After graduating as a physiotherapist, Kate worked in the NHS for 10 years, specialising in musculoskeletal outpatients, cardiac rehabilitation and weight management. In 2009, she took up an opportunity to work with Professor Mike Trenell in the MoveLab at Newcastle University, looking at how to the build the evidence base for movement (physical activity and exercise) as a clinical therapy; Kate focused particularly on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Working in a research role inspired Kate to study for her PhD at Newcastle University (on the topic of “Physical activity and exercise in NAFLD”) before successfully applying for her current NIHR-funded Clinical Lectureship, which allows her to combine clinical research and research leadership with continued clinical practice and professional development.
As a recipient of an NIHR DSE award, Kate will be supported to develop the more specific and technical skills required for her to continue to pursue a clinical academic career.
Kate’s current NIHR/BRC-funded research includes a feasibility study investigating whether a very low calorie diet is an acceptable therapy to achieve a target weight loss in patients with advanced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The success of this trial in recruiting and retaining participants from backgrounds who would not normally volunteer to take part in research studies and the positive impact of the lifestyle intervention on patients’ health means that it is now ready for testing with a much larger group of patients. She has also developed a novel, evidence based, digital programme to support patients with NAFLD to make and sustain lifestyle changes.
Kate plans to use her DSE Award to gain more experience of large-scale clinical trials, working with the NIHR Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) at Newcastle to boost her knowledge, skills and understanding of the techniques and processes involved when working with large complex multi-centre studies. Alongside her work with Newcastle CTU, she will spend time working with the NIHR Innovation Observatory (NIHRIO) horizon scanning to define the 10-year development pipeline for NAFLD/non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (medicines and lifestyle). This work will highlight where the gaps are for future interventions.