Three Imperial researchers appointed as NIHR Senior Investigators

NIHR snr investigators 2024


Imperial researchers including Professor Graham Cooke, one of 43 new NIHR Senior Investigators in 2024, with Professor Jane Davies and Professor Alun Davies among 21 reappointed this year.

NIHR Senior Investigators positions are given to those who are deemed to be the most outstanding leaders of patient and people-based research within the NIHR faculty. They provide research leadership to the NIHR faculty, promoting clinical and applied research in health and social care. They also act as a key source of advice to the Department of Health and Social Care’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

Professor Graham Cooke

Graham Cooke is Professor of Infectious Disease, Vice Dean (Research) at Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine, an Honorary Consultant at Imperial College Healthcare and Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trusts and the NIHR Imperial BRC Infection and AMR Theme Lead.

He has played a leading role in research to underpin the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat; through multidisciplinary studies including clinical trials (in the UK and Vietnam), diagnostic development and studies of disease burden.

He coordinated the recent update of the Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology Commission on accelerating the elimination of viral hepatitis and led the Expert group on viral hepatitis for the Infected Blood Inquiry which will report in May.

In response to COVID-19, he was a member of the WHO COVID-19 treatment guidelines group and was a Principal Investigator for the REACT studies which recruited over 3 million people to self-testing studies for COVID-19.

Reacting to his appointment, he said: “I’m delighted to be rejoining the NIHR Academy at what is  a crucial time for research in the NHS if we are to have an impact on both the health and the wealth of the UK.”

Professor Jane Davies

Jane Davies is a Professor in Paediatric Respirology and Experimental Medicine at Imperial’s National Heart and Lung Institute, an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and NIHR Imperial BRC Respiratory Theme Lead.

Her work focuses on cystic fibrosis and new treatments for people living with the genetic disease, which progresses during an affected person’s life, eventually causing damage to the lungs and digestive system.

Professor Davies has led global clinical trial programmes evaluating potential treatments to target the genetic causes of cystic fibrosis. CFTR modulator therapies are now licensed and suitable for around 85-90% of people with CF, including one drug which can be prescribed to newborn babies. Trials in children have been accelerated by the standardisation of a multi-breath washout test, for which Prof Davies leads the European Core Facility. Her focus is now on genetic and mRNA-based therapies for those people who cannot benefit from these drugs due to their genetic variants, with early-phase trials currently underway.

On being reappointed as an NIHR Senior Investigator, Professor Davies said: “It’s an honour to have been re-appointed to the NIHR Academy through which I will continue to amplify the work our excellent teams are doing for cystic fibrosis. NIHR infrastructure supports much of our research, through the Imperial BRC, the Respiratory TRC, their CF National Research Strategy Group and links with the CF Trust.

“Any perception that CF ‘is done’ is really not true; we still have huge challenges, in particular in addressing the growing disparities in outcomes for the different genetic subgroups. The NIHR Senior Investigator Award helps to keep CF high profile across the UK and further afield.”

Read more about Professor Jane Davies’s work in this Imperial Stories feature

Professor Alun Davies

Alun Davies is a Professor of Vascular Surgery at Imperial’s Department of Surgery and Cancer and an Honorary Consultant Surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Regarded as a world expert in the management of in the management of arterial and venous disorders, Professor Davies is the editor-in-chief of Phlebology), and past President of the European Venous Forum and the Venous Forum at The Royal Society of Medicine. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Venous Forum, Life Fellow of The American Venous and Lymphatic Society, Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Phlebology, Vascular Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the European Society of Vascular Surgery. He is currently President of the European College of Phlebology. He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

He was the Chairman of the Varicose Vein Guideline Group for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) a member NICE abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) guideline committee. He is currently a member of the NHS England Specialised Commissioning Committee and an NIHR funding committee.

He worked extensively on many aspects of vascular disease, leading a large research group and writing over 600 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He is committed to mentoring junior colleagues. He is also the Clinical Director of Imperial Private Healthcare (Imperial NHS Trust)

Responding to his reappointment, Professor Davies said: “I am delighted to have my Senior Investigators award renewed for a second term and thank everyone who has helped me obtain this honour”.

Professor Waljit Dhillo, Dean of NIHR Academy, said: “I look forward to working with our new and returning Senior Investigators over the next 4 years. These prestigious researchers are fundamental to NIHR, supporting our strategic priorities and providing visible leadership as NIHR ambassadors.”

  • Professor Graham Cooke
    Professor Graham Cooke
    Theme lead and Professor of Infectious Diseases
  • Professor Jane Davies
    Professor Jane Davies
    Theme Lead, Respiratory & Professor of Paediatric Respirology & Experimental Medicine
  • Professor Alun Davies
    Professor Alun Davies
    Department of Surgery and Cancer