Our team of dedicated, professional and highly-skilled staff are here to enhance your experience of clinical trials. Find out more about some of the key people you will meet as a patient or volunteer.

Dr Richard FitzGerald

CRF Director & First In Human PI

Dr Richard FitzGerald is the Director of the CRF and a Consultant Physician in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics / General Medicine at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He is a qualified first-in-human principal investigator as part of the CRF’s MHRA Phase I accreditation.

Richard has been involved in early phase clinical trials for over 10 years, including periods working in industry. He has been a director of the CRF since 2011 and has been principal investigator on many early phase and first-in-human studies (including patient cohorts and healthy volunteers) over the last five years. Richard has particular interests in the design and analysis of early phase trials in patient groups and the development of novel pharmacodynamic techniques to generate proof of principle in both healthy volunteers and patients.

Richard is also an honorary senior lecturer in the Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, where his major research interests include stratified therapies in cardiovascular disease, optimisation of anti-platelet therapy, adverse drug reactions and systematic reviews and meta-analyses. 

Zalina Rashid-Gardner

Clinical Manager

Zalina is the Clinical Manager for the CRF.  Her role involves co-ordination of the CRF on a day to day basis including planning, allocation and evaluation of work carried out by teams or individuals and self.  Zalina has management responsibility of the clinical and laboratory teams within the CRF.  Her role also is to ensure there is staffing cover over the 24hr period, ensuring a high standard of nursing care and that all clinical research activity is compliant and conducted in accordance with EU Directive ICH GCP and the agreed protocols.

Zalina has a Diploma in Adult Nursing and qualified as a registered nurse in the year 2000.  Her career began working as a staff nurse on a Geriatric ward. Following this Zalina worked 7 years as a staff nurse on a Bone Metabolics unit.  Zalina took on the role as the Deputy Manager on the CRF in 2009 and then was appointed in her current position as the Clinical Manager in 2010.

Becky Lyon

Senior Research Nurse

Becky is the Senior Research Nurse on the Clinical Research Facility.  Her role involves coordination of early phase studies including protocol development, study set up, recruitment and ensuring studies are compliant to ICH GCP. This includes supporting the clinical team with setting up research projects on the CRF to ensure a streamlined approach to set up activities.  She is a GCP Facilitator and currently facilitates Introduction to GCP sessions through the NIHR CLRN network.

Becky has a Diploma in Adult Nursing and a Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management. Previously she has worked as a post-operative cardiothoracic surgical nurse. In 2011 she began working as a Research Nurse on the Clinical Research Unit where she developed her knowledge and experience of conducting Phase 1 Clinical Trials. She was appointed to her current position in July 2018.

Lesley Dry

Research Nurse

Lesley is a Band 6 Research Nurse and works in conjunction with the rest of the team to set up and deliver clinical trials. Lesley utilises her nursing experience to ensure patients and volunteers are well cared for and that the clinical trials and procedures are conducted to the correct standards.

Lesley qualified as an RGN in 1992 at the Warrington Hospital School of Nursing. Since qualifying she has worked in Accident and Emergency and General Surgery/Colorectal Surgery. Lesley joined the Clinical Research Facility in April 2016.           

Laura Kanina

Research Nurse

Laura joined the CRF in May 2017 as a Clinical Research Nurse. She completed her nursing degree at LJMU in 2012 and has been working on the dialysis unit within this hospital since then. During her time on the dialysis unit, she completed her post graduate mentorship course at the university, has successfully completed 2 leadership courses with NHS Leadership Academy as well as having the opportunity to be one of the people on the first cohort for the RLB programme.


Melanie Griffin

Research Nurse

Mel is a Research Nurse who started on CRF in May 2017.

She qualified in 1998 with a Diploma in Health Studies at Edge Hill University. She initially started working in G.I Surgery then transferred to Diabetes and Medicine in 2000. Since 2003, she has worked within the renal speciality and was the Deputy Ward Manager (from 2010) at Aintree, and is trained in Haemodialysis.

Mel has had two secondment posts, one at Aintree and one at the Royal. Both were Projects funded by the NKF and specialised in renal transplantation.

From 2014, she worked in a satellite haemodialysis unit in Waterloo before moving to the CRF. Mel likes to challenge herself and enjoys learning.


John Byrne

Clinical Research Assistant

John is a Clinical Research Assistant and he supports the Research Nurses conducting the clinical trials. John can perform clinical functions such as blood sampling, vitals, ECGs and laboratory processing.

John considers himself lucky as this is a challenging and rewarding position which provides a service that is second to none. He feels that all the staff here understand that patients and volunteers have different needs and requirements and always aim to provide for them and try to make people feel at home when on the unit for a number of days and nights.

Anna Clarkson

Clinical Research Assistant

Anna is a Clinical Research Assistant and provides support to the Research Nurses conducting the clinical trials. She performs clinical procedures such as blood sampling, vitals, ECGs as well as processing within the laboratory.

Alex Ros

Clinical Research Assistant

Alex is a Clinical Research Assistant providing support to the Research Nurses conducting the clinical trials. She performs clinical procedures such as blood sampling, vitals, and also carries out processing in the laboratory.

Alex has worked on the CRF since 2009 as a Domestic Assistant and Catering, where she provided high quality domestic and catering services, while ensuring a clean and safe environment at all times. She is enjoying working along the CRF team and especially enjoys caring for our patients and volunteers.

Kate Dodd

Recruitment Manager

Kate is the Recruitment Manager for the Clinical Research Facility. Kate has responsibility for the recruitment of volunteers and patients for the unit.  This includes ensuring there are strategies in place to meet recruitment to time and target, exploring new and innovative ways to increase recruitment, and developing partnership working with community and primary care organisations.

Kate’s career started as a Pharmacy Technician and in 2007 she moved into research within the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Networks.  During this time Kate completed an MSc in Clinical Research at Liverpool University.  Kate joined the CRF in January 2017.

Angharad (Anna) Owens

Clerical Research Assistant

Anna works as a Clerical Research Assistant in the CRF. Anna is responsible for supporting the team with clerical support, including booking appointments, The C4C Volunteer database, and managing clinic diaries. Anna adds “Working as a Research Assistant is really developing my knowledge and experience of clinical research.”

Anna has a Masters Degree in Disability Studies and was appointed to her role in December 2018.


We will contact you if you are eligible for a particular trial and you can then decide if you would like to take part. There is no obligation to take part in any trial you are contacted about and you can choose to have your details removed from the Consent for Consent database at any time.


"Thanks for letting me take part. It was very interesting and it was a pleasure to see how you and you're colleagues worked! You looked after us well too. Thanks."

Michael Harper.