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Prof Karl Staples

Kay Mitchell

Co-Associate Director, Principal Academic Career Development Lead for NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre

Kay is a critical care nurse researcher with an interest in, and experience of, promoting clinical academic careers for healthcare professionals.

Developing health research careers

Kay led a project to develop the concept for the Southampton Academy of Research, following previous experience of setting up a more focused healthcare research centre in London, aimed at nurses and midwives only (CNMR).

Critical care research

She works clinically on the UHS general intensive care unit, and with members of the NMAHP team to develop research, audit and service improvement projects addressing local priorities. 

She recently was the Chief Investigator for a commercially funded study mapping workload related to arterial blood gas analysis. She also works closely with the Critical Care Research Area and Centre for Human Integrative Physiology Southampton (CHIPS) to support a portfolio of research studies in critical care and perioperative medicine.

Collaborative work

As a member of the Xtreme Everest Oxygen Research Consortium Executive Team, Kay organizes medical research expeditions and research projects related to improving outcomes for critically ill patients. 

In particular, she is focused on developing the large data sets related to this work. She has recently been appointed as an Honorary Ambassador for the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses.


Kay studied nursing at Oxford School of Nursing before undertaking a BSc Honours at University College London. 

After a period of graduate management training with a UK high street Bank, she returned to nursing at University College London Hospital, and then the Homerton, specializing in intensive care which included completing an MSc from Imperial College London. She is currently undertaking a PhD investigating epigenetic markers of adaptation to hypoxia at the University of Southampton.

Kay has spoken internationally and published research papers and commentaries related to hypoxia tolerance, exercise, clinical academic careers, and critical care.

In 2019 Kay was appointed an NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse Research Leader.

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