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Local GP and two researchers recognised for their performance at North West London Clinical Research Awards

This year's North West London Clinical Research Awards took place at a special online ceremony yesterday (19 November 2020).

As well as the nine categories open to nominations, this year there were three awards based on performance data over the previous year.


The Primary Care Research Award is for the GP or GP practice who has shown outstanding support for research. The award is given based on performance and a standout contribution to research.

The winner of this award is Brent GP, Dr. Rakshan Syed for her outstanding support and contribution to research. Preston Hill Surgery, under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Syed, is one our highest achieving GP practices. Preston Hill is a member of the Harness group of practices.

Dr. Syed, has supported a large number of complex Randomised Control Trials, both for academic and commercially funded studies over the years and has clearly demonstrated that these studies can be delivered successfully in a primary care setting. More recently, Dr. Syed has been supporting the Centrestone Study (Roche) and recruited the first participant in the UK.

Unfortunately the study had to be paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it was felt that it would be impossible to reopen it due to the current restrictions in place. However, Dr. Syed is now working with the sponsor to adapt the study protocol so that it can re-open in the current climate.  It is this commitment and dedication, which goes over and beyond what is required of her that makes Dr. Syed very unique.

“On behalf of the entire practice, we just want to say a big thank you for this recognition. We love research and just see it as an integral part of everyday practice. We are really honored to be acknowledged.”

- Dr Rakshan Syed


The First Commercial Study Delivered to Time and Target Award is given to the Principal Investigator who has successfully delivered on their first commercial study and has exceeded the recruitment target.

The winner of this award for 2020 is Dr Nicola Bridges, from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, for her work on “DESTINY PWS - A Study of DCCR in Patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome”, from Soleno Therapeutics UK Ltd.

This study is looking at a way to prevent the release of two neuropeptides that are thought to trigger excess appetite and food consumption in patients with PWS.  Dr Bridges and her team set a target of three recruits and recruited double that number with six participants.

“Thank you very much. I look after quite a large group of children with Prader-Willi and there’s no current medications at all. The research team has really helped to drive this forward. I’m pleased we’ve carried on despite having to redesign everything in terms of COVID. And the families have carried on despite it being a challenging study. We’ve now got an extension for two years and so far everyone is going to continue with it.”

- Dr Nicola Bridges


The Time and Target Award recognises the team or individual that most consistently delivers to time and target (during year 2019/2020).

The winner of this year’s award is Dr Ayesha Akbar, from London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, for her work on the OCTAVO study.  This study looked at the use of vedolizumab in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease and the drug’s impact on prescribing and quality of life.  The study is from Takeda UK Limited.  The team set a modest target of 15 and recruited 47 participants to this study.

“It’s an absolute delight to receive this award and be an ambassador for research as R&D Director at London North West. I want to thank all my team, this really was a group achievement.”

- Dr Ayesha Akbar


Read more about the awards, including all the details on the other winners and nominees.