Vicky Bowyer

Vicky has a background in health research, data management, and clinical service operations. She has worked as a research and programme manager on multiple studies and large-scale trials spanning cancer screening, clinical genetics, health behaviour change, and service delivery.

Vicky joined the department in 2021 to continue setting up and to run the CSS Biobank. Working closely with teams within and outside the department, Vicky oversees the CSS Biobank operations, study delivery, governance, and participant engagement. Vicky also supports new projects in the department, including delivering the Twins MR Imaging Study.

Paz Garcia

Paz is Programme Manager, working broadly across operations to ensure studies are set up and delivered successfully. Paz also oversees communications and manages the Engagement Team and the Administration Team, ensuring that our twin participants are well looked after when taking part in research and kept up-to-date with everything at TwinsUK.

Paz is co-chair of the TwinsUK Volunteer Advisory Panel and regularly conducts consultations with VAP members to make sure that TwinsUK research reflects the interests and priorities of our TwinsUK members.

Sam Wadge

Sam joined the department in 2012 as an intern and is now the Biobank Laboratory Manager. Responsibilities with this role include overseeing the laboratory team, governance and curating the numerous sample collections (over 700,000 aliquots).

Sam sits on the TwinsUK Resource Executive Committee acting as the gateway for accessing the biobank’s sample collections for the wider scientific community.

Ayrun Nessa

Ayrun has been an integral member of TwinsUK for 14 years initially working as a Lab Assistant. Later Ayrun joined the Clinical Research Team as Research Assistant, ultimately progressing to her current role, leading and overseeing twin visits.

Ayrun has been a key member in improving twin visits, developing, implementing and rolling out new visit structures, working with all teams within the DTR to develop and pilot new research tests, and most importantly ensuring that all ethical and legal standards are strictly maintained.

Ayrun has seen many changes over the years, from booking twins using handwritten diaries to the electronic systems we use now. Twin visits remain Ayrun’s favourite part of her job, particularly seeing the twins more than once over the years on repeat visits.

Victoria Vazquez

Victoria Vazquez is the TwinsUK Data Access and Collaborations Manager ensuring smooth access to data from the scientific community. Victoria has also worked as professor Tim Spector’s Executive Assistant for fifteen years, managing his busy schedule, organising events and liaising with the media.

Christel Barnetson

Christel has been a member of the Department of Twin Research since 1994 and has been involved with the Research Grants and Finance Management of the Department of Twin Research over the past 15 years.

Christel is responsible for budgeting all new research projects and managing all research funding. She is also an active member of the TwinsUK Research Executive Committee.

Darioush Yarand

Darioush oversees data management and research administration at TwinsUK. He holds a BSc in Computer Science and Microelectronics from Queen Mary College University of London and an MSc in Microelectronics Systems Design from Brunel University.

Darioush joined TwinsUK in 2012 as Head of the Data & IT team and has since taken over as head of the Research Administration team as well. He is responsible for volunteer recruitment to studies, all IT related matters, data collection and integrity, privacy and GDPR and data provision to researchers. Darioush also sits on TREC to advise on all IT & data matters.

Dr. Deborah Hart

Deborah is a genetic epidemiologist by training and has managed several large-scale population cohorts. Before working at the DTR she set up and co-ordinated the Chingford 1000 Women Study, a longitudinal cohort into the natural history and genetics of musculoskeletal disease.

Deborah has been Executive Director of TwinsUK since 2009. She set up data sharing and governance processes which has led TwinsUK to share data and samples with over 800 collaborators, resulting in around 100 publications a year. She also set up our Voluntary Advisory Panel of twin volunteers.

Deborah oversees the day to day aspects of running TwinsUK including operations, ethics and governance, cohort attrition, dissemination and engagement, budgets and staffing. She is also responsible for maintaining our core funding.

Recent Blog Post

Largest Ever Genetic Study of Age of Puberty Includes TwinsUK Contribution

Deborah is a genetic epidemiologist by training and has managed several large-scale population cohorts. Before working at the DTR she...

We spoke to TwinsUK researcher Dr Emily Leeming about her new book "Genius Gut: The Life-Changing Science of Eating for Your Second Brain" 

Deborah is a genetic epidemiologist by training and has managed several large-scale population cohorts. Before working at the DTR she...

My First Week At TwinsUK

Deborah is a genetic epidemiologist by training and has managed several large-scale population cohorts. Before working at the DTR she...