen future funding applications.

Katy Vincent said: “It is a real honour to be awarded an NIHR senior research fellowship. The combination of flexible funding and training opportunities will accelerate the development of my translational research programme. I intend to use the fellowship to work with both a senior clinical psychologist and a PPI group to develop multi-disciplinary interventions that are acceptable to women with chronic pain, which we can then evaluate in future studies.”

Matthias Friedrich said: “I am delighted to be awarded a NIHR senior research fellowship, which will mean a huge boost to my professional development. The NIHR SRF represents a unique source of flexible funding in addition to conventional research funding, enabling me to enhance key skills and infrastructure.

“I am planning to use the fellowship to train in leadership, management, trial design and to strengthen my national and international links. This training will impact many aspects of my translational research programme and will allow me to further build and improve my team of researchers and collaborators. I’m looking forward to being part of the NIHR family!”

Dimitrios Koutoukidis commented: “I am delighted to receive this fellowship. It will help me expand my translational research programme around dietary weight loss before cancer surgery. I hope this work will provide novel insights on how dietary changes can affect cancer biology. I also look forward to exploring the leadership training opportunities that the fellowship offers.

Nicola Curry said: “I am delighted to have been chosen to be a BRC Senior Research Fellow this year. The award will support my laboratory work by funding some much needed equipment as well as travel costs to other labs to learn specialist techniques. On a more personal level, I will have access to close mentorship from outstanding researchers in Oxford, helping me to develop my leadership skills as a clinical academic and guide me in my next steps as an independent researcher.”