EarlyBird Diabetes Study


Professor Terry Wilkin MD graduated from St Andrew’s Medical School and received his MD on thyroid autoimmunity at Dundee. Previous posts include: Associate Professor of Endocrinology, University of Montpellier and Wellcome Senior Research Fellow/Reader, University of Southampton. He was appointed to the Foundation Chair of Medicine at Plymouth Postgraduate Medical School in 1993 and is currently Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the new Peninsula Medical School and Consultant Endocrinologist to the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Designed and co-supervised the Wessex Growth Study in Southampton until 1993, when he moved to Plymouth to set up and direct the EarlyBird Diabetes Study. He has been invited to deliver some 21 state-of-the-art lectures around the world over the past five years, and is one of the three UK delegates advising an invitation-only global think-tank on childhood obesity (Montreal, 2008). Recent media appearances include Radio 4’s ‘Am I Normal’ on obesity, ‘Case Notes’ on diabetes and obesity, Radio 4’s Today programme on findings from EarlyBird and a critique of the latest Government statement on physical inactivity on BBC News 24.

Dr. Linda Voss PhD is an arts graduate of the University of St Andrew’s, Scotland, and went on to gain a Masters in Educational Psychology. She co-ordinated the Wessex Growth Study for 13 years and has contributed widely to the literature both on childhood growth and psychosocial aspects of short stature. Received her PhD from the University of Southampton and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth and Co-ordinator of the EarlyBird Diabetes Study. Recent invited talks include: the Royal Society of Medicine (2003), the National Symposium on Paediatric & Adolescent Diabetes (2004), and the National Conference on Obesity and Health (2005). Invited member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Child Growth Foundation workshops on Obesity. Invited expert at the Irish Growth Monitoring workshop, and the Government Office of Science & Technology Foresight Obesity Project workshop. Recent media appearance: Radio 4’s ‘Am I Normal’ programme in 2006 on short Stature.

Brad Metcalf BSc is a graduate in applied statistics from the University of Plymouth. He once worked as a statistician for the Consumers’ Association magazine Which? before joining EarlyBird as Statistician/Data Manager. He is one of the longest serving members of the team and has a special interest in the measurement of physical activity and its impact on metabolic health. He was invited to speak on EarlyBird data to the 2006 world conference on Obesity in Sydney. Currently completing a part-time MSc in Physical Activity and Nutrition Science with Bristol University. Author of several key papers on physical activity as well as senior statistical advisor to the rest of the team.

Alison Jeffery MSc,one of the longest serving members of the team is a former midwife. She is now Senior Research Nurse and has day-to-day clinical contact with the families. Alison has a particular interest in the impact of puberty on metabolic health and, having completed her MSc, is close to completing her PhD. She has received several invitations to speak, including the Federation of European Nurses in Diabetes in Copenhagen. In 2006 she was awarded the 1st Novo Nordisk UK Nurses Research Fellowship, and has an impressive number of publications under her belt.

Dr Jo Hosking PhD (nee Kirby) Jo made a welcome return to the team as Assistant Statistician after completing her PhD. A mother of three, she still manages to publish EarlyBird studies on resting energy expenditure and body composition. Jo won 1st prize in the Rank Prize Funds symposium for junior researchers in 2005, and addressed the 2006 Sydney meeting of the International Congress on Obesity.

Alissa Fremeaux MSc We are delighted to welcome Alissa, our newest appointee to the team. Alissa obtained her MSc in France and comes to EarlyBird as a much needed third statistician with special skills in the analysis of longitudinal data.

Dr. Michael Murphy MB ChB read both medicine and biochemistry at Trinity College, Dublin, and completed his higher specialist training in clinical biochemistry in Glasgow. Appointed consultant chemical pathologist at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, where he joined the EarlyBird Study. His primary research interest lies in the origins of insulin resistance and its assessment. In 2002, he was appointed Clinical Senior Lecturer to the Department of Molecular & Cellular Pathology at the University of Dundee, but retains an active involvement in EarlyBird.

Dr Daniel Flanagan MD is a consultant endocrinologist with a research interest in the impact of metabolic disturbance on autonomic function. He is currently analysing the influence of insulin resistance on heart rate variability in the EarlyBird children.

Dr Daphne Su-Lyn Gardner MA MB was Specialist Registrar and Clinical Lecturer in diabetes and endocrinology until 2007, but still works closely with the team following her return to Singapore. She won 1st prize for her presentation on the EarlyBird data to the Anglo/Dutch/Danish Society in 2006,. and has published two key papers on EarlyBird data.

Elena Perez-Pastor MB Elena joined us in 2007 as Academic  Clinical Fellow in diabetes and endocrinology. Elena is interested particularly in the impact of insulin resistance on arterial stiffness, and and her work employs a new technology for measuring pulse wave form and pulse wave velocity. She has submitted some important new findings for publication and is hoping to further her academic training with a two-year Fellowship in the USA, from September 2009.

Karen Brookes Karen assures smooth day-to-day running of the EarlyBird study. She sets up the ‘clinic’ and recording equipment each day and assists the senior nurse with the many tests and measurements, including metabolic rate and ECG recordings. She also sets, collects and downloads activity monitors from the youngsters’ schools, which are spread all over the city. Karen maintains very close contact with all the families as well as the schools and has a key role in minimising sample attrition. Her past experience with teenagers is already proving a huge asset!

Val Morgan is a former school nurse and has unfailingly stepped in to help whenever we have been short staffed, for which we are hugely grateful. She is now definitely ‘one of the team’ and regularly helps with any ‘long visits’ at the hospital as well as all the ‘short visits’ in schools – in fact any job that needs doing.

Kerry Godley-McAvoy, Prof Wilkin’s PA and Hon Secretary of the EarlyBird Diabetes Trust. Kerry would be happy to provide more information about the work of EarlyBird Diabetes Trust, or put you in contact with Prof Wilkin Tel 01752 763498.

Denise Watkins BA is P/T administrator for the Study and contributes to fundraising, tracking sponsors and donations, arranging EarlyBird parties, outings and newsletters She would be happy to speak to you if you would like more information about the Study or if you would like to help with fundraising. Denise can be reached on 01752 792711.

Volunteers   Last, but not least, we acknowledge our two very willing volunteers, Jenny Shobrook and Jean Broome, who regularly give up a morning a week to lend a hand in the ‘clinic’, making cups of tea for the EarlyBird parents, preparing breakfast for the hungry youngsters, filing forms, writing birthday cards, acting as escorts and a thousand other little jobs.