Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 14.07.22A leading academic and practicing GP will speak about the potentially life-changing collaborative health research being carried out across the region, at a FREE lecture hosted by a North East university.

Scott Wilkes, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at the University of Sunderland, is kicking-off the 2015 Professorial Lecture Series at 6pm on Thursday (4 June), at Murray Library Lecture Theatre, City Campus, Chester Road.

Open to all the talk will cover Professor Wilkes’ own research, looking at areas such as fertility management, Thyroid disease and HPV screening. He will also explain his roles in the region’s clinical research network, and research funding committee.

He said: “My focus is on embedding new technologies in clinical consultations which are quite broad, so some of the projects I’ll be touching on will be, for example, self-sampling for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is going to contribute to changing the face of cervical screening in the UK – moving away from the old smear test.

“Like all research it is a small brick in the wall of the whole story, and some of the thyroid research is a little upstream, because it is not until you have proven there is a problem that you can begin to target and personalise medication.

“It is always very difficult to measure the time to patient benefit and traditionally in research it is quite long, but I am particularly keen to take things into the patient benefit domain that little bit quicker.”

The lecture will also cover his role as the leader of the Primary Care Specialty Group of the Clinical Research Network in the North East, which connects GPs and their patients with clinical trials, amounting to around 5,000 people every year.

He added: “Prior to 2008 we had a fledgling network with modest funding in the North East. In 2008 I linked up with Professor Goodship at Newcastle University, at the time of the birth of the Comprehensive Local Research Network and literally drove around, offering GP practices studies and resources.

“We started off on day one visiting practice number one, and seven years down the line we have an incredibly vibrant network, with about one third of the 300 or so practices in the North East and Cumbria region recruiting patients to National Institute for Health Research Portfolio trials, over about 32 studies.

“We are now starting to build up the pharmacy network and exploring the potential for pharmacy to recruit to patient trials. Hopefully in another seven years time we will have the same level of activity within community pharmacies, in which the University of Sunderland’s School of Pharmacy will have a significant role to play.”

The final part of the Professorial Lecture aims to demystify the process around the Research for Patient Benefit Committee which reviews around £27 million worth of projects each year, and Professor Wilkes is its Chair.

He concluded: “Sunderland is a vibrant place. It’s on the up; there are so many opportunities for Sunderland now in the domain of health and the clinical consultation, particularly with the Master of Pharmacy degree being revamped.

“I’m really excited about giving the first Professorial Lecture of the year, but what I am most excited about is giving people an insight into who I am, what I do, and how I can help them.”

The University of Sunderland’s Professorial Lectures are FREE and open to all, and are aimed at academics, professionals and the general public. For more information and to register your place visit http://bit.ly/1Fd3ktz