Who We Are

D4D operates nationally, bringing together the right team of expert clinicians, academics, members of the public, carers, charities and industry to deliver solutions to address specific needs.

D4D has a multidisciplinary core management team hosted at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Members of the team come from a range of backgrounds; healthcare, research, management, charity, technology, industry – and work together with experts to make D4D projects a reality.

Core Management Team

Professor Wendy Tindale

Clinical Director

Professor Wendy Tindale OBE is Consultant Clinical Scientist and Scientific Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. She holds a Chair at the University of Sheffield and is Clinical Director of Devices for Dignity. She leads one of the largest NHS medical technology centres in the UK and has experience in front line patient care and healthcare innovation. She has contributed to national and international committees, including Royal College and Government advisory bodies.

Professor Tindale was honoured with the title of Healthcare Scientist of the Year at the 2016 Healthcare Science Awards.

Dr Nicola Heron

Programme Director

Nicola is the Programme Director for Devices for Dignity. Prior to joining D4D in 2009, Nicola worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a medicinal chemist and project lead in the oncology and inflammation disease fields and has published over 40 research papers and patents.

She has extensive experience in drug discovery and medical device development across both private and public sectors.

Nicola holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Boston College, USA where she focused on the development of novel synthetic methodologies. She also holds an Exec MBA from Sheffield University.

She is a Non-Executive Director for Devices for Dignity Ltd and sits on Research and Innovation Boards at a number of NHS organisations.

Oliver Wells

Commercial Director

Oliver joined D4D Ltd in May 2013 to establish the commercial arm of Devices for Dignity’s activity. For the first 20 years of his career, Oliver was involved in development and marketing activites of the medical division of Vickers plc, ultimately as the Divisional Marketing Director of this international group.

From the late 1990s, Oliver was very involved in the work of the Association of British Healthcare Industries, primarily on its Research and Innovation activities, liaising with both government departments and research councils to establish innovation programmes focusing on health technology. From 2003, he also worked for 6 years at Imperial College London managing several research activities, including projects in pervasive computing and healthcare infrastructure innovation.

Until mid-2013 Oliver was Chairman of NHS Innovations South East, one of the NHS Innovation hubs, and was also on the Leading Expert Group of the government’s recent Future of Ageing project.

David Coyle

Patient Partnership Lead

David is an experienced business professional and long-term dialysis patient. In the last thirty years he has survived kidney failure, dialysis, a kidney transplant, cancer, COPD, further kidney failure and a return to dialysis. He has been a home nocturnal dialysis patient for the last five years. David’s professional background has been based in the private sector including roles in Corporate Planning, Management Consulting culminating in board level line management roles. His specialist skill areas are project management, change management and innovation. Five years ago David switched his professional focus to the health sector to follow his passion, improving the renal patient experience. Since 2013 he has held the positions of renal patient lead and project manager at D4D.

Dr Katherine Jeays-Ward

Project Manager and Communications Lead

Katherine joined D4D in December 2014 as a project manager, with additional responsibility as Communications Lead. She has ten years’ experience of managing complex multidisciplinary projects across a range of organisations and sectors. Recent projects have included working closely with patients to widen patient engagement in device development and the delivery of a patient-led event around dignity and independence, and the Expanded Newborn Screening project, which resulted in national policy change around the routine screening of newborn children in the UK.

Prior to moving into project management, Katherine obtained a PhD in developmental genetics from the Institute of Cancer Research, and spent a further four years as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Angel Jimenez-Aranda

Project Manager

Angel has prime responsibility for providing project management to the D4D consortium. His goal is to maximise the operational efficiency in the selection and execution of high impact research and technological development projects. He has an extensive experience in project management at the national and the European levels.

Prior to joining D4D, Angel worked in the Higher Education sector for 8 years as the director of a University College, Chief Operations Officer of a biomedical engineering research group, and manager of the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU).

Kirsty Kassim


Kirsty has worked for D4D since its formation in 2007. She has worked at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in various admin roles for over 20 years, the last 10 in the Department of Medical Physics. She loves the challenge of supporting the D4D multidisciplinary Team.

Dr Avril McCarthy

MedTech Lead

Avril is MedTech Lead at NIHR Devices for Dignity HTC, with responsibility for all MedTech aspects of the portfolio of projects. Avril is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield.

Avril is passionate about developing new medical devices that bring benefits to patients and has experienced a wide and varied range of projects incorporating collaborative working with industry, academic colleagues, and product users, within multi- and interdisciplinary teams. In Avril’s previous roles as Medical Device Innovation Lead at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT she was responsible for developing new devices for the NHS Trust, and Lead Clinical Scientist for the Biomechanical Evaluation and Function Group, specialising in clinical gait analysis provided as a clinical service to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. She was also responsible for clinical research applications of biomechanical analysis, such as modelling of orthopaedic procedures including osteotomies.

A graduate of the University of Liverpool, Avril also has a PhD in Orthopaedic Surgery Simulation for training from the University of Sheffield.

Nathaniel Mills

Project Manager

Nathaniel project manages the paediatric theme within D4D, this includes D4D Junior which cross cuts D4D’s existing themes and also the TITCH (Technology and Innovation Transforming Child Health) collaborative which is a network of experts from across the paediatric health sector. The network also includes academic, industry and charity representation.

Nathaniel is a trained nurse and prior to his role with D4D was the lead nurse for the South Yorkshire Clinical Research Network (Now CRN: Yorkshire and Humber).

Liz Pryde

Project Manager

Liz joined the D4D team in December 2014 having spent the previous 5 years as the Industry Manager for the NIHR Clinical Research Network: Yorkshire and Humber. Liz has worked as a Project Manager on many health related projects over the last 15 years across the NHS, Academia and Industry. Having spent the last 5 years predominantly managing pharmaceutical clinical trials, Liz was excited about the opportunity to move into the medical devices sector where she has previous experience.

Dr Martin Slovak

Research Associate

Martin is a Research Associate with a primary focus on the identification and validation of unmet needs and support of the current portfolio projects within the urinary continence theme. He is also a trainee Clinical Scientist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. He has completed the prestigious EU Marie Curie Urology Research Scientist Programme and published his work in various national and international conferences and journals. The findings from his PhD research are being used to inform novel developments of electrical stimulation treatment techniques for patients with overactive bladder symptoms.

Lise Sproson

Research Associate

Lise joined D4D in 2013 as a Research Associate, in order to help identify and support research projects which have a rehabilitation and assistive technology focus. She is also actively involved in a number of D4D’s ongoing Portfolio research projects and currently undertaking her own research into the use of biofeedback technology in rehabilitation of swallowing problems.

Prior to joining D4D, Lise worked clinically for 23 years as a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, treating patients with swallowing and communication difficulties following neurological injury.