March 6, 2024

Winners: Simon Newell and Leeds Hospitals Charity Child Health Research Prize. Post Graduate Award, 2024

Stephanie Roberts
Research Programme Manager

Congratulations to Dr Jessica Morgan and Layla Kouara, winners of first Simon Newell and Leeds Hospitals Charity Child Health Research Prize, Post Graduate Awards, 2024.

The scheme invited applications from post-graduates from any clinical or research background who have published a paper or presented a poster or oral presentation at a conference or seminar related to child health.

The awards were presented at the CHORAL Launch Event on 8th February 2024.

Summaries of the winning research:

Layla Kouara

Layla is a current PhD student at the University of Leeds. During her PhD she has studied the brain function of over 300 children and presented her work at two major global neuroscience meetings. Layla’s background in psychology has guided her towards enhancing the education, health and wellbeing of young people with a particular focus on understanding brain development and the contributors of healthy brain function in children and adolescents. Layla has therefore created and validated her own novel protocol which takes EEG out of the laboratory and into schools, enabling large-scale data collection of developmental brain-wave data. With community engagement at its core, Layla’s approach actively involves young participants at each stage of the protocol including the data collection which takes place at neuroscience workshops where the young people become both the participants and researchers. Layla’s method allows the production of 30 datasets within a single 2 hour session with future work aiming to link this with routinely collected health, cognitive, behavioural, education and social information, thus allowing for a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing brain health.

Dr Jessica Morgan

Jess is a clinical academic working in paediatric oncology at both Leeds Children’s Hospital and the University of York. Jess is the Deputy Director of the Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of York whose clinical work is in service development including the paediatric oncology virtual ward and paediatric ambulatory chemotherapy. Jess’ submitted work focuses around the REFoRMS project which works closely with a group of bereaved parents and focuses on relapsed and refractory rhabdomyosarcoma which is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children. The submitted publication relates to the first stage of this project consisting of a systematic review of early phase studies of treatments for relapsed and refractory rhabdomyosarcoma and their effectiveness. This review included 129 completed studies of over 1100 children and young people and a further 99 clinical trial registrations for studies which are yet to have reported results. This systematic review has now become the world’s first living systematic review in children’s cancer. More information on the project can be found here – REFoRMS Project (

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