Clinical Team

Grace BlissittResearch Assistant

Grace joined the ADVANCE team as a research assistant in November 2021, following graduating with an MSc in Neuroscience and Psychology from University of Aberdeen in July 2021.

During her studies, Grace did an industrial placement year at Manchester Metropolitan University where she investigated musculoskeletal health and gait discrepancies in individuals with unilateral transtibial amputations and the effect of ageing on muscle function and structure. She has a keen interest in neurodegeneration and rehabilitation. Grace’s honours dissertation investigated to what extent and by what mechanisms CNS regeneration has been achieved and evaluated the current capabilities of neuromodulatory technologies as an alternative treatment for different CNS pathologies.

Whilst at university, Grace joined the East of Scotland University Air Squadron, which furthered her interest in military rehabilitation.

Grace’s main role as part of the ADVANCE team is to carry out assessments for the ADVANCE TBI (traumatic brain injury) study.

Nicola Goodman – Clinical Project Assistant

Nicola joined the ADVANCE team as a clinical project assistant in April 2022. Her role involves carrying out a range of physiological tests on the ADVANCE participants, including lung function, cardiovascular, exercise and audiology tests, as well as blood tests.

Before joining ADVANCE Nicola worked as a clinical physiologist in respiratory research in the NHS for over 20 years.

Meliha Kaya-Barge – Healthcare Assistant

Meliha qualified as a nurse in 2006 from Birmingham City University and currently works as a healthcare assistant in the ADVANCE Study. Originally from Turkey, she has been in the UK since 1999 and is married to a serving soldier in the nursing corps. Together they travel around Europe for her husband’s work.

Jocelyn Keshet-Price – Senior Clinical Research Nurse

Joc (‘Joss’) joined the ADVANCE team in September 2022. She trained as a nurse at the Middlesex Hospital in London and has worked in a wide range of specialities, including leading on a variety clinical research trials, looking for cures or better treatments in stroke, emergency medicine, neurology, orthopaedics, dermatology, intensive care and COVID-19. She helped lead a successful COVID-19 vaccination trial during the pandemic and has published papers on study recruitment to complex pain research, the use of Prozac in stroke treatment and COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

Joc has a number of family and friends who are in the Services and lives near to and is a supporter of RAF Marham, and she is delighted to be able to use her extensive research knowledge as part of the ADVANCE Study to contribute to the care of military personnel.

Lydia Orton – Research Assistant

Lydia joined the ADVANCE team as a research assistant in July 2023. Her main role is to carry out neuropsychological assessments for the ADVANCE Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) study.

Lydia studied BSc Psychology at the University of Kent and then MSc Applied Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol. Before joining ADVANCE she worked at the Department of Neuropsychology within University Hospital Southampton. During this time Lydia gained experience across the Wessex Neurological Centre working with and assessing a variety of different patient groups.

Bharti Patel – Research Radiographer

Bharti joined the ADVANCE Study as a research radiographer in March 2023. She brings with her a wealth of experience, after working in radiography for several decades.

Bharti obtained her Diploma of the College of Radiographers at the School of Radiography, Luton and Dunstable Hospital, in 1981. After this, she worked in the NHS at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, The Middlesex Hospital and Leicester Royal Infirmary as a radiographer and senior radiographer for several years. Bharti then joined social services for a short time before joining the Careers Service as an ethnic minority coordinator. After this, she returned to work for the NHS and re-trained as a radiographer to work as a senior radiographer based mainly at Loughborough Hospital for 20 years.

Samantha Paul – MRI Radiographer

Sam started with ADVANCE as MRI radiographer in February 2022 and brought with her 15 years of radiography experience. She has always had a keen interest in MRI and has a postgraduate diploma in MRI imaging from Bradford University.

Sam has worked in both the NHS, private hospitals and in veterinary MRI imaging. She also has experience in research; for example, in previous roles she has been involved in SEMAC (Slice Encoding for Metal Artefact Correction) imaging for hip replacements, imaging of participants on rheumatology drug trials, and imaging porcine subjects to look at the efficiency of radio-cardiac ablation.