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Brighton & Sussex Medical School


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Centre Administrator
Linda Bennett 

Linda Bennett is a Personal Assistant and Project Officer for Centre of Dementia Studies at BSMS.  • 01273 877896 

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PhD student
Bria Browne 

Bria Browne is a registered nurse with a background in dementia care. She is now completing a PhD at the Centre for Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. After completing her Adult Nursing undergraduate degree at Kingston University, Bria undertook a master’s degree in Population Health at University College London. In relation to Bria’s clinical experience, she focused her master’s research project on how end of life is defined in people living with dementia, which was subsequently published in the Palliative Medicine Journal in 2021.Bria’s research interests include improvements in quality of life and palliative care in dementia. She is currently investigating the determinants of multiple acute hospital admissions for older people with dementia. Bria will be identifying patterns of characteristics within electronic hospital records of older people with dementia, that may contribute to recurrent hospital admissions. She will then gain the perspectives, attitudes and experiences from family carers and hospital staff regarding hospital readmissions within older people with dementia. Bria’s PhD will aim to provide a holistic understanding of the complex problem of why older people with dementia have recurrent hospital admissions, with future suggestions to reduce this problem. Bria’s supervisors are Professor Naji Tabet and Dr Khalid Ali.

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Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Epidemiology and Dementia
Dr Dorina Cadar

Dr Dorina Cadar BSc, MSc, PgCert, PhD is the director of the Cognitive Epidemiology, Dementia and Ageing Research (CEDAR) lab. She is the Principal Investigator of the Alzheimer Society grant ‘Cognitive reserve and dementia’, ESRC funded project ‘Social determinants of dementia in the UK and Japan’, and a Co-Investigator of international grants funded by Canadian Institute of Ageing Research and Japanese Institute of Health. Dorina undertook her MRC funded PhD on the role of lifestyle behaviours on cognitive ageing at the Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London and her MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London where she has investigated the applicability of novel neuroimaging techniques in measuring brain atrophy in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia.

Dr Dorina Cadar is an active researcher with more than 100 original papers published in peer-reviewed journals including JAMA Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry and Journal of Alzheimer Disease. She focuses on the interindividual variability of cognitive ageing, and in particular why some individuals are at higher risk of developing dementia compared to others. Dorina is interested in various determinants of mental capabilities across the life-course and specifically on the modifiable risk factors associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Dorina has been awarded national and international awards for her research. 

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Reader in Older People’s Mental Health & Education
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

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Research Assistant
Yvonne Feeney 

Yvonne is the Project Manager for Time for Dementia and supports Universities in the implementation and delivery of the programme. Yvonne is based at the Centre for Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and is also currently completing a Ph.D. that aims to understand the development of empathy towards people with dementia in undergraduate healthcare students. Yvonne is a Registered Adult Nurse and has worked at the Centre for Dementia Studies as part of the research team since 2016. She completed her MSc in Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in 2019. Her research interests include improving the quality of life for people with dementia, and the role education plays in improving understanding and attitudes toward dementia. 

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PhD student
Esra Hassan 

Esra Hassan is a PhD student at Brighton and Sussex Medical School with her research on the determinants of dementia attitudes in young people. Esra graduated from the University of Roehampton in 2017 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. Having completed a research internship in cognitive neuropsychology in 2016, Esra’s undergraduate research project used neuroimaging to detect cognitive biomarkers in anxiety disorders. In 2018, she graduated with an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience where her research was in molecular cancer biology (Glioblastoma multiforme). Esra was a neuroscience taster lecturer at the University of Roehampton and has been running seminars for students on neuroscience topics over the years which led to her interest in dementia research. Esra has worked closely with young people as a school governor since 2019, delivering tailored behavioral interventions to young people.

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Molly Hebditch
Research Fellow

Dr Molly Hebditch is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Dementia Studies working on the evaluation of the Time for Dementia programme. Her PhD explored medical and nursing student’s career preferences for working with people with dementia. Molly's research interests include the improvement of quality of life and care practices for those affected by dementia, and education in dementia.

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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. 

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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 

Mokhtar Isaac

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. 

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NIHR and Wellcome International Intermediate Fellow
Akin Ojagbemi

Akin Ojagbemi MBBS, PhD, MSc is NIHR and Wellcome International Intermediate Fellow. He is an old age psychiatrist trained in dementia care at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences, King’s College London. Akin had his PhD from Stellenbosch University, Cape-Town South Africa on the neurobiology of Schizophrenia as expressed in indigenous Africans, and a postdoctoral fellowship training in Clinical Trials Design and Implementation at Northwestern University Chicago, United States of America. He is currently developing task shared psychosocial interventions on digital platforms suitable for use by non-specialist healthcare workers for the identification and treatment of older people’s depression and dementia in underserved populations.

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Project Administrator, Time for Dementia
Denise Roden  

Denise Roden 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

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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.

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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.

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

Professor Naji Tabet, Professor in Dementia and Old Age Psychiatry, is the Director of the Centre for Dementia Studies (CDS) and the Course Leader of the MSc Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Prof Tabet also leads the Dementia Theme at the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) KSS and the CDS research is closely aligned with ARC KSS Dementia Sub-themes. Prof Tabet is also the Dementia Speciality Co-Lead for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) KSS. 

A major interest for the Centre for Dementia and its research staff is the investigation of quality of life and non-pharmacological interventions in the field of dementia. Prof Tabet has also been the Principal and UK Chief Investigator on over 35 Phase II-IV therapeutic and diagnostic clinical trials in dementia. The CDS involvement in clinical randomised trials is carried out through the Dementia Research Unit at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust supported by dedicated clinical research team working with Prof Tabet. 

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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 HEESE 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.

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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.

Research Assistant
Kat Wheatley

Kat Wheatley's interest in mental health was initially inspired at the University of Nottingham, where she was first introduced to research exploring the therapeutic potential of various addictive substances. Since then, she has pursued a clinical career as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, supporting adults to manage common mental health difficulties using low-intensity CBT. A highlight of her time in this role was working with adults with long-term health conditions to support their wellbeing by increasing their physical activity. Kat hopes this experience will make her an asset to the DETERMIND team and their supporting role in the ACTIVDEM project.

Honorary and associated staff

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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 was the Department of Health for England’s senior professional advisor on dementia and led the development of its National Dementia Strategy. Professir Banerjee is actiely involved in the Time for Autism programme at BSMS. 


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.

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.

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Research Assistant
Caroline Connell 

Caroline is a research assistant for the DREAMS START trial at the Dementia Research Unit. She graduated from Roehampton university in 2012 with a BSc (Hons) in psychology, and in 2019 she  graduated with an MSc in clinical and cognitive neuroscience.

Before working in research, Caroline worked as a dementia advisor and also worked in a sleep disorders clinic. As well as recruiting for DREAMS START she has recently started to deliver the intervention to participants. Caroline has really enjoyed using this time to get to know people better and feeling as though she is helping in a small way.

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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. 

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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.
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Clinical Research Coordinator 
Katy Seedhouse

Katy is a registered adult nurse who has enjoyed a wide variety of experiences over recent years, through which she has developed a keen interest for dementia. Katy has recently joined the research team at the Dementia Research Unit and is passionate about recognising and celebrating individuality and supporting those living with dementia to live life to the full. In her new role as Clinical Research Coordinator, Katy will be involved with various tasks relating to commercial and non-commercial clinical research trials.

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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.