Our Research Sub-Committee

Meet the fantastic group of clinicians, researchers, and expert patients who review our grant applications and help decide where SRUK’s funding goes.

Our Research Sub-Committee is made up of professionals with a wealth of scientific and medical knowledge about scleroderma and Raynaud's phenomenon, and expert patients who have first-hand experience of the conditions. They have experience in clinical practice and have sat on other advisory committees. Their role is to ensure grant applications submitted to SRUK meet the remit of the charity and the individual grant call, and to review applications in light of peer review comments submitted by external professionals with expertise in the field. Recommendations from the Research Sub-Committee will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for ratification.

Richard Watts (Chair) 

Richard Watts was a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust until 2020. He is an honorary professor at Norwich Medical School. He was Editor-in-Chief of Rheumatology between 2002-2008, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Rheumatology Advances in Practice. He edits the 5th edition of the Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology. His current academic interests are the epidemiology, aetiopathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune rheumatic disease. He is a principal investigator for studies in the classification and diagnosis of vasculitis, the importance of patient education in the management of long-term rheumatic disease and the organisation of services for people with rheumatoid arthritis. He was chair of the Heberden Committee of the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR) and a Trustee of the BSR. 

Chris Edwards

Professor Edwards is a Consultant Rheumatologist and Associate Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Clinical Research Facility within the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. He has been an Investigator on a number of clinical trials of therapies for inflammatory rheumatic diseases and as Associate Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility is engaged with the running of a large translational research facility. Professor Edwards is Clinical Director of the Southampton Musculoskeletal Research Unit, a recognised EULAR centre of excellence. Through this work, Professor Edwards is an investigator for a number of stratified medicine trials to better understand the targeting of therapies for individuals. He has worked extensively with the General Practice Research Database to define the patient experience across the UK and is Chair of the EULAR education committee.

Justin Mason

Justin Mason is Professor of Vascular Rheumatology at Imperial College London and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at the Hammersmith Hospital, London. He was the recipient of an Arthritis Research UK (ARUK) Intermediate and Senior Clinical Research Fellowships. Justin was appointed Head of Vascular Sciences at Imperial College in 2017, Head of the Cardiovascular Division of the National Heart and Lung Institute in 2018 and Co-Director of the Imperial College Centre of Vasculitis Research Excellence in 2020. He has served as Chair of the ARUK Research and Capacity Committee and on the British Society for Rheumatology Heberden Committee. He is the current chair of the BHF Project Grant Committee. His basic science research focuses upon the relationship between vascular endothelial dysfunction and systemic inflammatory diseases, and he has a specialist clinical research interest in the investigation and management of the large vessel vasculitides including Takayasu arteritis.

Allan Lawrie

Allan has a background in scientific research for cardiovascular disease. He is Professor of Translational Cardiopulmonary Science and British Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. He leads multi-disciplinary teams of clinical, basic and computational scientists investigating the mechanisms of pulmonary vascular disease and biomarkers to aid the identification of new therapeutic targets and treatment for the benefit of patients with Pulmonary Hypertension and associated conditions, including scleroderma. 

David Scott

David was appointed Consultant Rheumatologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in February 1988 and Honorary Professor to Norwich Medical School, UEA in 1998. He “retired” from his NHS post in July 2011, and is now an honorary consultant. David is a former President of the British Society for Rheumatology. He has a long-standing interest in systemic vasculitis and the rarer connective tissue diseases, and has written and lectured extensively on the subjects. He was also a Trustee on the SRUK Board. 

Edith Brown

Edith was diagnosed with scleroderma and Raynaud’s over 20 years ago and although living with scleroderma has certainly been challenging it has also given her the opportunity make a contribution to research. Over the years, she has been involved in many research projects both as a trial participant, and a member of steering committees and advisory boards.   
 “Since my diagnosis I have greatly appreciated the vital role SRUK has played in funding and sponsoring research which has contributed to a better understanding of the disease and promoted more effective treatments.  I also know that SRUK has a commitment to involve patients in every aspects of their work. I am confident that the decision to include “patient voices” will make a valuable contribution to the work of the Research Sub Committee."

Kim Fligelstone

Kim has lived with Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis since 1988, with significant kidney/renal involvement in the earlier years and has been involved in clinical research trials/projects as a patient during this time.  As a EULAR (European League against Rheumatology) patient research partner (PRP) she will add experiential knowledge, with the aim of improving the relevance, quality and validity to the research process. Kim also supports SRUK’s helpline therefore has an understanding of the SRUK community, and what research would best benefit them.