EXSEL at Leeds

Student Excellence Scheme

Leeds School of Medicine EXSEL cohort 2016

EXSEL – Excellence in Scholarship, Enterprise and Leadership was devised by Professor Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam and Dr Karen Lee in 2006 with a vision to nurture undergraduate medical students with research ambitions to become future academic clinicians. Their vision has produced more than 45 EXSEL graduates since 2006, who have gone onto work as Doctors and academics in the NHS and beyond. 

EXSEL provides scholars with the opportunity to undertake research during the summer break, disseminate experimental findings, attend conferences in the UK and abroad, produce posters and submit articles for publications. It enables them to become part of a wider academic community and be mentored to unlock their research potential. EXSEL encourages scholars to network in the University and beyond, form international links whilst developing mentoring, leadership and enterprise skills.  

EXSEL Scholars are awarded a bursary from their appointment in year 2 and each subsequent year until graduation (up to a total of 4 years) to support them throughout their undergraduate studies.  Additional funding is available to support research opportunities, travel and humanitarian work during summer vacations.  

Excellent scholars 

This is an innovative scheme which highlights a key principle of the School of Medicine - nurturing medical students to harness academic excellence. I am very proud of the achievements of the scholars to date and look forward to supporting more remarkable scholars in the years to come. 

Professor Paul Stewart, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health

EXSEL Directors 

The EXSEL directors Professor Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam and Dr Simon Howell aim to develop links with universities and other medical institutions throughout the world in order to provide EXSEL scholars with new exciting opportunities.  

Professor Homer-Vanniasinkam, BSc, MBBS, MD, FRCSEd, FRCS is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Clinical Sub-Dean at the University of Leeds School of Medicine. An eminent academic clinician, she acts as a role model for the scholars.  

Dr Simon Howell MA(Cantab) MRCP FRCA MSc MD is a Senior Lecturer in Anaesthesia at the University of Leeds.  His current research interests include perioperative myocardial injury, perioperative exercise testing and training, and the role of the perioperative physician in the multi-disciplinary team meeting.  He was Chief Investigator of the international OBTAIN study of the perioperative management of patients with intracoronary stents. He was awarded a Macintosh Professorship by the UK Royal College of Anaesthetists in 2016 for his research and clinical contributions in the field of vascular anaesthesia. 

Academic mentors and research supervisors 

Day-to-day supervision of the research conducted by an EXSEL scholar is normally provided by members of a research team, led by an eminent research leader. Previous Scholars have worked with supervisors including Professor Robert AriënsProfessor David JayneProfessor Ann Morgan and Dr Marc Bailey. 

Mentoring is a key component of the EXSEL scheme. EXSEL scholars have an academic mentor to provide advice on the direction of their research and publications. In addition to being a mentee, each scholar also mentors a more junior EXSEL scholar supporting them in entering the EXSEL community.  

Our sponsors 

EXSEL would not have been possible without the support and generous donations from Heart Research UK, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and the alumni and friends of the University of Leeds. 

Heart Research UK 

Heart Research UK has sponsored our scholars for a number of years and continues to do so today. This visionary charity was founded in 1967 by Leeds heart surgeon Mr David Watson MBE, who realised that patients were dying unnecessarily because of the lack of research into heart disease, especially surgical techniques. 

Having funded six of the first eight successful UK heart transplants, Heart Research UK funds ground-breaking medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. 

It has been helping hearts by supporting clinical and surgical projects and young researchers with their first steps into research. In the last 10 years the charity has funded over £10.6m on research projects in hospitals and universities across the UK as well as £1.2m on community-based lifestyle projects that aim to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease. 

Heart Research UK Scholars conduct research into cardiovascular health. 

Further information 

Please email us for more information about the scheme.