CICADA – Who We Are

Overall Study Lead and Qualitative Lead:

Carol Rivas

Carol Rivas

Carol Rivas, Professor of Health and Social Care, UCL

Carol has expertise across a range of research approaches, from arts-based work through to AI. She uses this to try to understand, communicate, and reshape the experiences of vulnerable people, focusing on hidden chronic conditions and disabilities, race, ethnicity and migrant status. This stems from her own family experiences.

Core Researchers:

Lorna is smiling at the camera. She is wearing a pink top, which matches the colour in background of the picture, one of her own paintings.
Lorna Collins

Lorna Collins

Around her work for the CICADA study, Lorna Collins is an artist, writer, filmmaker and arts and health researcher. One of her most recent project was in the UCL Department of Behavioural Science and Health, where she assessed the impact of online art groups for women who are affected by domestic abuse.

Lorna was the PI of a Grand Challenges award winning project, ‘Creative Lives: Tackling Inequalities’, which drew together a wide network of researchers, artists, performers and experts by experience, promoting creative public health initiatives, with a conference and a series of podcasts. She also made a film about the UCLH frontline healthcare workers’ engagement with arts groups, during COVID-19.

Dr Kusha Anand
Kusha Anand

Kusha Anand

Dr Kusha Anand is working as a Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Education, where she was awarded her PhD in Poilitical Sociology of Education in 2019. Her thesis looked at how history related to India-Pakistan relations is enacted in schools in India and Pakistan.

Dr Anand works on the intersections of race, ethnicity, citizenship and education, mainly in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and the UK. Her work pays particular attention to policies, practices, discourses of ‘othering’, histories of displacement, in and through education. Dr Anand has over a decade of fieldwork experience on several interdisciplinary projects liaising with policymakers, teachers, EdTech entrepreneurs, and NGOs in the UK and South Asia.

Other Study Leads:

Ozan is smiling at the camera in front of a bookshelf in the Thomas Coram Research Unit Library
Ozan Aksoy

Ozan Aksoy

Quantitative and Social Networks Analysis lead

Ozan is Associate Professor of Social Science at UCL Social Research Institute.

Previously Ozan was a research fellow at Nuffield College and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. Ozan holds a PhD and an MSc in quantitative sociology from the ICS research school of Utrecht University and a BA in business administration from Bogazici University. His research interests include prosocial behaviour, quantitative methods, and the political sociology of religion.

Nisam Bilal

Quantitative co-lead

Bilal is a quantitive social scientist with a background in economics. He is based at the Social Research Institute at the UCL Institute of Education where he is a researcher, lecturer, and PhD supervisor. His main research area is the determinants of life chances and social mobility in the UK. He has an expertise in the determinants of non-cognitive skills in childhood and their relationship to long term life outcomes. He is currently the PI on an ESRC funded project looking at the impact of the teacher pay reforms in England on the teacher labour market and pupil outcomes. 

Alison Fang-Wei Wu

Alison Fang-Wei Wu 

Research Fellow

Alison Fang-Wei Wu is working as a research fellow in our quantitative team. She completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience King’s College London, looking at a potential new form of mental disorders, called pathological social withdrawal, also known as hikikomori. She previously worked on a project looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on British young people’s well-being. Her research interests include mental health and its associations with societal, psychological and biological factors. 

Ruth is wearing a black dress and has her hair tied back. She is looking directly at the camera and smiling
Ruth Dobson

Ruth Dobson

Clinical lead

Ruth is a Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Lead for neurology at the Royal London and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University.

She is a member of the Association of British Neurologists MS Advisory Group, which provides national input across MS Services. Her clinical and research interests are around the pathways that lead to the development of MS, and trying to think of balancing risks and benefits of MS treatments. She is particularly interested in thinking about these issues in populations that are typically under-represented in MS research, including pregnant women, and ethnically minoritised and deprived populations.

Liza is smiling at the camera. The picture was taken during a shift on labour ward. She wears her surgical scrubs, not trousers but a scrub dress in order to tell everyone: surgeons come in all genders!
Liza Ball

Liza Ball

Clinical lead

I am a gynaecologist (women’ health specialist) with a special interest in endometriosis (a pain condition that affects women). My patients come from all backgrounds and I enjoy the diversity they bring to my work. I want all voices to be heard in healthcare!

As a researcher I am interested examining the role of non-western medicine interventions (music, meditation) in chronic pain.

Recently, I have completed a survey of service users and healthcare professionals to find out about patient care during the Covid 19 pandemic asking: What worked and what did not work well? I found that virtual medicine has benefits for some patients but not for all. I have written an editorial to highlight my concerns- if virtual medicine is here to stay it has to be developed in a way that no one gets excluded.

Dr Eccles is smiling at the camera in her office. There are book shelves behind her.
Jessica Eccles

Jessica Eccles

Clinical lead

Dr Jessica Eccles is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Liaison Psychiatry at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

She did her undergraduate studies at University of Cambridge and graduated from clinical school at the University of Oxford.

Since then she has pursued a combined clinical academic career Her clinical and academic work focus on the intersection of brain-body symptoms in conditions that are often invisible illnesses and although common frequently overlooked , such as hypermobility related conditions, chronic pain and fatigue conditions and neurodiversity. She uses a variety of bench to bed side approaches including neuroimaging and interoception and autonomic testing.


Clinical lead

Josie Dickerson

Bradford migrant community lead

Josie Dickerson is the Director of the Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub and Bradford Inequalities Research Unit. Josie’s research focusses on integrating research into practice in order to improve quality of care, reduce health inequalities and enhance the evidence base of interventions in practice. Josie also leads the world’s first experimental birth cohort: Born in Bradford’s Better Start.

Josie has a PhD in psychology, and has worked as a research programme manager in applied health research with experience of mixed methods approaches including pragmatic randomised controlled trials, cluster trials, cohort studies and process evaluations.

Josie’s research interests are in applied health research in vulnerable populations and the implementation and evaluation of complex interventions in community settings.

Louise is smiling at the camera
Louise Goff

Louise Goff

London migrant community lead

Dr Louise Goff is a Reader in Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London.

Louise’s research career over the last 20 years has focused on the role of nutrition in the development, prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Louise enjoys leading an inter-disciplinary programme of research, working in collaboration with a wide range of academics and disciplines focused on improving health for UK African & Caribbean communities. She has worked extensively with UK African and Caribbean communities spanning a broad range of research from understanding differences in the biological mechanisms by which diabetes develops in African and Caribbean groups through to developing culturally-tailored interventions to promote diabetes self-management.

Victoria standing in front of bookshelf in TCRU library
Victoria Redclift

Victoria Redclift

South-East migrant community lead

Dr Victoria Redclift, Associate Professor of Political Sociology in the Social Research Institute at UCL

Victoria works on the sociology of ‘race’, ethnicity and migration with a particular focus on citizenship and political exclusion. She is currently finishing a study into the relationship between experiences of citizenship and transnational practice among Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London, Birmingham and Los Angeles. She is also co-PI on a UCL Health of the Public project looking at health and wellbeing in ethnic minority LGBTQ+ young people.

Alison Thomson

Alison Thomson

Public and patient engagement lead

Dr Alison Thomson, is Lecturer in Patient Public Involvement (PPI) and Public Engagement in Science at Queen Mary, University of London. As a design researcher, Dr Thomson’s research sits within the fields of PPI, health service improvement and Design Research. Dr Thomson has extensive experience running co-design workshops with patient groups both in face to face settings and online through virtual video calls and workshops. One of these projects includes developing the ‘future group’ methodology for collaborative workshops between patients with multiple sclerosis and health care professionals. Dr Thomson has facilitated and developed co-design workshops bringing together multiple stakeholders including patients and their carers, the public, clinicians, researchers, third sector organisations and pharmaceutical companies. 

Jenny is looking at the camera sitting at her desk in front of her laptop, she is wearing a dusky pink jumper which matches the potted plant pot that is behind her
Jenny Camaradou

Jenny Camaradou

Patient lead

Jenny Camaradou is a freelance Innovation R&D bid writer and trained legally working in a range of different roles in the public and private sector. She holds an undergraduate degree in law and an MSc in Psychology.

She is a EUPATI Fellow, the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, which is a 14month funded program of training across the entire medicines lifecycle incl regulatory affairs and an alumni of EURORDIS, the voice of Rare Disease patients in Europe. Jenny was diagnosed with a genetic condition aged 34 and has had substantial experience as a health service user across different specialisms and surgeries including orthopaedics, neurology, cardiology, immunology and pain management.

She is a peer reviewer for the research councils in the UK and EU, a member of the Board of the MRC Advanced Pain Discovery Platform and a lay member across various committees including Oxford University QResearch, BHF National PPI steering group, NIHR AI in Healthcare Award and NICE. Jenny has an emerging academic interest in digital engagement and patient centricity and is hoping to undertake part-time PhD, she is currently seeking different opportunities to foster co-creation between patients, industry, clinicians, academia working in healthcare provision.

When not sitting in front of a laptop, Jenny enjoys photography and walking her red setter dog on the beach.

Dr Kumar is smiling at the camera. The photograph is a close headshot. Dr Kumar is wearing a pale grey jumper with a pink scarf with small flowers
Sarabajaya Kumar

Sarabajaya Kumar

Patient lead

Dr Sarabajaya Kumar is a lecturer (teaching) in Leadership and Voluntary Sector Management & Policy in the Department of Political Science at UCL – she is also a scholar activist, a serial social entrepreneur and social intrapreneur, a mother and a disabled, neuro-diverse woman, with heritage from the global majority.

She holds interdisciplinary social science degrees and a PhD in Accountability. She is also a trained counsellor, gestalt therapist, and a European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) accredited Executive Coach. Her research interests include governance, accountability, artificial intelligence, ethical leadership, disability and Covid-19.


Bromley by Bow Community Centre

The Bromley by Bow Centre is a pioneering charity that combines an extensive neighbourhood hub with a medical practice and a community research project. They support people with a wide variety of integrated services based on their individual needs, because they know that health is primarily driven by social factors, not medical ones. Read more here.

Professor Mohammed T Abou-Saleh, St George’s

Mohammed T Abou-Saleh, Professor of Psychiatry, St George’s, University of London and Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry, South West London NHS Mental Health Trust

Mohammed T Abou-Saleh, PhD MPhil FRCPsych is currently Professor of Psychiatry at St George’s, University of London and Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry. Previously he held the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre. He had previously served as Director of Research and Development and Deputy Head of the Division of Mental Health and Head of the Addictions Research Group at St George’s, University of London and as Clinical Director of Addiction Services. He served as Academic Secretary and Honorary Secretary of the Faculty of Addictions; Honorary Secretary of the Higher Specialist Training Committee and elected Chairman of the Middle East Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Secretary General of the Federation of Arab Psychiatrists. Also, he was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, United Arab Emirates University (1991-1998). Internationally he is Chairman of the Also, World Psychiatric Association Section on Biological Psychiatry since 1998. He has served as Consultant for the World Health Organization in substance misuse in Oman, Beirut, Cairo and Qatar and UAE. He was Assistant Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry, Co-editor of the European journal Acta Neuropsychiatrica and Member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors and Vice-President of the World Federation for Mental Health from 2007-2015.

He has 270 publications including 140 publications in refereed journals. He is Editor of the 3rd edition of Principles and Practice of Geriatric Psychiatry 2011 and had edited 2 supplements of the British Journal of Psychiatry on Brain Imaging in Psychiatry and Prediction in Psychopharmacology and 2 supplements of Acta Neuropsychiatrica on Dual Diagnosis: An International Perspective, and Recent Advances in the Psychopharmacology of Addictions. His research interests are in biological psychiatry, psychiatric epidemiology and applied addictions research and prevention psychiatry. As Syrian born, I have been strongly involved in supporting Syrian refugees with mental health issues through leadership roles in the Syrian Association for Mental Health and hence my involvement with the CICADA-ME National Research Programme.

Advisory Group:

Steering Committee:

Chair: Humera Iqbal

Dr Humera Iqbal is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Psychology based at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, University College London, UK. Her 2 broad areas of research center on the identity and lived experiences of migrant and minority families and young people (including child language brokering, citizenship rights and youth activism, intergenerational relationships) and how art and creative practices foster wellbeing (including individuals living with trauma). Humera uses mixed methods, arts and film-based methods in her research. Currently, she is Co-leading a British Academy funded international study titled Families and Community in the Time of Covid 19 (FACT-Covid) which explores how families globally are coping with Covid 19. She is also Principle Investigator in an AHRC study- ‘Partition of Identity: An exploration of Belonging in Bengalis in Pakistan, 1971- present’ which explores the lived experiences of the Bengali community in Pakistan.

Twitter: @HumeraIqbal1 

Link to UCL page

Public and Patient Involvement Advisory Group (PAG):

PAG aims are as follows:

• Support patient and public engagement and activities within the CICADA ME project; 

• Co-design and comment on research plans, protocols, and materials; 

• Identify and facilitate ways in which patients/members of the public can be involved in the research  areas and questions;

• Assist with disseminating the research results;

• Assist with assessing the impact of PPI to determine how patient involvement can be used to make a real difference.