Leadership group

Penny Whiting

I am Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol, where I am Director of the MSc in Epidemiology and Co-Director of Bristol Technology Assessment Group, one of several External Assessment Groups that supports NICE guidance committees and other policy makers.

I have over 20 years’ experience of systematic reviews combining an interest in methodological research with substantive reviews in academic and commercial environments. My methodological research has covered the full spectrum of systematic reviews including literature searching, quality assessment, synthesising results and communicating findings.  

I have a particular interest in risk of bias tools. I lead the development of QUADAS and its successor QUADAS-2 for diagnostic accuracy studies, the ROBIS tool for systematic reviews and ROBIS NMA for network meta-analyses (still in development). I was a steering group member for the development of the PROBAST tool for prediction modelling studies, QUADAS-C for comparative accuracy studies, and QUAPAS for predictive accuracy studies. I also contribted to the development of RoB 2 for randomised trials and ROBINS-I for non-randomised studies of interventions. I have also contributed to reporting guidelines as a member of the working groups for PRISMA-2020, PRISMA-DTA and PRIOR (reporting guidelines for overviews of systematic reviews). 

Robert WolffRobert Wolff

I am the Managing Director of Kleijnen Systematic Reviews Ltd (KSR), an independent research company that produces and disseminates systematic reviews, cost-effectiveness analyses and health technology assessments of research evidence in healthcare. KSR is one of the External Assessment Groups that supports the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other policy makers. 

I have worked on a variety of projects for reimbursement agencies in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom as well as pharmaceutical companies and scientific societies. Previously, I worked as a paediatrician and a researcher for Cochrane Germany. 

I am interested in issues related to risk of bias assessment, contributing to the development of ROBIS (Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews) and QUAPAS (Quality Assessment of Prognostic Accuracy Studies), and being a member of the steering group for PROBAST, a tool to assess risk of bias and applicability of prediction model studies. 

Jelena SavovićJelena Savović

I am Senior Lecturer in Evidence Synthesis at the Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, where I co-lead the Advanced Epidemiology unit on the MSc Epidemiology course at Bristol Medical School. I co-organize a highly regarded four-day CPD course “Introduction to Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis” at the University of Bristol, since 2008. I am Evidence Synthesis Team Lead at the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West (formerly CLAHRC West), since 2014, working with regional partners to deliver applied reviews, ranging from very rapid reviews to substantive systematic reviews of importance to the regional population health needs. I am a member of the core leadership team of the Bristol Evidence Synthesis Group, launched in April 2023 to deliver evidence synthesis projects commissioned by NIHR for their clients. 

I have over 15 years’ experience of research in evidence synthesis, from applied systematic reviews to methodological research. I co-authored many applied systematic reviews on a variety of clinical, public health and health services research topics. I have a particular interest in risk of bias tools. I co-led or contributed to the development of several tools aimed for the assessment of risk of bias in studies included in evidence syntheses:  for randomized trials (RoB2), non-randomized studies of interventions (ROBINS-I) and for systematic reviews (ROBIS). My empirical research in meta-epidemiology explored sources of bias in randomized trials (the BRANDO and ROBES studies), which, in part, informed the development of the Cochrane risk of bias tool and the revised RoB2 tool. 

Sue MallettSue Mallett

I am Professor of diagnostic and prognostic medical statistics at the Centre for Medical Imaging at University College London, leading a team of statisticians working on research methods, clinical trials and systematic reviews.  

I have over 20 years of experience of systematic reviews for diagnostic and prognostic studies across multiple disease areas including cancer, infectious and inflammatory diseases. In addition, I have published methodological research on study methods, study design biases and reporting relevant to systematic reviews. My systematic reviews have contributed to UK, WHO and other international clinical guidelines. I served as a member of the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Editorial Board for 5 years. For more than 10 years I’ve taught systematic review methods at Cochrane Colloquia, MSc courses and training workshops. 

I am a steering group member for the development of 3 risk of bias tools QUADAS-2 for diagnostic accuracy studies, QUADAS-C for comparative accuracy studies and PROBAST for prediction modelling studies. I am a working group member for development of several AI tools, including QUADAS-AI and PRISMA-AI. I have contributed as a working group member for the reporting guidelines STARD and TRIPOD. 

Beth DevineBeth Devine

As a health services research scientist and health economist with broad quantitative methodologic skills, I employ methods from the overlapping disciplines of epidemiology, biostatistics, and decision sciences. My foremost area of research focus is evidence synthesis, conducting systematic reviews, meta-analyses and network meta-analyses using both frequentist and Bayesian frameworks.  

I am the Assistant Director and site principal investigator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), which brings together the strengths of faculty and staff at the University of Washington, Oregon Health & Sciences University, and Spectrum Research. I have been involved in the EPC work since 2012, most recently contributing to the methods development work promoting the use of advanced analytic designs in the conduct of non-randomized studies of interventions.  

I have contributed to numerous EPC projects, published over 25 systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and network meta-analyses; have mentored numerous graduate students in these methods; and have taught a graduate level course on these topics on the University of Washington Health Sciences campus.  

I am an elected member of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology and was a key contributor to the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Task Force that developed the Good Research Practices for Conducting Indirect Treatment Comparisons, considered a tool for conducting comparative effectiveness research.