Our research team come from a variety of clinical and academic backgrounds, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge.

The Research Development Unit is made up of leadership, support team, delivery team and dementia team. 

You can find out a bit more about the team and the work they do by taking a look at their biographies below.


Dr. Michelle Horspool – Deputy Director: Research

Michelle is a Mental Health Nurse by background, specialising in substance misuse. She completed her PhD in 2008 and has over 10 years of experience working within NHS and academic research environments. Throughout this period she has been involved in the development and management of clinical trials and complex interventional studies across both primary care and mental health. Michelle maintains an active academic CV and is an Honorary Researcher at the University of Sheffield's Mental Health Research Unit. 

Michelle manages and is responsible for the research office and delivery teams within the Research Development Unit. She leads on performance, research capacity building, grant development and the development of strategic partnerships for research collaborations.

Email: michelle.horspool@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 07814 867370

Research support team

Wendy Swann – Research Manager

Wendy has worked in clinical research since 2002 and has previous experience across a number of specialities including older adults and paediatrics. She has up-to-date knowledge of research regulations and legislation, and has experience of the quality management aspects of clinical research. This includes ensuring standard operating procedures are maintained and followed, organising routine MHRA GCP inspections and implementing quality improvement and microsystems approaches to quality improvement.

Wendy oversees the running of the research office and is also lead for commercial clinical trials and grant application finances. She is also involved with research champions and service user involvement. Wendy holds a diploma in clinical research.

Email: wendy.swann@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 271 6605


Yiwei Harland – Senior Research Facilitator

Yiwei joined the Research Development Unit in 2006. She plays a key role in the day-to-day running of the team, as well as implementing local processes for portfolio and commercial projects. Yiwei is responsible for assessing, arranging, confirming capacity and capability, maintaining, amending and closing research projects at the Trust.    She also provides support with our quality system improvement, as well as maintaining and administering the EDGE research management software.

Email: yiwei.harland@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 22 63490


Linda Mulunda – Research Facilitator

Linda joined the team in early 2022, having previously worked at the CRN Yorkshire and Humber. Linda completed her MSc in Public Health in 2016 and undergraduate in Biochemistry in 2010. Linda is responsible for validating research project documents on behalf of primary care sites in Sheffield and maintaining and updating project documents in our electronic site file.

She supports the set-up of research activities in primary care sites and reviews the amendment documents. She also supports academic researchers (PHD students) to set up their studies within the trust. In addition, Linda validates research passports and issues potential researchers, Letters of Access/Assurance on behalf of both the trust and primary care sites.

Email: linda.mulunda@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 271 6232


Ellie Wildbore – Lived Experience Research Ambassador

Ellie uses her lived experience in mental health to aid her role as Patient Research Ambassador. Her background is in primary teaching but she has also worked in mental health organisations in support roles, as an occupational therapy assistant and in teaching and training. She currently teaches on a range of university courses across the region - including clinical psychology doctorates, mental health nursing and more. In addition to her role at SHSC she works with the Royal College of Psychiatrists designing and delivering co-production training as well as co-chairing the project team for creating the Physician Associate Competence Framework in Mental Health. She is involved in a wide variety of staff training, service development and co-production across SHSC and beyond - such as training Sheffield Teaching Hospitals staff and the police on managing people with mental health conditions. She also runs workshops and speaks at conferences about her experiences.

In the research team Ellie is concentrating on the involvement of service users in research, improving access to research opportunities for service users and promoting the importance and benefits of clinical research. This means encouraging more people to take part in research as participants and volunteers in studies and as collaborators on studies. Recent developments include the Lived Experience Research Partnership (LERP) and contributing to the Research, Innovation and Effectiveness Strategy for SHSC.

Email: ellie.wildbore@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 271 1379


Rebecca Steel - Admin Coordinator 

Rebecca joined the Research Development Unit in 2022. She contributes to the day to day smooth running of the department, as well as making sure the team is fully supported through providing a range of administrative support duties to the management and wider team members.

Before working at the trust, she completed her BA HONS in Publishing and English at Loughborough University and has a background in graphic design and communications.

Email: rebecca.steel@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 16560

Research delivery team

Alex Carey - Research Assistant

Alex has a BSc in Psychology and has worked in a variety of research and clinical roles in mental healthcare. Alex’s clinical work has spanned both community and inpatient care, across a range of ages. His main research interests are around the topics of psychosis, trauma and how people’s unique experiences of these difficulties can inform care. As a research assistant, Alex supports a wide range of studies. 

Email: alex.carey@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 271 8070


Alix Smith - Research Delivery Manager

Alix has been working in mental health research delivery since 2010 within the NHS and within academic research environments. She comes from a youth justice background and has previous experience of working in clinical roles in multi-systemic therapy, youth offending services, Youth and Crown Court and the prison service. Alix has an MSc in Forensic Psychology, an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology and holds a professional certificate in Effective Practice for Youth Justice.

Alix manages the research delivery team and oversees the running of mental health research projects across the Trust. She is responsible for assessing the pragmatic feasibility of supporting new studies within the Trust. Alix is also a Research Training Facilitator for the National Institute of Health Research and delivers courses in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Informed Consent and Principal Investigator Essentials.

Email: alix.smith@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 22 62748


Charlotte Colbeck - Research Nurse

Charlotte is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, with a background working within acute inpatient services at the Trust. Whilst working on Maple Ward, she completed an MSc in Health Related Clinical Research at the University of Sheffield.

Within her role she supports service users with a range of different mental health needs to participate in research studies which are relevant to them. Charlotte is particularly interested in research which tests out psycho-social interventions for service users with memory problems and psychosis.

Email: charlotte.colbeck@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 22 63680


Ellen Kavanagh - CBT Research Therapist

Ellen has worked in mental health since 2004 and has previous experience across several specialties including autism, dementia, intellectual disabilities, dialectical behaviour therapy and CAMHS. Ellen completed her diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in 2021, MA in Counselling Children and Young People in 2009 and BSc in Psychology in 2004. Ellen is an accredited member of the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists. Ellen is the research therapist for the Bipolar at Risk Trial (BART II) randomised control trial investigating the efficacy of a specialised CBT intervention for young people at risk of developing bi-polar.

Email: ellen.kavanagh@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 305 0845


Elissa Thompson - Research Nurse

Elissa has been a mental health nurse since 2015 and has experience in various inpatient and community settings. She recently completed a MSc in Psychological Research Methods at the University of Sheffield and now works part-time in the Recovery Service as a nurse and part-time in the research delivery team. She is particularly interested in the onset and treatment of people who have experienced complex trauma and the development of more effective evidence based frontline services in this area.

Email: elissa.thompson@shsc.nhs.uk 

Telephone: 0114 30 50688


Elizabeth Veeren - Research Assistant

Elizabeth completed an MSc in Behaviour Analysis and BA in Psychology in 2000 and it is from these experiences that her interest in research began to develop. Since 2000 Elizabeth initially worked in private practice as a Behavioural Therapist, Case Coordinator, and then Behavioural Consultant. This involved working collaboratively with families, schools, and systems to support individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions and learning disabilities, with an emphasis on ‘inclusion’; being passionate about addressing health inequalities for marginalised groups. 

Elizabeth began working in the NHS in 2020 as an Assistant Psychologist in Community CAMHS. In this role she was an Outcomes Champion and is experienced in administering standardised assessments, as well as delivering psychological interventions. She secured a Research Assistant role at Sheffield University in 2022, where she has worked with NHS trusts across South Yorkshire on a ‘Supervision Project’ to scope need and capacity of supervision for psychological therapies across the region. Elizabeth is Research Assistant on the Bipolar at-Risk Trial (BART II) randomised control trial investigating the efficacy of a specialised CBT intervention for young people at risk of developing bi-polar.

Email: elizabeth.veeren@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 305 0845


Hannah Gower – Research Nurse

Hannah is a mental health research nurse who specialises in dementia studies. She works on both pharmaceutical commercial trials and observational studies. She has a BSc in Psychology and has worked as a qualified mental health nurse since 2005. She has worked in a variety of settings including adult acute mental health care and dementia services. 

Email: hannah.gower@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 16315


Jade Cupac - Research Assistant

Jade is a psychological wellbeing practitioner by background. She started working in adult mental health services in 2014, then as an assistant psychologist working primarily with adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She joined the research team in 2021, and is particularly interested in research focusing on improving frontline care for people with Autism and other neurodiversity.

Email: jade.cupac@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 18394


Jennifer Bingham - Research Delivery Manager/Research AHP

Since qualifying as an occupational therapist in 2016 Jenny has formed a broad range of experience in both physical and mental health occupational therapy, working across several specialities including elderly medical and surgical wards, forensic inpatients and eating disorder outpatients. Prior to this, Jenny completed a BSc in Psychology and Sociology in 2018 and worked in a registered children’s home and independent specialist school for children and young people aged 7-19 years with complex learning and emotional difficulties including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attachment difficulties. Jenny is joint manager of the research delivery team.

Alongside Alix Smith, Jenny oversees the running of mental health research studies across the Trust and assess the pragmatic feasibility of supporting new studies within the Trust. Jenny also works part-time as a research allied health professional (AHP).

Email: jennifer.bingham@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 16848


Jonathon Buckley - Research Nurse

Jonathon has a Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing and has worked in dementia care since qualifying in 2012. He has worked both in inpatient care and outpatients clinics to help people living with dementia and their supporters. 

Jonathon joined the research team in 2019, initially supporting the delivery of dementia clinical trials. 

Email: jo.buckley@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 18446


Mishell Cunningham – Primary Care Research Manager

Mishell qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1988 and worked on a variety of wards at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust until 1999 when she started her first research nurse post.

Since then, Mishell has supported the set-up and delivery of commercial and academic research in both primary and secondary care. Mishell has held posts with the South Yorkshire Comprehensive Local Research Network as a senior diabetes research sister, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as lead nurse R&D and most recently research nurse at Primary Care Sheffield. 

She has acted as principal investigator on several studies and delivered Good Clinical Practice training as an NIHR GCP Facilitator.  

In her current post, Mishell supports the delivery of studies across primary care within Sheffield.


Rosie Duncan - Research Nurse

Rosie is a registered learning disability nurse. Prior to coming back to work in research, Rosie worked as a nurse for the community intensive support service and as a dementia specialist practitioner. Rosie has a BSc in psychology and over eight years experience of working in health and related research as a research assistant on many different types of research projects including prospective longitudinal studies, randomised controlled trials and qualitative research studies.

Email: rosie.duncan@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 27 63668


Dementia research team - commercial clinical trials

Amanda Bennett – Research Nurse

Qualifying as a mental health nurse in 1987, Amanda completed her first commercial pharmaceutical study in 2000. Her main areas of work have been in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia related randomised control studies of new pharmaceutical products or interventional activities.

As the dementia study co-ordinator, senior research nurse and primary rater she is responsible for the management and co-ordination of the dementia clinical research team. She also reviews new studies and completes feasibility and resource assessments and manages dementia study delivery.

Email: amanda.bennett@shsc.nhs.uk

Telephone: 0114 271 8320

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