CRN Greater Manchester appoints Infection Research Champion

NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester (CRN GM) has named Dr Gabriel Schembri as its Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Research Champion.

He will support Dr Andrew Ustianowski, the CRN GM Infection specialty lead, by broadening the outreach activities of the specialty area.

Dr Schembri is a consultant in sexual health and HIV medicine and research lead at the Hathersage Centre for sexual health, which is run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

He already has significant oversight of STI and HIV related research in the region, thanks to being part of the Northern Sexual Health, Contraception and HIV Service.

This partnership provides integrated sexual and reproductive health services across the city of Manchester, as well as the boroughs of Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.

In his role as CRN GM Research Champion, Dr Schembri will deputise for the Infection specialty lead, with whom he will meet regularly to review performance in existing portfolio studies and potential upcoming studies.

Other duties include providing advice to Principal Investigators, engaging with Genitourinary Medicine colleagues across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of NIHR CRN, and generally serving as an ambassador for the Infection specialty.

Dr Schembri said:

I am delighted to have taken on this role. It represents an exciting opportunity for me to work with researchers across Greater Manchester and ultimately help to deliver more positive outcomes for patients in our region. It is my belief that research should be a mind-set embedded in all healthcare and that is a philosophy I will continue to promote.

“Since the formation of the integrated ‘Northern Service’, I have seen how studies can be delivered very effectively on a larger scale through one R&D application. The PrEP Impact trial (which looked at HIV pre-exposure) was a great example of this, with lots of really motivated research personnel who engaged and recruited well. That bodes well for the future.”

Dr Andrew Ustianowski, CRN GM specialty lead for Infection, said: “The NIHR CRN Infection portfolio includes a variety of STI studies and this number is only set to rise with novel STI therapies and diagnostics in the pipeline.

“It’s a pleasure to have Dr Schembri on board in this capacity as Research Champion; a role in which his expertise in this field can be put to even greater use.”