Researcher Showcase: Claudia Heggie

claudia heggie

Claudia is an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow and Specialist Paediatric Dentist. Her research focuses on the prevention of painful ulceration in and around the mouth (oral mucositis). This is a common side effect of cancer treatment, that occurs in up to 8 in every 10 children who receive chemotherapy. Specifically, she is interested in the use of photobiomodulation (a light treatment) to manage this side effect in children undergoing cancer treatment. She has developed and delivered her research in this area alongside children and young people with experience of cancer, and their families, with support from Candlelighters Children’s Cancer Charity.

Her NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship builds on her earlier research, and is exploring how best to implement photobiomodulation in other children’s cancer centres in the U.K. She plans to utilise evidence-based implementation theories to explore barriers and facilitators to implementation of photobiomodulation in qualitative interviews. Following this, she will co-create an implementation package with a wide group of clinicians, children and their parents. She will then test the effectiveness of the implementation package at children’s cancer centres in the U.K. Alongside undertaking her PhD, she continues to treat children with complicated dental needs at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

Prior to her PhD funding, Claudia had successful bid as co-applicant for photobiomodulation equipment funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity, before leading the implementation of this treatment as standard care for children at the Leeds Children’s Hospital.

She was successful in applying for a pump-priming research grant funding from the Royal College of Surgeons & British Society of Paediatric Dentistry to explore the acceptability of the photobiomodulation treatment to children and young people, and healthcare professionals. The findings of this research were used to co-create a video about mucositis and photobiomodulation with children and young people.

As part of this feasibility work she explored the availability of photobiomodulation for children in the U.K., for which she was awarded the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry Research Prize in 2022.

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