By-Band-Sleeve Clinical Leads

Mr Richard Welbourn

Richard Welbourn is a Consultant Surgeon in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, where he developed a regional bariatric surgery programme in 2003. He is lead surgeon and co-investigator in the By-Band-Sleeve study. The unit became the South West Level 1 designated bariatric surgery centre in 2009, and in the same year the unit became the first International Centre of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery outside the USA. 

In 2007, he was commissioned by the three upper GI specialist societies to develop the United Kingdom National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR). In April 2011, he was lead author of the first Annual Report detailing operative complication rates, mortality rates and 1-2 year functional and disease-specific outcomes in 8,000 patients. To December 2012, the NBSR had accumulated 25,000 records and was accepted by the Commissioning Board for England as the NHS reporting standard from April 2013. 

He was surgical advisor for the National Confidential Enquiry in Peri-Operative Deaths report into bariatric surgery 2011, and he is also Director of Audit for the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons and President of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society and Chair of the National Bariatric Surgery Registry. 

Mr Rob Andrews

Rob Andrews qualified from the University of Birmingham in 1991. After completing his specialist training in Diabetes and Endocrinology he undertook a PhD in Edinburgh. In 2003 he took up a post as Consultant Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol and an Honorary Consultant Physician at Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton. In 2016 Rob took up a new post as Associate Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Exeter. Rob is the Principal Investigator of By-Band-Sleeve in Taunton and a co-investigator in the study. 

Rob leads a group that researches the role that exercise and diet can play in the prevention and management of the metabolic syndrome. His group completed a large community trial that looked at the effect of diet and exercise in patients with newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes (Early ACTID). Recently they have completed a study looking at the effect of bariatric surgery on glucose homeostasis. Ongoing studies include the development of a brief evidence-based tool to assess dietary intake and promote healthy dietary change for people with Type 2 diabetes; how exercise can affect beta cell function in Type 1 diabetes (EXTOD); and which bariatric operation is best (By-Band-Sleeve). 

In Taunton, Rob is the Clinical Director of R&D and the Clinical lead for obesity. In the latter role he has overseen the development of one of the largest multidisciplinary obesity services in the country. This is a holistic service offering specialised dietary and exercise programs, drug therapy and bariatric surgery as well as running clinics for people with eating disorders. In recognition of this service, in 2009, Taunton was designated an International Centre of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery, one of only 2 European centres to achieve this status.

Mr James Byrne

James Byrne is a Consultant Surgeon at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and a founding member of the bariatric surgical service in Southampton, based at the SPIRE Hospital Southampton. James is the Principal Investigator of the By-Band-Sleeve study in Southampton and undertakes in the surgical procedures in the study. 

Mr Byrne strives to provide a very high quality service together with the rest of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). James created a multidisciplinary bariatric surgical research group in Southampton with experts in Public Health, Health Economics, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Primary Care and user involvement. He was awarded an NHS RFPB grant for £220K (2009) to evaluate role of bariatric surgery amongst diabetics with a BMI of 30-40.


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Chief Investigator

Prof Jane Blazeby

Jane Blazeby is the Chief Investigator of the By-Band-Sleeve study. She is Professor of Surgery at the University of Bristol and an Honorary Consultant Upper GI Surgeon at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. 

The Bristol Centre for Surgical Research

The MRC ConDuCT-II Hub for Trials Methodology Research

Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit

Dr Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers is co-Director of the Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit at the University of Bristol. The unit, which is fully registered under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is the coordination centre for the By-Band-Sleeve study. Chris is a reader in Medical statistics with over 25 years’ experience in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of clinical studies. She has a particular interest in trials in surgery in general. She has been statistical lead for several multi-centre trials, including the CRISP and IVAN trials. 

Her role in By-Band-Sleeve is to lead the methodological implementation and delivery of the study.

Prof Barney Reeves

Barney Reeves is a health services researcher and trialist, carrying out Health Technology Assessment primarily in hospital settings. He is one of the seven research area leaders in both the previous (2008-2012) and newly awarded (2012-2017) NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Units in Cardiovascular Disease, and co-Director of the UKCRC-registered Bristol Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit. 

His role in By-Band-Sleeve is to provide methodological advice and expertise.

Dr Graziella Mazza

Graziella is the By-Band-Sleeve study manager. Her role is to manage and coordinate the study on a day-to-day basis. She is the first point of contact for By-Band-Sleeve at the coordinating centre.

David Hutton

David is a database manager. His role is to develop and maintain the By-Band-Sleeve study database used by participating centres to capture data on the study. The database is held within the NHS and is accessed via the secure NHS network.

Surinder Kaur

Surinder is the assistant By-Band-Sleeve study coordinator. Her role is to assist Dr Mazza in managing and coordinating the study on a day-to-day basis.

Qualitative Research Team

Professor Jenny Donovan

Jenny Donovan is Professor of Social Medicine at the School of Social and Community Medicine based at the University of Bristol and the Qualitative Lead for By-Band-Sleeve. Jenny leads a wide range of Health Services Research projects/teams, including a team that specialises in optimising recruitment to randomised controlled trials such as the By-Band-Sleeve study. As the Qualitative Lead, she employs a range of research methods to identify and address any patient recruitment problems in the By-Band-Sleeve study.

Dr Sangeetha Paramasivan

Sangeetha Paramasivan is a qualitative researcher on the By-Band-Sleeve study. She works with Professor Jenny Donovan, listening to audio-recordings of patient consultations and interviewing patients/staff to help with recruitment to the By-Band-Sleeve study.

MD/PhD Students and Research Fellows

Dr Natalie Blencowe

Natalie is a surgical registrar who completed a PhD examining the complexity of surgical interventions in trials. One of the major problems with RCTs in surgery is that very little information is provided about how the surgical procedures should be performed, meaning that it is difficult for them to be replicated in routine practice. Conversely, when information about the surgical procedure is provided, there has often been no monitoring of whether the surgeons performed the operation according to this description, providing surgeons with the opportunity to disbelieve the results.

The PhD aimed to ascertain whether surgical interventions can be standardised within RCTs and more specifically, whether the key components can be identified and monitored. Case studies were conducted within the internal pilot phase of By-Band-Sleeve, involving video and audio recording operations, observations within the operating theatre and interviewing team members. A manual describing the expected standards of surgery for operations undertaken within the main By-Band-Sleeve study was developed.

The Bristol Centre for Surgical Research

Dr Karen Coulman

Karen is a registered dietitian with an interest in weight management, weight loss surgery, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. She is particularly interested in the psychosocial aspects of weight management and living with weight loss surgery, and in looking at how the patient’s perspective can be used to improve weight management interventions and other chronic diseases involving significant lifestyle change.

Since 2012, she has held a NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship to investigate the patient's perspective of weight loss surgery, including developing a patient core outcome set and devising ways to improve follow-up care in the NHS. She is using both qualitative and quantitative research methods to undertake her PhD research. Her PhD work will feed into the development of a clinical core outcome set in the By-Band-Sleeve study. This is supervised by Dr Amanda Owen-Smith and Professor Jane M Blazeby.

Dr Noah Howes

Noah is a surgical trainee currently completing an MD examining the evalution of innovation of surgical interventions. The work focusses on evidence and reporting of outcomes in the evalution of innovation using sleeve gastrectomy as a case study. He has completed a systematic review summarising the evidence for sleeve gastrectomy. He is undertaking a review which is summaring the development of outcome reporting according to study design (IDEAL phase I to 3) for sleeve gastrectomy. He is also involved with the literature synthesis of the myriad of outcomes reported to inform a Core Outcome Set. The MD is funded by an MRC doctoral fellowship which is supervised by Professor Jane M Blazeby and Dr Jelena Savovic. ‚Äč

Health Economics Team

Dr Sarah Wordsworth

Sarah is the Health Economics Lead for the By-Band-Sleeve study. Dr Sarah Wordsworth is a Senior Researcher at the Health Economics Research Centre at the University of Oxford. She has 20 years experience in evaluating health care interventions and has a particular interesting in costing methodology within multi-centre studies. Her role in By-Band-Sleeve is to lead the cost-effectiveness analysis of the three surgical options and provide information on which surgery is likely to provide the best value for money for the NHS.



Nutritional Team

Prof Janice L. Thompson

Nutrition Lead of the By-Band-Sleeve study. Janice is currently Professor of Public Health Nutrition and Exercise in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, UK. Janice’s research interests include working with people across the lifespan to better understand how we can promote healthy eating and increase physical activity to reduce obesity, physical inactivity, and the subsequent risks for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Janice is the nutrition lead for the By-Band-Sleeve study. In this role she oversees the collection and analysis of all dietary intake data. She also serves as a member of the Trial Management Group, attending all related meetings and providing oversight and advice regarding nutrition-related aspects of the study.


Amina Bukhari

Amina is a registered dietitian with an interest in obesity and health related research. She is currently a research associate at the University of Birmingham where her role in By-Band Sleeve involves the utilisation of dietary software for nutritional analysis and the organisation of patient data sets ready for further investigation.