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Our Staff

Our dedicated staff are key to the success of the network.

Professor Peter Connelly - Clinical Research Champion – Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Peter graduated MBCh.B from Glasgow University. His initial medical posts were in Geriatric Medicine. From there he completed vocational training from general practice of which Psychiatry was his last placement. His general practice year was in Kirkcudbright, well known for the high proportion of older people in the population.

He has been an Old Age Psychiatry consultant at Murray Royal Hospital, Perth from 1987 to 2017.  He has always had an interest in research particularly in answering questions relevant to people who have dementia, for instance trying to predict response to treatment or improve treatment outcomes.

He led a successful bid, with his colleagues, to establish the Network in August 2008.

He hopes to be able to bring the best evidence-based practice and research findings into Scotland to stimulate improvements in the services delivered to people with dementia and their carers, which is the real goal of any clinical research network.

In October 2014 Peter was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

Dr Emma Law – Network Manager

Emma Law has been the Network manager since June 2009. She is responsible for recruiting, training and developing network staff as well as developing links with other networks in Scotland. She also oversees the financial governance of the network.

Prior to taking up the post in June 2009 she was a nurse in a dementia assessment ward and day hospital, the Practice Development Manager for Psychiatry of Old Age in Perth and Kinross and managed the older people's mental health teams.

She has filled various roles in research projects including study coordinator and co-authoring peer-reviewed publications.

Philip Brown – Network Administrator

Phil is a Geography graduate who has worked as a Grants Officer for the Medical Research Council and a Grant Systems Officer for the Wellcome Trust. He started working for the Network in October 2010 and is based at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Phil is responsible for the updating the network's website, the network's Facebook page and the network's Twitter account @NRS_NDN. He also organises the network's annual conference and is the network's study administrator for people wanting to participate in dementia research through Join Dementia Research.

NHS Border

Bernie McInally - Clinical Studies Officer

Bernie has been a qualified nurse since 1987. He holds a BSc in Community Mental Health Nursing and he is currently working towards a Masters in Health Research at Stirling University. His experience is predominantly in older adult mental health. He is an independent prescriber and provides 3 nurse-led clinics in the Scottish Borders.

He has worked for the Network since January 2011 and currently recruiting to AD Genetics

NHS Grampian

Dr Alasdair Lawrie - Consultant

Dr Alasdair Lawrie is a Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry currently working in North West Aberdeenshire and is Clinical Lead for the Network in the Grampian region.

Emma Darling - Senior Clinical Studies Officer

Emma qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1996 and subsequently worked in several specialities including Radiology, High Dependency and Intensive Care.

She was awarded a BSc (Hons) in Health Sciences from the University of Aberdeen in 2006. She is currently working on clinical trials in the Aberdeen area.

Alison McBain - Clinical Studies Officer

Alison qualified as an Occupational Therapist in Aberdeen in 1995. She has worked predominantly in Mental Health, including 3 years in London, and has worked at Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen since 2000.

She currently works as an Occupational Therapist in Community Mental Health for older adults as well as her role as Clinical Studies Officer for the Network.

Kirsten McClelland-Brooks - Clinical Studies Officer

Kirsten qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1994. She initially specialised in Critical Care in London and then moved into Elderly Medicine and Rehabilitation as a Nurse Practitioner in Aberdeen. She was awarded a BSc in Health Studies from The West of Scotland University in 2012.

She is currently working on the European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia Study (EPAD)

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dr Derek Brown - Consultant

Dr Derek Brown has been a consultant old age psychiatrist in the North of Glasgow for fifteen years. He has an interest in neuroimaging in dementia both for its clinical uses and for research.

Catriona McNeill - Senior Clinical Studies Officer

Catriona qualified as a nurse in 1990 and worked in the medical wards at Glasgow Royal Infirmary before moving into a clinical research role in 1996.

She has worked continuously in clinical research since then in a variety of roles from research nurse to audit. She has a strong background in the smooth running of clinical trials and is currently working on the AD Genetics Study.

NHS Lothian

Professor John Starr – Clinical Lead

John is an NHS Consultant and Honorary Professor of Health & Ageing at the University of Edinburgh. He is Co-Director of the University of Edinburgh Centre for Cognitive Ageing & Cognitive Epidemiology. He has a longstanding interest in the way physical and mental health relate to each other which he has recently extended into the population with Intellectual Disability.

He is currently an executive member of Alzheimer Scotland. Together with others he currently holds £15 million in current research funding and has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers.

He was the joint winner of Tenovus Scotland Margaret MacLellan Award, 2006 for the best research in brain ageing in Scotland.

He is currently the Chief Investigator for the Scottish Dementia Brain Tissue Bank in the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre.

Jacqui Kerr - Senior Clinical Studies Officer

Jacqui has been working in the field of healthcare since 1996 and qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 2000 from University of Paisley. She completed further studies in BSc in Nursing Studies Gerontology in 2002.
Since qualifying Jacqui has worked in Elderly Mental Health in areas such as an Admission/Assessment Unit for Organic Disorders and Community Psychiatric Nursing in Elderly Mental Health before moving into the field of Alzheimer's Disease Research in 2006.

Jacqui joined the network in July 2015 and is currently working on clinical research projects in Lothian and Ayrshire & Arran including Xanadu

Dr Mario Parra - Clinical Studies Officer

Dr Mario Parra has worked in Cuba and Colombia, before coming to Edinburgh where he took a PHD Human Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience. He has carried out research work on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia for more than 15 years.

Lewis Killin - Clinical Studies Officer

Lewis joined the network in May 2015. He studied Psychology at The University of Edinburgh completing his PhD in May 2015. He is experienced in the neuropsychological assessment of Alzheimer's Disease and healthy cognitive ageing. He is currently working on the AD Genetics Study

Maria Dewar - Clinical Studies Officer

Maria joined the network in May 2015. She is currently working on the PD COMM study.

NHS Tayside

Justine Hudson - Senior Clinical Studies Officer

Justine qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 1999 in Dundee.  She subsequently worked in areas such as Acute admission assessments, challenging behaviour unit, dementia intermediate care unit and others.  The majority of her nursing has involved working with people with dementia. She is currently working on a Parkinson's Disease drug trial PD Dyskinesia

Leigh-Ann Whyte - Clinical Studies Officer

Leigh-Ann has been a registered general nurse since 2001. She initially worked in the Acute Stroke Unit in Dundee, leading on issues such as newly qualified and student education at ward level and also becoming a charge nurse.

She has a passion for caring for patients with dementia and patients who as a result of having a stroke were left with cognitive impairment. She believes health professionals can do more for people and carers who have or live with someone with dementia and related cognitive impairment.

Tiffany Stewart - Clinical Studies Officer

Tiffany graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2008 from The University of Abertay, Dundee. She has worked in a research setting since then, working on research studies involving healthy adults and patients in the adult mental health population. Whilst working for the Department of Psychiatry at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Tiffany completed a part-time MSc by Research at The University of Edinburgh.

More recently, Tiffany has worked as a Clinical Trials Monitor in the Tayside Medical Science Centre, learning about research governance, pharmacovigilance and quality assurance.

Tiffany started with the Network in June 2015. She is currently working on the Generation 1 study.

Dr Adele Maxwell-Lindsay - Clinical Studies Officer

Adele has worked with the network since June 2015. She graduated with a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2014 from the University of Dundee and also holds an MSc (Distinction) in Psychological Research Methods and MA (Honours) in Psychology.  During her academic and working life, Adele has had various roles research including lecturing, monitoring and consultancy work. She is currently working on a portfolio of Alzheimer's Disease trials.

Margot Tsoumalis - Clinical Studies Officer

Margot has been a nurse since 1976 training in both adult and mental health nursing and also as a non-medical prescriber. The majority of her career has been as a Senior Charge Nurse in Psychiatry of Old Age at Murray Royal Hospital, Perth predominantly working with people with dementia.

Margot joined the research network in June 2015 and is working on the AD Genetics Study

Kate Ferguson - EPAD Clinical Studies Officer

Kate has been a registered Mental Health Nurse since 2015. She is doing a part-time Masters Degree in Mental Health Research at Abertay University. She worked in a dementia specialist inpatient ward for two years prior to taking up this current post with the Network. She is the primary coordinator in Tayside for the European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia (EPAD)

Bernice Wong - EPAD Clinical Studies Officer

Bernice has been a registered Mental Health Nurse since 2014. She started her career working in Forensic Mental Health setting before working in Old Age Psychiatry as a Community Mental Health Nurse. She has always had a passion in health research and has commenced her part-time study in Master in Health Research at Stirling University. She joined the network in 2018 and is working on the RADAR and AD-Genetics Studies in Forth Valley and European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia (EPAD) study in Tayside.

Taylor Chalmers - Clinical Research Support Officer

Taylor started her career as a healthcare assistant in a care home. Her passion for caring for others led her to work for the NHS gaining experience in medicine for the elderly, orthopaedics and short stay medicine. She went on to expand her skills when she took an opportunity to work in administration for the Clinical Research Centre in Dundee, building her knowledge in research as well as administration. Taylor joined the NDN team in October 2017.