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Brighton & Sussex Medical School


Dr Naji Tabet headshot

Director, Centre of Dementia Studies
Dr Naji Tabet (MSc (Immunology), MSc (Psych), PGCert (Med Ed), MD (Lon), FRCPsych) 

Dr Naji Tabet, Reader in Old Age Psychiatry, is a course leader of the MSc Dementia Studies, and leads the clinical trial arm of CDS. Dr Tabet has been an investigator on over 20 major clinical trials and is also actively investigating non-pharmacological approaches that may have an added benefit for Alzheimer’s disease patients. He is also studying biochemical and immunological markers to shed further light on disease pathogenesis and progression. 

Professor Sube Banerjee headshot

Honorary Visiting Professor
Professor Sube Banerjee

Sube Banerjee MBE, MB BS MSc MBA MD FRCPsych is Honorary Visiting Professor and he is Executive Dean of Health: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences at Plymouth University. He trained at St Thomas’s, Guy’s and the Maudsley hospitals, and was the Professor of Mental Health and Ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, for 10 years. He was the Department of Health for England’s senior professional advisor on dementia and led the development of its National Dementia Strategy, as well as conducting the national enquiry into the use of antipsychotics in dementia for the UK government. He developed the Croydon Memory Service Model and works with industry and governments on health systems, policy and strategies to improve health for older adults with complex needs and those in long-term care with dementia.

An active researcher with more than 120 original papers published in peer-reviewed journals, Professor Banerjee focuses on measurement of quality of life in dementia, evaluation of new treatments and services, and the interface between policy, research and practice. He has been awarded national and international awards for his work in policy and research.

Dr Stephanie Daley headshot

Clinical Research Fellow
Dr Stephanie Daley

Dr Stephanie Daley is the evaluation lead for the Time for Dementia programme. Stephanie undertook her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London on the applicability of the concept and practice of recovery for older people with mental health problems, including dementia. Stephanie has over 20 years experience as an Occupational Therapist, most recently as the Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy for the Mental Health of Older Adults and Dementia CAG at the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust. Stephanie has also worked as an Organisational Consultant, and has run the Leadership and Change module for the Advanced Care of Dementia at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London since 2011. • 01273 873206

Dr Nick Farina headshot

Research Fellow (B)
Dr Nicolas Farina

Dr Nicolas Farina is a Research Fellow for the Centre for Dementia Studies. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Sussex, in which he explored the effects of physical activity on the executive decline of people with dementia. Dr Farina is particularly interested in the role of physical activity in improving the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers. He is also interested in improving people’s attitudes and knowledge about the condition. He has experience working with a community-based dementia population and writing systematic reviews on a number of topics. He is also the local project supervisor for the MODEM study ( • 01273 678995

Dr Ben Hicks headshot

Research Fellow 
Dr Ben Hicks

Ben Hicks is a Research Fellow and the Programme Co-ordinator of the DETERMIND project, based at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. His research concerns supporting quality of life and social inclusion in people with dementia through exploring the differing lived experiences of the condition and addressing the inequalities that may arise in the dementia care pathway. His PhD focused on examining and supporting social inclusion in rural-dwelling older men with dementia through a community technological initiative that was tailored towards their multiple masculinities. 

Dr Laura Hughes headshot

Research Fellow
Dr Laura Hughes

Dr Laura Hughes is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Dementia Studies. She has a PhD from Brighton and Sussex Medical School which explored the implementation of routine quality of life measurement in care homes. Laura’s research interests include measuring, improving, and maintaining quality of life and quality of care in care homes. She has an interest in working closely and collaboratively with care home staff during research to enhance pragmatic use of research findings. More broadly Laura is interested in many aspects of older adult health and social care such as care staff experiences of caring and public attitudes toward dementia and dementia care.  Laura worked in the social care sector for over eight years and has extensive research and occupational experience working with people living in care homes, their families, and care home staff. • 01273 872691

Dr Gosia Raczek headshot

Module Leader of MSc Dementia Studies
Dr Malgorzata (Gosia) Raczek 

Dr Gosia Raczek is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at BSMS and a module leader for the MSc in Dementia Studies. She is also a clinical academic consultant in Old Age Psychiatry in Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, where she works in Memory Assessment Service in North West Sussex and Dementia Research Unit in Crowborough. Gosia is an investigator in a number of clinical trials and other studies within the CDS with collaboration with UCL and KCL.  Her special interest is neuroimaging in dementia where she collaborates with   researches  the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre at BSMS. • 01403 223244 

Dr Mokhtar Isaac headshot

Consultant in Old Age and General Adult Psychiatry
Dr Moktar Isaac

Dr Mokhtar Isaac is a consultant in Old Age and General Adult psychiatry at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation trust and  Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer with BSMS. He has special interest in medical education and is involved in under and postgraduate teaching. His research interests include dementia and suicide prevention. 

Breda Flaherty headshot

Co-Lead for Primary Care Dementia Fellowship Programme
Breda Flaherty 

Breda Flaherty is Course Director for the MSc in Leadership and Commissioning, where she leads on Developing Effective Commissioners and on Clinical Leadership. Breda is a faculty member at the NHS Leadership Academy, a Leadership Associate at the King’s Fund, and Commissioning Development Associate at the National Skills Academy for Social Care (NSASC). She focuses on developing clinical, managerial and social care leaders in changing organisations to improve services. • 01273 644506 

Denise Roden headshot

Project Administrator, Time for Dementia
Denise Roden  

Denise manages the administration for the Time for Dementia programme which gives medical students the opportunity to visit a family living with dementia over a period of two years. Denise works closely with the Evaluation Lead, Dr Stephanie Daley, to ensure the smooth running of the programme. This includes pairing the students with the participant families, keeping track of when students are out on visits and keeping in touch with the participant families. • 01273 678182

Linda Bennett headshot

Centre Administrator
Linda Bennett 

Linda Bennett works at the Centre for Dementia Studies as PA to the Director, Dr Naji Tabet, Visiting Professor in Dementia, Professor Sube Banerjee and Dr Stephanie Daley.  Working closely with colleagues, she ensures the Centre for Dementia Studies runs effectively and efficiently.  Linda also works with Dr Ben Hicks on the administration of the DETERMIND project and is Project Officer for the Time for Autism Programme which will launch in 2020.  • 01273 877896 

Alice Russell headshot

Research Assistant
Alice Russell

Alice Russell is a Research Assistant for the DETERMIND project. She graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2016 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. Since then, she undertook a Graduate Psychology Internship with the Adur, Arun and Worthing (AAW) Assessment and Treatment Service (ATS) at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust (SPFT). Alice’s interest for dementia was established during her University dissertation where she interviewed Dementia Carers about how friendships affected their lives.

Research Assistant
Anomita Karim

Anomita Karim is currently a Research Assistant for the DETERMIND project. She graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2017 with an MA in Social Research Methods (Social Work and Professional Practice), where she wrote her dissertation on the experiences of transgender’s accessing social and healthcare in Bangladesh. After her MA she worked for Picker, a healthcare organisation in Oxford between 2018 – 2019 and worked closely with CQC in assessing how healthcare has been delivered widely across NHS trusts. Her line of interests include looking into how to improve the quality of care for those impacted with dementia, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds. 

Georgia Towson headshot

Research Assistant
Georgia Towson

Georgia Towson graduated from the University of Southampton in 2019 with a BA in Human Geography, before graduating in 2020 with an MSc in Public Health. During her MSc, Georgia worked alongside Wessex Academic Health Science Network as a student researcher looking into the early impact of a new eLearning resource upon staff and residents in the community care setting, as well as the challenges to implementation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Georgia has also worked as an FSA/MTA in a variety of wards including emergency care and elderly medicine. She has developed an interest in improving quality of life of those with dementia, as well as those in care home settings. She is currently working as a Research Assistant on Time for Dementia.

Jacob Reichental headshot

Research Assistant
Jacob Reichental

Jacob Reichental is a Research Assistant on the DETERMIND study. He graduated from the University of Sussex in 2015 with a BSc in psychology before completing an MA in Social Development in 2016. Since then, Jacob has worked within older age crisis teams as a Healthcare Assistant as well as supported clients with their mental health as a CBT practitioner. Through his work with older people, he has developed an interest in the influence of biopsychosocial factors which inform the experience of dementia and older age care.

Joanna Pooley headshot

Research Assistant
Joanna Pooley

Joanna Pooley graduated from the University of Sussex in 2012 with an MSc in Clinical Psychology and Mental Health. She went onto work with people with severe and enduring mental health problems in the housing sector and NHS. She joined the Alzheimer’s Society in 2015 where she provided information and support to people living with dementia. During her post, she facilitated the Carer Information and Support Programme (CrISP) enabling carers to share their experiences and to access peer support, whilst gaining up-to-date information about local and national services. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for people affected by dementia and is currently working as a Research Assistant on Time for Dementia. • 01273 873817 

Research Assistant
Rachel Nethercott

Rachel Nethercott is a Research Assistant on the DETERMIND study. She graduated from the University of Sussex in 2019 with an MSc in Experimental Psychology, where she wrote her dissertation on the importance of social groups for wellbeing. Prior to and alongside her Masters, she worked with a wide range of clinical service users. Her interests include social factors in mental health and inequalities in treatments and outcomes.

Yvonne Feeney headshot

Research Assistant
Yvonne Feeney 

Yvonne Feeney qualified as a Registered General Nurse from University College Cork in 2003. Following qualification, Yvonne worked as a staff nurse in the acute care settings before commencing her career managing care services for older people in Scotland in 2008. During this time, she gained a keen interest in dementia care, specifically in relation to improving quality of life for those living with dementia in the care home setting. This led to an interest in applied research and the role education plays in improving awareness and attitudes toward the condition. In 2016 Yvonne joined the Centre for Dementia Studies at BSMS to commence her role as research assistant on the Time for Dementia programme. Yvonne also supports clinical research studies in a nursing capacity at the Dementia Research Unit in Crowborough. She commenced her MSc in Dementia Studies at University of Brighton in 2017. • 01273 873 211

Melanie Thomas headshot

Business Manager
Melanie Thomas

Melanie Thomas is the Business Manager for the Centre for Dementia Studies, working between BSMS and SPFT supporting the setup of the programmes.  Her role includes setting up contracts and managing budgets for the Centre for Dementia Studies and the Time for Dementia and Time for Autism programmes. She also supports the Dementia Care Improvement Network and works alongside HEKSS to report dementia training data. Melanie has worked in the NHS and Clinical Research Organisations for many years and has a project management and research governance background.

Kath Sykes headshot

Implementation Lead for the Applied Research Collaboration
Kath Sykes

Kath Sykes is the Living well with Dementia (and healthy aging) Implementation Lead for the Applied Research Collaboration, supporting Theme Lead Dr Naji Tabet. Kath is a nurse by background, and has worked in the NHS in London and Sussex for over 20 years, leading teams and services in Cancer/Haematology and Clinical Research. Across the system Kath has worked in Quality and Patient Safety in Commissioning including Mental Health and Dementia services, and supporting spread and adoption of innovation as Tech Navigator at the AHSN. Kath also holds a Masters in Clinical Research, focusing on mixed method research. Kath is passionate about the Health and Social care system, quality improvement, supporting the development and spread of effective, proven, innovation that responds to recognised need by service users, improves the health and care outcomes of our populations, and supports our workforce. Kath is delighted to be part of the implementation team of the ARC, working with all stakeholders across Kent, Surrey and Sussex as well as nationally, and ensuring that user needs and their voice are integral to the research we do as an ARC and the solutions we seek to implement.

Dementia Research Unit (DRU)

Dementia Research Unit (DRU) at Sussex Partnership NHS Trust is a central element of CDS. The Unit is dedicated to research into the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and has been conducting clinical trials since 2007. An active member of DeNDRoN, the Unit aims to provide a positive experience to people taking part in research whilst investigating new possibilities for the treatment and care of those with dementia.

Making important contributions to dementia research, DRU has developed into a centre of excellence in dementia trials, with particular strengths in the successful conduct of industry sponsored studies.

Clinical Research Coordinator
Marcela Carvajal

I have worked in the Research and Development department at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust since 2015. I graduated with a degree in Psychology and 2009 and worked as an Assistant Psychologist with learning disabilities and developmental disorders. I started working with people with dementia in 2011 as a support worker in a care home and volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK as a befriender, visiting people in their homes and a support group facilitator for carers. I have worked in Research and Development in the NHS since 2012, coordinating feasibility and set-up, assisting with contract negotiations and governance approval processes and the delivery of commercial and non-commercial research studies in different organisations in London and Sussex.

Lynda Trumpess headshot

Team Administrator
Lynda Trumpess

Team Administrator at the Dementia Research Unit is Lynda, who is in charge of the general office administration and finance administration on the studies. Lynda has been at the DRU since 2016.  Lynda has worked in a variety of administrative roles for Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust and other organisations over a number of years, gaining a host of experience and skills.

Natalie Portwine headshot
Clinical Research Team Leader
Natalie Portwine
Natalie joined the Dementia Research Unit in September 2017 as a Clinical Research Coordinator and in September 2019 became the Clinical Research Team Leader. Natalie is a mental health nurse and has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years, working mostly in services for older people experiencing mental health problems and in assessment and treatment for people with dementia, on inpatient wards and in the community. Natalie has worked on projects to  improve quality of life and care in care homes, including devising and delivering training programmes and was part of a small team awarded the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Dementia Team of the year in 2015. Natalie has experience in the set up and delivery of a range of dementia research studies.
Rachel Russell headshot
Clinical Research Coordinator
Rachel Russell 
Rachel is the Clinical Research Coordinator at the Dementia Research Unit.  She is a registered general nurse, who previously worked for a community NHS trust in Leeds caring for people with a wide range of health needs including dementia support.  Having an interest in clinical research she pursued postgraduate study; firstly achieving a PGCert  in Health Research at the University of Leeds, and finally completing her master's degree (MRes) through the University of Stirling distance learning programme.  Rachel has been at the Dementia Research Unit since July 2016 and has worked on a number of studies including commercial drug trials, questionnaire type research and has worked alongside researchers at the University. She is experienced in psychometric and global ratings, pharmacy dispensing and laboratory work.
Tamsin Eperson headshot

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tamsin Eperson

Tamsin graduated from Kent University with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology before going on to qualify as a Mental Health Nurse at the University of Brighton where her interest for dementia was established, having completed her dissertation on the therapeutic use of doll therapy with those with a dementia diagnosis. Following this she has worked extensively with individuals who have been diagnosed with dementia and their carers, including within multi-disciplinary community teams and on dementia inpatient wards. She joined the Dementia research unit in July 2019 and her current position as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Research nurse involves coordinating and completing various roles in commercial and non-commercial research trials. 

Sinead Clarke-O'Neil headshot

Clinical Research Coordinator
Sinead Clarke-O'Neil

Sinead joined the Dementia Research Unit in June 2019. She is a registered nurse with an MSc in Health studies and over 20 years research experience. She previously worked as a Research Fellow at UCL where her research interests included continence and skin health with a focus on elderly nursing home residents. Sinead is a new to Clinical Dementia Research and is enjoying her role as one of the Study Coordinators for the varied and interesting range of studies conducted at the unit.

Research Assistant
Elise Armsby 

Elise Armsby works as a research assistant within the Dementia Research Unit. She graduated from the University of Essex in 2015 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. She has since worked in several hospitals as a healthcare assistant on most psychiatric wards including a dementia specific ward, before working in research.  She wears a few different hats across the various studies running at the DRU: assisting with the physical observations and laboratory tasks in the clinical drug trials on the unit, managing referrals and carrying out assessments where appropriate. She is often so humbled by the kindness and positivity of the people interested in taking part in our research which makes the job a real pleasure.