KHP recognised at OPERA awards

Three early-career researchers within King’s Health Partners have been recognised at an inaugural national pharmaceutical awards. 

The Outstanding Pharmacy Early-Career Researcher Award (OPERA), run by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and The Pharmaceutical Journal, celebrates the contribution of early-career researchers across the pharmaceutical sciences who demonstrate potential to achieve world-leading status. 

Victoria SpeedVictoria Speed [pictured right], senior anticoagulation pharmacist and clinical informatician at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NHS FT) and University of Oxford, was recognised as ‘highly commended’ for her research, which used pharmacokinetic modelling and real-world data to show that fixed-dose rivaroxaban can be used in extremes of body weight. 

‘Pursue research ambitions’ 

She said:

I am delighted that myself and fellow early career researchers in pharmacy have been able to share our work within the scope of the new ‘Outstanding Pharmacy Early-Career Researcher Award’. I hope that this prize will motivate others to pursue their research ambitions within pharmacy. 

Victoria is a clinical academic, working as a senior anticoagulation pharmacist alongside a role as a clinical informatician, working with big data, at the University of Oxford’s Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science. 

During the initial stages of her research career, Victoria has answered significant clinical questions arising from daily practice with global impact. Her pharmacokinetic model, published in 2020, resulted in a change to international prescribing guidance for direct oral anticoagulants in 2021. 

Early identification of a major patient safety risk 

Victoria also co-ordinated a root-cause analysis when a sudden spike in international normalised ratio results for warfarin patients was observed during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Victoria’s work resulted in the early identification of a major patient safety risk and an alert was issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

Ebenezer OloyedeEbenezer Oloyede [pictured right], principal pharmacist at South London and Maudsley NHS FT, was among the nine shortlisted nominees for the award. Ebenezer’s motivation for research started with a desire to see things change.

Specialising in first-episode psychosis, he has been made all too aware of the life-changing impact conditions such as treatment-resistant schizophrenia have on individuals and their families, as well as the important role pharmacy plays in optimising their treatment. 

Mandy WanAlso nominated was Mandy Wan [pictured right], lead paediatric research pharmacist at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Mandy has supported several multicentre paediatric clinical trials in the UK and across the EU, and was the only pharmacist in the paediatric working group for the national ‘RECOVERY’ COVID-19 trial.  

The winner of this year’s award — selected from nine shortlisted nominees — is Stephen Kelly, a lecturer in pharmaceutical microbiomics at the Queen’s University Belfast School of Pharmacy. 

Stephen’s research focuses on microbiome analysis and its functional exploitation for pharmaceutical and healthcare applications. He currently leads a research group as principal investigator focusing on the links between the human and clinical microbiomes, with pharmacotherapy and healthcare outcomes. 

‘Delighted to receive so many high-quality applications’ 

Parastou Donyai, chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Head of Department of Pharmacy at King’s College London, said:

When we launched OPERA in November 2022, we hoped to inspire early-career researchers to submit their applications for the award, but of course had little idea who or how many might engage with the process. So we were utterly delighted to receive so many high-quality applications by the deadline of mid-February. 
As a result, the shortlisting itself was a very difficult exercise as was the selection of one final winner. In the end, we chose one winner and another received a commendation. Both have achieved phenomenal success for their career stage and show huge potential as future leaders in their respective pharmacy fields. My heartfelt congratulations to both. 

King’s Health Partners Haematology brings together our strengths in clinical service, research, and education to deliver exceptional outcomes for haematology patients .