Advanced Care Research Centre

Biographies - Tuesday

Biographies for those first appearing on Tuesday 16th April

Ageing in Place: The importance of communities and neighbourhoods

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie, Chair of ACRC Advisory Board

Lewis is James Mackenzie Professor of General Practice at the University of Aberdeen. He also holds Honorary Professorial Chairs at the University of Edinburgh and the University of the Highlands & Islands.

He has previously served as a Principal General Practitioner, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Director of Public Health in Grampian. He has led/chaired numerous NHS Scotland/Scottish Government/Academic Advisory Committees and Reports. He has received separate UK National Professional Awards in: General Practice/Primary Care; Public Health; Computing Science; Cardiovascular Prevention and Internationally, in General Practice/Primary Care. 

He was appointed OBE in 2001 for services to general practice and primary care in Scotland and subsequently knighted in 2011 for services to the NHS in Scotland.


Dr Jacob Sheahan, Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Jacob is a Research Fellow for Informal Networks of Care and based at the Institute for Design Informatics. A design researcher, his work involves interdisciplinary and collaborative research centred on understanding our ageing-in-place futures. Jacob draws on creative, constructive, and participatory methods to explore the role of animals in later life, map experiences of long-covid, and partner with local communities and organisations. He is currently unpacking individual and community-wide ecologies of care while interrogating the devices and systems that seek to support later life.


Professor Alan Marshall, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Alan is a Professor of Social Research on Inequality. He is currently seconded to the Scottish Graduate School for Social Sciences (50% time) where he serves as Deputy Director. His research draws on longitudinal data from social surveys and administrative data, in the UK and overseas, to better understand the social and biological determinants of inequalities observed in health and wellbeing in later life.


Professor Alex Mihailidis, CEO, AGE-WELL Canada

Alex is the Barbara G. Stymiest Research Chair in Rehabilitation Technology at Kite Research Institute at University Health Network/University of Toronto. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto (U of T), as well as holding a cross appointment in the Department of Computer Science at the U of T. His research disciplines include biomedical and biochemical engineering, computer science, geriatrics and occupational therapy. Alex is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of technology and aging. He has published over 150 journal and conference papers in this field and co-edited two books: Pervasive computing in healthcare and Technology and ageing. Alex is very active in the rehabilitation engineering profession and is currently the President for the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society for North America (RESNA). He is the Principal Investigator and a joint Scientific Director of AGE-WELL.


Professor Catharine Ward-Thompson, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Catharine is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of OPENspace research centre, with a focus on inclusive access outdoors and salutogenic environments, at the University of Edinburgh.


Professor Susan Shenkin, Professor of Healthcare for Older People, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Susan is Professor of Healthcare for Older People at the Ageing and Health Research Group in the Usher Institute, and a consultant geriatrician in NHS Lothian. She leads a portfolio of interdisciplinary research in health and social care for older people, particularly those living with the geriatric syndromes of delirium, dementia and frailty, and other multiple long term conditions – particularly including those living in care homes. She uses a range of methods including data driven innovation, systematic reviews, observational and interventional studies. She co-chairs ENRICH Scotland (Enabling Research in Care Homes), and is Acting Director of the ACRC Academy.


Professor Bruce Guthrie, ACRC Director

Bruce is Professor of General Practice at the Usher Institute, in the Edinburgh Medical School.

Bruce is a mixed methods health services researcher with an interest in the quality and safety of health and social care, particularly in relation to multimorbidity and polypharmacy. As well as

research, he works clinically as a GP and works closely with the NHS and government to improve healthcare quality and safety.


Laurence Rowley-Abel, Academy PhD Student

Laurence has an MSc in Social Research from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in French and Arabic from the University of Cambridge. He has spent several years working as a researcher both inside and outside of academia, focusing on the quantitative modelling of social inequalities and health outcomes.



Exhibitions and Poster Display

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Deputy Director Research & Innovation, Glasgow School of Art, ACRC Advisory Board Member

Irene has international experience of creative leadership having worked as Director of Design Research for multinational company Philips Electronics and Professor of Interaction Design at The Royal College of Art. She is Deputy Director Research & Innovation at The Glasgow School of Art and is responsible for establishing GSA’s Highlands and Islands Campus and the GSA’s new Innovation School. She was awarded the OBE in recognition of her work in Higher Education, Innovation and Design.


Dr Nichole Fernandez, Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Nichole is a Research Fellow for Images of Care. With a background in visual sociology and media studies, Nichole is researching how care later in life is visually represented and constructed. Her experience in creative and visual methodologies has covered topics in digital sociology, mental health, migration, geography, nationalism, and environment. Prior to working for the ACRC, Nichole was a Lecturer in Sociology at UCSD and an assistant professor at Hiram. Her PhD was conducted at the University of Edinburgh in sociology researching representations of nation and place.





Complex Interventions: Supporting ageing in place

Carol Brown & Neil Grant, Scottish Government Social Care Analytical Unit

Carol and Neil jointly lead the Scottish Government’s Social Care Analytical Unit. We are a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of statisticians, economists, social researchers and operational research analysts. Our role is to provide evidence-based insights and analysis to policy makers working in adult social care and National Care Service development. We also work closely with the wider research and analytical community, to collate, analyse and publish evidence, share knowledge, improve data and intelligence, and build capacity.


Dr Stella Arakelyan, Research Fellow, AIM-CISC, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

After completing her doctorate from the School of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, Stella became a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. She went on to become a lecturer at the School of Health Sciences (SHS) in the University of Dundee, teaching across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate modules and co-supervising MS dissertation students. Stella delivers complex intervention design and feasibility testing as part of AIM-CISC


Dr Huayu Zhang, Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh, ACRC

Huayu is a Research Fellow for ACRC. He has background of both clinical data science and biomedical sciences. His research focusses on the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI_ solutions to address challenges in the health care system.



Complex Interventions: Supporting ageing in place Panel Discussion:

Dr Leona Carroll, Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership

Leona has been working as a GP across Edinburgh and Midlothian for 16 years. With an interest in quality improvement and service development, she has recently completed the Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship.

Over the years, Leona has enjoyed collaborating with a variety of multidisciplinary teams focusing on improving health outcomes for older people including the pre-pandemic Midlothian Winter Frailty Team and currently as Management GP for Older People with Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership.


Professor Stewart Mercer, Deputy Director, ACRC

Stewart is a General Practitioner, Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity. His research focuses on understanding and responding to the needs of people with multiple complex conditions.


Professor Julie Jacko, Chair of Health Informatics and Data Science and Co-Head of the Centre for Medical Informatics at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

Julie joined the Usher Institute from the Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine at Nova South-Eastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she served as Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences and Professor in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Professor Jacko received her BS, MS and PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.


Debbie Smith, PPIE Group Member and ACRC Advisory Board Member

Debbie is passionate about making radical improvements to the quality of life of older adults.  She is keen to support making step change improvements to add not just years to life but quality of life to years! She believes that this needs to be achieved through full engagement with people with relevant lived experience. 

Professionally, Debbie worked in senior positions in health, social care and housing for people in later life for over 35 years. She also has lived experience of providing support and direct care for her parents who experienced long term conditions and dementia. 


Professor Dame Louise Robinson, Regius Professor of Ageing, Newcastle University, ACRC

Louise is an academic GP, is Regius Professor of Ageing And Professor of Primary Care and Ageing at Newcastle University. She leads one of three national Alzheimer Society Centres of Excellence in Dementia Care Research.



Wrap up and Poster Prize Presentation

Jo Turnbull, PPIE Group Member

Jo completed her law degree in the UK then qualified as a solicitor in Australia. She returned to UK after 10 years and held a number of public appointments for many years, including parole board, national consumer council, and flood defence, culminating in various Non-Exec Director roles in the NHS. For her final 10 years before retirement, she chaired a large Mental Health Trust. Jo has also chaired a LREC and, until recently, was the lay member on the partnership board for the LCRN North East & Cumbria. 


Professor Jill Manthorpe CBE, Professor Emerita of Social Work at King's College London and Deputy Chair, ACRC Advisory Board

Jill is Professor of Social Work at King's College London and Director of the NIHR Policy Research Programme in Health and Social Care Workforce. She has a long-standing interest in gerontological policy research and practice development across the UK and is visiting professor at National Universities of Singapore and Melbourne, and Queen's University Belfast. Jill is a Trustee of a large not-for-profit care home provider.