Thanks to donations, we have invested over £200,000 to fund the Jeremy Neil Allen Clinical Research Fellowship at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The fellowship meant that three doctors at Leeds Children’s Hospital were given a year-long opportunity to receive specialist training at the Leeds Children’s Clinical Research Facility.

The Children’s Clinical Research Facility opened in June 2018 and was made possible thanks to a generous Gift left in a Will to Leeds Hospitals Charity.

We spoke to Ella Dzora, Paediatric Trainee based in South Yorkshire, who is the final doctor taking part in this fellowship. Ella began her post in September 2023, and has worked across trials from new leukemia treatment, to trials for various inpatient studies, including intensive care, neonatal and oncology.  

Headshot of Clinical Research Fellow Ella Dzora

A big part of Ella’s role has been focused on education of clinical colleagues. Ella has worked closely with inpatient teams to embed research as part of their clinical care, to help improve treatment and outcomes for young people.

Ella told us what has motivated her during her fellowship:

“Providing excellent care is at the heart of what we do. So, by integrating research into daily patient care, we’re giving children the opportunity to participate in trials that can help us develop the best treatments for poorly children and improve outcomes.

“Research shouldn’t be an ‘optional extra’ it should be at the centre of patient care. It’s everybody’s right to be involved in research if they want to be. We might not always know what the best treatment is, or have the cure, but we know the only way of finding the answers is by getting as many children as possible involved in trials in order to produce robust evidence.”

In January of this year Ella’s 9 year old son was diagnosed with diabetes, so she also has a personal understanding of what it’s like being a parent to a child with a life-long medical condition. Ella has seen first-hand how advancements in medical research and technological developments in recent years have enabled her son to manage and control his condition effectively. Her 7 year old daughter also decided to enroll in a study to find out if she has antibodies that might lead to diabetes.

Over the past six months, Ella has also worked closely to develop connections with families of young patients to explain to parents what they can expect if their child takes part in research, helping to increase recruitment onto trials.

Ella has noticed children’s capacity to understand the difference they are making by participating in trials, and many are excited to be contributing to potential scientific breakthroughs.

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One of the biggest learnings Ella has gained from the fellowship is an understanding that research is for everyone, she said:

“You don’t need to be an academic to be actively involved in research and to be progressing and supporting research. Research can be a part of everyone’s job. It’s all about being dedicated and enthusiastic, seeing what studies are going on in your area and offering patients the chance to get involved; as this will help research become an integral part of care. Academics and clinicians need to work together to carry out studies that will have a real impact on future generations of young people.”

As well as focusing on her own personal areas of interest, Ella has been able to develop and carry through the threads of her predecessor’s work. Ella hopes she will have the opportunity to continue working with the clinical research teams at Leeds Children’s Hospital after completing her fellowship in September and is working on a project around outcomes for children with respiratory infections who are cared for on Intensive Care units.