Spotlight on: Louise Coke, Lead Research Nurse for Strategic Partnerships and Commercial


Louise Coke has worked in research here for the last 10 years, mainly in paediatrics, and recently became Lead Research Nurse for Strategic Partnerships and Commercial.

Her role involves supporting our research strategy to build on our partnerships with Quadram Institute Bioscience and the University of East Anglia and to broaden our commercial research portfolio.

Louise works closely with Melissa Cambell-Kelly, Lead Research Nurse for Clinical Research Network Operational Delivery, and is keen to promote more homegrown research and new Principal Investigators.

Our research teams are beginning to resume the non-Covid clinical trials that were put on hold during the pandemic and Louise says this represents an opportunity to review and have a “spring clean” of our research portfolio.

We’ve recently received a funding boost from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to expand the delivery of early phase clinical research in our purpose-built Clinical Research Facility at the Quadram Institute and at the main NNUH site, including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This is in recognition of our delivery capability and our potential to expand into experimental medicine and translational research.

Louise said: “We are supported by funding from NIHR and the more we bring in commercially, the more we can fund more new research staff. We already have a fantastic facility for research at the Clinical Research Facility and there is potential to expand the number of trials that involve outpatients and studies that don’t need to take place in the main hospital building.

“I love working in research, it is a great job if you’re an organised person and enjoy working with the whole multi-disciplinary team. You see what happens with patients after they go home and how their outcomes improve. Some of our patients have been in the research family for 15 to 20 years.”

Our highest-profile research over the last two years was the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial, which recruited more than 500 participants and has been approved for use by the UK medicines regulator, MHRA.

Louise said: “We want to get ourselves on the map with research and the Novavax trial had a big impact – we want to be doing more studies like that in the future.

“Lots of research has been on hold over the last year and during the pandemic and clinical pathways have changed, which is the same across most Trusts. I would like to review the portfolio and it is a good opportunity to have a spring clean and see where we need to focus our attentions.

“Everyone should have an opportunity to take part in research and we need to make access easy for all people. A lot of sponsors come back to the same research institutions and we are keen to build lasting relationships with the commercial sector. It is about finding out what has worked for one area, focusing on that and replicating in other areas.

“We are looking outside of the box in research and we have been forming a bank of nursing and admin/ clerical staff should we need to deploy at short notice onto another big piece of work.”

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