SAM Research Lead - Prof Liz Sapey Biography

Prof Liz sapey


Liz is a Professor of Acute and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Birmingham and an Acute Medicine Consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. She is also the Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing within the University of Birmingham, Associate Director of HDRUK West Midlands and the President of the British Association for Lung Research.

Liz’s research interests focus on inflammatory and infectious respiratory diseases associated with ageing, and the impact of inflammation during acute diseases. Increasing participation and reducing barriers to enable collaborative research remains one of Liz’s passions, so that innovation reflects the diversity of the UK population.

As founder and Director of PIONEER, the HDR UK Hub in acute care, Liz continues the integration of traditionally siloed acute care healthcare providers, working with patients, NHS organisations, AI systems, academia and industry, to transform care provision and improve outcomes and choices for patients.


Prof Sapey 

As a clinician working in an Acute Medical Unit, I recognise first-hand the pressures our specialty is under, with all the workforce struggling to care for the complex medical patients that present to hospital, especially when care is delivered outside of our AMUs.  However, I also recognise how quickly our specialty responds to challenges.  We are open to adopting innovation, including new care pathways, biomarkers, bedside assessments and treatments.

But how we know what works and what is the most efficient way to deliver high quality care?

As a researcher, I see so many opportunities to evaluate our practice, test new approaches and develop a better understanding of the acutely unwell adult.  We still have much to learn about the causes of acute illness, why responses to insults and treatments are so variable across our population, and what interventions or care pathways are the most effective for the individual we are treating.

Traditionally, research in acute medicine was delivered by other specialities reaching in and recruiting patients from our AMUs.  Whilst our approach to care and research will always be welcoming of other teams, to ensure research reflects the priorities of our specialty, we should be building the capability and capacity in our own workforce to deliver our own research. And there is so much to do!

Research is a broad church.  It includes discovery science (laboratory benchwork), clinical care pathways, clinical trials, big data, workforce roles and development and health service management, and more.    Research is inclusive, and should be open to all the workforce.  It is best delivered by people who understand the aspect of care that they are researching, and by working as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Research should also be of high quality, and like delivering high quality care, skills in developing research proposals and plans usually have to be developed, with support and training.

The Society for Acute Medicine’s key ambition is to promote and advance the field of acute medicine. To make this ambition real, we must make acute medicine a great place to work in, and to deliver research in.

As the newly appointed Chair of the research committee for SAM, I would like to contribute to a SAM research community which provides mentorship, advice and practical support to develop the research superstars of the future from within our workforce.

And I would like you all to get involved.  I want to learn about the exciting ideas you have for research, what you have done already or hope to do, what support you would like and the training that you might want to support your ideas.  So do get in touch at

SAM Research: Background

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